Home goods e-retailer Wayfair launches a wedding registry and allows shoppers to contribute any amount toward a couch, a bedroom set or other products.

Wayfair LLC is proposing a new way to engage shoppers: a wedding registry.

The online-only home furnishings retailer, No. 24 in the Internet Retailer 2016 Top 500 Guide, launched a wedding registry to allow couples to list the items they would like as gifts on their wedding day. Wayfair quietly began the registry in August and is making it official today.

A registry for couples fits into Wayfair’s target customer: consumers who are investing in their home, says Matt Curley, general manager of the registry. Wayfair shoppers have been asking for a wedding registry for years, which is why the retailer added it, he says. Wayfair hired Curley in November specifically to develop the registry, he says.

Couples can register for any of Wayfair’s 7 million products, from flatware to ovens. Couples also can upload a photo of themselves on their registry to make it more personal, Curley says.

Wayfair takes into consideration the demographics of today’s engaged couples: They tend to be older and already living together, meaning they often have many household items engaged couples traditionally register for, such as plates and bedding.

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“Couples today are living together and they have the essentials. What they want are upgrades and those bigger-ticket items, like furniture, a bed and appliances,” Curley says.

Couples also may have their essential home products, but they may not coordinate. “While many couples are living together, they don’t have a cohesive home,” Curley says. “They have a combination, a mix together of one partner’s things and the other partner’s. When you move in, you line up your coffee tables and pick the best one.”

Wayfair’s registry will help couples build their upgraded home with more expensive items by allowing them to enable a feature called “group gifting” to any product so guests can contribute whatever dollar amount they want to an item. For example, a couple can register for a $1,000 sofa, tag it as a group gifting product and then a wedding guest can contribute $200 toward it. Wayfair will track who has contributed and when the item is paid for. Shoppers also can see a progress bar that shows how close a couple is to receiving the gift. If an item does not receive complete funding by the wedding date, Wayfair will convert the contributed amount into a gift card, Curley says.

Wayfair did not add new or specific products for the registry, however, the retailer chose products and coordinated them into ready-made registries by style, such as “farmhouse chic” and “timeless classics,” to help inspire couples, he says.

Because Wayfair is online only, the retailer hired registry specialists to give shoppers a “high-touch” feel of registry shopping, Curley says. After a couple creates a registry, a specialist will email the couple and ask if they have questions and serve as  a reference point throughout their registry process, Curley says.

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The retailer also extended its return policy to 90 days from 30 days for items bought off of a couple’s registry. Gift wrapping is not available.

Curley would not comment on Wayfair’s goals for the registry to increase sales or how Wayfair will measure its impact.

Wayfair built the back-end technology for the registry platform in-house. The registry also is available on Wayfair’s mobile app. Wayfair hired employees for its registry team, including the registry specialists and developers, but won’t say how many.

Wayfair is marketing the registry through social media, paid search, display ads and direct mail. It also is working with such wedding websites as WeddingWire.com and Weddingbee.com. Wayfair is hosting a registry kickoff party in New York City in October and promoting a sweepstakes that awards a couple $20,000 toward their wedding if they create a registry on Wayfair with at least $1,000 worth of goods.

78 retailers in the Top 500 have a registry, according to Top500Guide.com.

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