Through early October at Nicole-Rhea, it’s been a banner for the Elgin, Ill.-based online retailer as consumers looking for at-home shopping options have been a key factor in driving the company’s sales.
Operating as an e-commerce only retailer has been an advantage for Nicole-Rhea, said its owner Jason Flanagan. With no worries of managing a brick-and-mortar operation during the COVID-19 pandemic, Flanagan said that fact coupled repeat customer traffic and increased engagement through Googe search results.
As retailers such as Nicole-Rhea look to close out an unusual year and keep sales strong, gift registry and services such as offered by MyRegistry.com could be boon to resellers and play a major role in how consumers shop for gifts.
In the second of a continuing series about the growing role of gift registry, Flanagan spoke with Kitchenware Today about the changes he’s seen in how consumers shop and share his thoughts on how 2020 could finish.
KITCHENWARE TODAY: You mentioned that Nicole-Rhea has seen strong sales growth? Did you do anything different this year to help drive sales?
JASON FLANAGAN: I think most of the growth we have seen has been organic. We always try to optimize our search results. But overall we really haven’t done anything differently. It’s a continuation of what we have done in recent years.
KWT: What changes have you seen in how consumers have been shopping?
JF: I think the biggest changes have been more traffic and a higher conversion rate. When you look at the major players such as Amazon and Walmart, you can clearly see that the continued growth in online shopping is a market-wide phenomenon.
KWT: There are some that feel gift registry could become an important tool this holiday season. Historically, how important has gift registry been for Nicole-Rhea?
JF: We have a business that is perfect for the registry type of customer. We carry small-batch stuff that is handcrafted and perfect for a gift for weddings or other occasions. Overall, I would say that about 10% of our revenue is related to registry and I expect that to continue to grow. Additionally, in recent years about 90% of our registry traffic was tied to wedding and about 10% for general gift registry. This year, I would put that number closer to 50-50.
KWT: Has there been any effort by Nicole-Rhea to encourage consumers to change their mindset about gift registry?
JF: I think for the most part they are doing it on their own. We have done some additional marketing this year focused on general awareness of registry. This has included email marketing and a blog post, and we plan to more in the future. But I have yet to be able to draw a line connecting the two to show that is what has driven a change in consumer mindset.
KWT: What are your feelings about the fourth quarter?
JF: I feel very optimistic. Our business is up 150% so far this year and our conversion rates continue to grow. I see our conversion rates doubling or tripling in the fourth quarter.