Tuesday, September 21, 2010

myregistry.com vs. Amazon Universal Registry Review

The concept was so cool.  Pick anything for sale on the internet and have it listed on one centralized registry site.  Unfortunately, myregistry.com was one of those "better in theory" registries for us.  It ended up being our least popular registry.
Screen shot of main page
While it was fairly easy to add things on our end, it was a pain to manage once the items were added.  Unless I ordered every item manually, the site ordered items by price (so my bamboo cutting boards got separated from the mineral oil to clean them, etc.).

 Screen shot of the manual sort function
Also, I think it was not user friendly from the guest side.  Unless the guest knew exactly what they wanted to buy after browsing the initial page, the site would open a new window for each item, making it difficult to navigate back to the browsing page.
 Screen shot of separate windows
Anyregistry, our Macy's and Pampered Chef registries were completely cleared out and we had about 70% of the stuff still on myregistry.com.

My MOH, Emily, set up an Amazon registry that also allows you to add items from any internet site. 
Screen shot from Emily's registry - notice the cool priority ratings!
She had a few (ha! I should say she sent me a very thorough review!) thoughts about using the registry, and though she qualifies her insights as pre-wedding, I thought you'd find them really useful. 
  • It's too easy.  The little "add to registry" button installs in no time and lets you browse/add from anywhere that has a website. I also like that it adds an item picture and you can add comments. For universal registering adding, it's awesome. 
  • Inspiration is handy. The features like Top 100 Registered For Items and browsing Most Registered by Region are great sources of inspiration. There's also Most Registered by product category and a registry checklist, all with links. You can also browse other couples' registries - Amazon essentially recommends registries to you if you share an item or similar items, so you can see what else they have that you might want. But if you're squicky about privacy, this might be a turn-off, finding others' so easily - and knowing random people can also view yours. 
  • Prioritizing. Pretty sweet, and something I wish more registries had this function. If I want to let you know, without having to let you know personally and awkwardly, that while it's awesome that you want to buy us anything, we really wish you'd pass up the towels and go for the cordless drill, I just change the priority. (Remember to save your changes as you do this.) 
  • The organization is strange for both regular and Universal registering. I really wish they had a drag-and-drop, although I don't think traditional registries do this. But I want to change and arrange my registry like I do my Netflix. Amazon will add things as you add them. This means that if I add a balloon whisk, and then a day or two or a week later I add the flat whisk, they will be listed apart. If I want my whisks to show up together, I should delete the balloon whisk, then re-add it, and then add my flat whisk. Amazon will also add your Universal items as you add them. So yes, when we decided we wanted to register for additional sushi plates, I deleted the first one, and then added them all at the same time so they would be in a nice orderly row. If you are anal-retentive, this lack of symmetry will bother you, and you will end up doing this too.
  • Product Categorization isn't uniform: Amazon, not you, determines the product category. So even if I add them at the same time, my 10-inch cast iron skillet is listed in Other Kitchen, but my 8-inch cast iron skillet is in Sporting Goods. My medium and large cookie scoops are in Kitchen, but my small one is in Other Kitchen. I have no idea why they're different and I can't change it.
The offending skillet in the sporting goods section
  • The one long page of Amazon's registry is really nice; I don't need to scroll through multiple pages. In addition, it separates out my Amazon items into departments. Universal items are lumped together. You cannot change the default view from this and save it. You can temporarily arrange items to show by price or priority (which will include the Universal registers in the appropriate division) but you cannot save this. On your or your guests' next viewing it will show up again as the default.
  • The Guest/visitor view is a nice addition as well. I can see how my registry appears to a visitor. This shows how a guest views the registry, all cleaned up of empty categories. 
  • Amazon has a Shop This Store versus Buying Elsewhere feature. Amazon allows guests to 'reserve' purchases of items, in case they prefer offline shopping or hopefully find it cheaper elsewhere. We have not yet put this into practice, but I like the in theory concept of it. However, for Universal items, before viewing the item on its outside host website it asks you to confirm a reservation for purchase - I suppose the logic is that people would buy an item and then forget to mark it as purchased, leading to duplicates or confusion. But I don't know how you un-reserve an item if, for instance, someone wants to look at our tools and so reserves them on our registry for purchase, but then decides that with shipping it's too much. I'd assume there's a cancel feature in their confirmation email, but it's not addressed in the FAQ and I'm curious.
 Nice feature, but could get tricky if guests later change their mind or can't find in-store availability
  • No completion discount: This is only really pertinent if you compare Amazon to a traditional registry. As a Universal registry, of course they can't offer this, and it doesn't make sense. But we opted to create small in-store registries when we found ourselves registering for 10 items at one store, rather than adding to them to our Universal, in order to take advantage of a traditional completion discount. For non-Universal items, it would be awesome if Amazon offered me say even 5% completion on items registered for and not purchased through Amazon, but I don't see this happening.
  • Know your guests! We chose Amazon because our wedding is mostly peers and colleagues, as we both have small families and most are familiar with the internet and online shopping. We liked it because we can do massive online research to find the best products at the best deals and then add them - all without turning off the game or getting out of our pajamas or needing to find time when the store wouldn't be crowded. We haven't picked up a scan gun yet, and I don't think we'll miss it. For most of our guestlist, Free Super Saver Shipping is already a way of life, and so we hope there's ease for them as well. Amazon has great prices for most items, but be aware that you or more importantly your guests may be able to get a better deal on some items with sales or coupons elsewhere. And not everyone is on-board with online shopping, or they may just prefer to shop in physical stores. Expect this and be prepared for backlash if you have relatives or friends like this. This was also a factor in setting up a small in-store registry.
Next time I'll have Em do all of my reviews.  Seriously, home girl is THOROUGH. Must be all that grad school.

