Smart SpendingSmart Spending

Stores add rewards to gift registries

People with a wedding or a baby on the way can profit handsomely when well-wishers buy gifts.

By Karen Datko Oct 12, 2010 12:35PM

This Deal of the Day comes from Kelli B. Grant at partner site SmartMoney.

 

Milestones such as getting married or having a baby aren't cheap. Of course, gifts help -- and more than ever, now that a growing number of retailers are offering registrants a kickback.

This month, Babies R Us became the latest to launch a registry rewards program, joining a number of retailers -- including Macy's, Bon-Ton, Target, and Bed Bath & Beyond -- that give a rebate or discount back to the registrants.

 

Macy's, for example, offers newlyweds a gift card worth 5% of the total value of registry items purchased, while Target registrants get a 10%-off coupon for items they wanted but didn't get. And Babies R Us offers expectant parents who are also members of the store's free loyalty club a $5 coupon for every $150 in purchases eager friends and families make from their registries.

 

The incentives

These registry kickbacks are designed to encourage the engaged and the expectant to register in one or two places, instead of three or four, as has become common. For the retailer, there's quite a bit of money at stake.

 

Friends of an engaged couple spend an average of $70 on wedding gifts, while family members spend $129, according to planning website The Knot. For a baby shower, co-workers spend an average of $32; friends, $43, and family, $73, reports parenting advice site The Bump. Multiply that by the nearly 2.1 million weddings nationwide and 4.1 million births tallied by the National Center for Health Statistics in 2009, and it's not hard to see why retailers would trade a small rebate in exchange for a bigger share of bridal and baby spending.

The incentive rapidly adds up for the registrants, too. For a wedding with 150 guests and average spending of $100 apiece, the registered couple could walk away with roughly $750 in rebates, coupons or discounts -- and that's in addition to $15,000 in gifts and cash. "Whether or not a retailer offers a rewards program may be the deciding factor," says Kate Ward, site director of The Bump. Rewards also increase the likelihood that the customer will keep coming back.

 

Proper etiquette

The store gets guests' business, the celebrant gets a fat rebate, but what about the gift-giver? Event planners typically encourage consumers to spread out registries at several stores, precisely so that gift-givers have options. So, if you choose a store to register with because it offers an incentive, it's important to be especially careful not to let that influence the items you choose, says a spokeswoman for The Emily Post Institute.

 

That means not cavalierly selecting the $800 stroller or $400 kitchen mixer with a bigger rebate in the back of your mind. "You don't want a guest to open up your registry and cringe," says Post. And Babies R Us has taken it one step further: Gift-givers who join the store's loyalty program can earn rewards for buying items from a registry.

 

More from SmartMoney and MSN Money:

1Comment
Report
Please help us to maintain a healthy and vibrant community by reporting any illegal or inappropriate behavior. If you believe a message violates theCode of Conductplease use this form to notify the moderators. They will investigate your report and take appropriate action. If necessary, they report all illegal activity to the proper authorities.
Categories
100 character limit
Are you sure you want to delete this comment?

DATA PROVIDERS

Copyright © 2014 Microsoft. All rights reserved.

Fundamental company data and historical chart data provided by Morningstar Inc. Real-time index quotes and delayed quotes supplied by Morningstar Inc. Quotes delayed by up to 15 minutes, except where indicated otherwise. Fund summary, fund performance and dividend data provided by Morningstar Inc. Analyst recommendations provided by Zacks Investment Research. StockScouter data provided by Verus Analytics. IPO data provided by Hoover's Inc. Index membership data provided by Morningstar Inc.

ABOUT SMART SPENDING

Smart Spending brings you the best money-saving tips from MSN Money and the rest of the Web. Join the conversation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

VIDEO ON MSN MONEY

TOOLS

More