Credit: Sarah Farquhar / NYT
This week's Times shares that brides are increasingly asking for cash gifts. This trend pulls back the curtain on the underbelly of wedding gifts. Over the last 20 years, a trend emerged where a bride would ask for a traditional gift (i.e. a crystal champagne flute set, a fine china plate, etc.) but then redeem the credit for a television or vacuum. The stores that were especially adept at this were the big-box stores with a wide variety of offerings like Macy's and Target. They would use name brands from crystal and fine china to 'sell gifts,' only to truly sell an LG TV or Dyson vacuum. Dyson is riding on Waterford's name, and that seems unfair. Now brides are simply asking for cash, allowing them to take it outside the retailer and do what they wish with it, such as invest in a home or enjoy a vacation.
The NYT article shares, "On the wedding planning and registry website the Knot, the number of couples requesting cash on registries created in the first quarter of 2022 increased by 10 percent compared with the same period in 2021."
Brides may receive cash via a retailer or money apps like Venmo or Zelle. When a store helps the bride receive cash, if the bride is not spending it at the store, what's in it for the retailer? The retailer often takes a percentage as a fee. For example, Zola takes about a 3% fee. It allows a bride to register for a Casafina plate, have a friend 'buy' the Casafina item, but then withdraw the gift in the form of cash. That's not good for Casafina (and arguably not for the gift giver; they've sort of been duped).
How can stores and registry brands push back against this? Let's keep in mind the larger goal: the goal is to get the customer and the sale. If the bride withdraws the cash and loses 3% in fees, that fee may simply not be enough of a deterrent to getting the bride to buy the item. We recommend offering the bride a discount of 10% if she redeems the credit for the item. In this regard, the bride is paying a 13% fee if she chooses the cash.
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