If you registered, did you have a registry flop?  What was your most popular registry?


Miss Polar Bear said...

Oooh, very helpful. We have not registered yet, so this is good info for me! Thanks!

BigAppleNosh said...

Very thorough review! We ended up using Bed Bath and Beyond because of their generous return policy :)

Lydia said...

My sister used myregistry.com and really liked it and now I'm thinking of using it. I'm not sure why you had other registries though - isn't myregistry a gift registry that lets you add items from everywhere onto one list? Lol not sure how to take this review since on the one hand it's thorough with great images but if you have registries at two other places as well as a third wouldn't you expect guests to visit those brick and mortar places first? That's something my grandma gretchen would do complete with her macys coupons in tow lol. I'm considering using williams sonoma and amazon (electronics are cheapest there in my opinion) both of which I can link directly to myregistry so we'll see. Seems easier to me to just have one registry and send people there. Thanks for the review though! Helps to know what's out there and to know another bride's experiences. :)

Lydia said...

Is that the manual sort option in the image or is "Edit Category" something else? I signed up for an account now at myregistry out of curiosity and I see these as two features. How did you use the edit category as a manual sort? can you do that? Thanks! sorry to bug you! lol I'm just very exciting about planning for the wedding but it's in 5 months and I think I'm being ridiculously early with everything! :)

Lydia said...

was the purchase or reserve item feature on amazon.com a nuisance? What did you end up adding from amazon?

melinda said...

@Lydia - Some of the reasons I had other registries is for the completion discounts (at Macy's), rewards (Macy's and PC), and so that guests could walk into a brick and mortar store. We tried to cover all our bases for our guests and give them familiar options. You're completely right, I put the wrong image by the sort. The problem that I describe is still the same though and one that Emily experienced using Amazon as well. The Amazon registry is my friend Emily's and I haven't used the purchase/reserve feature on it yet. Thanks for the comments and have fun as you set up your registries :)

Lydia said...

Thanks so much for the reply, Melinda! It definitely helps to see things from another bride's perspective. I am going to bookmark your blog - you have some great posts here :)

emily said...

@Lydia: We're kind of forcing the issue by having the majority of our items through Amazon (both as a regular and universal registry). We have very small registriess (like, 10 items small) at BB&B and Williams-Sonoma. BB&B is in hopes that our savvy guests can save on items with their coupons (that never expire! and have no exceptions! and can be used one coupon per item - but can use multiple coupons in one trip!) and W-S is because their completion discount is awesome. Like Melinda, if we placed items only on our universal registry, we wouldn't qualify for completions.

Deanna said...

So if you did it all over again, would you pick Amazon instead?

melinda said...

@Deanna - Probably, just because I think our guests would have felt more comfortable using it.

unicorn said...

Definitely do not use myregistry.com. I just used it for my baby shower last Saturday and it was such a disaster. I encountered the following problems wiith it:

1) inconsistency in letting me know when an item is no longer available on a vendor's site - sometimes this site would contact me and let me know an item was no longer sold on a vendor's site and other times it wouldn't so i had to keep checking the items on my site to make sure they were still sold on a vendor's site
2) lack of integration / synchronization between vendor's site and myregistry.com site - if someone goes directly to the vendor's site (i.e. babiesrus) and makes a purchase direclty off of your registry though babiesrus, myregistry.com does not update to reflect the purchased item. conversely, if someone makes a purchase through myregistry.com through a vendor (babiesrus), my babiesrus registry doesn't update to reflect that the item has been purchaesd
3) unauthorized release of my address to a third party vendor - I received a package from mystrollers.com that was addressed to me but inside the package was some random piece of a bugaboo stroller eqiupment with an invoice to and from someone in new york. this item was never on my registry although i had previously gone to mystrollers.com and clicked "add to my registry" for a xplory graco car seat adapter. i called mystrollers.com to see how they obtained my information for the bugaboo equipment and they said they had no idea and that it was an honest mistake. i asked them if someone had purchaesd anything for me and they said no. what a complete disaster and i felt bad for the person who ordered the bugaboo thing from new york.
4) duplicate purchases - my guests were so confused as to how this website worked and it caused me to get duplicate purchases although one of my items still hasn't arrived.
5) false notifications - i received a notification that somone purchased something for me but a few days later that item was back on myregistry.com again. the website allows people to mark things as purchased even if it wasn't purchased!
6) bad customer service - if you look on their website, there's no phone number to reach them at. you only get a phone number after you submit an online inquiry and they respond to your inquiry. most websites would offer a phone number you can call but on myregistry.com, you ahve to wait for their response. it's a bit annoying to have to wait 24 hours and to have to take that extra step to talk to someone.

all in, i regret having used this website because i have had to spend between 1-2 hours on the phone with someone from myregistry.com trying to figure out all these issues and even now, they are not resolved.

Leigh Adams said...

I just set up my baby registry on myregistry.com (for amazon & target) and I wish I found this blog sooner & saved myself the hassle! their sync feature is down (AGAIN) for syncing amazon to myregistry. i will be deleting myregistry.com and moving everything to amazon. DO NOT USE MYREGISTRY!

R&B Hene said...

Is there synchronization between the Amazon site as well as the vendor's site? For example, if a guest finds an item on Amazon and buys it, will it be taken off the Amazon site and the vendor's site?

Thank you,

melinda said...

Hi Brogan - I'm not sure. It's definitely something to check out though. I would think that Amazon would have a customer service number to ask. Thanks for reading!

Lisa Rau said...

Thank you -- I am convinced! Amazon it is. :)

Anonymous said...

Ladies and Gents, DO NOT USE MyRegistry.com. Customer service is terrible, they billed us 3x for the same purchase and to top it all off they did not have (we called the actual store where the gift was purchased from)an order on file. When I tried to resolve the issue with Myregistry.com they were rude (offered no apology)and told us we had to contact the original store and get them to refund our money. As suspected the original store thought it laughable and sent us back to Myregistry because they were the ones who took the order and billed us. I have emailed the president of Myregistry.com and it will be interesting to see if she is as rude, uninformed and no help as her customer service reps.. --Hoping not. If I was as rude as her customer care reps., I would be out of a job; quick and in a hurry. Seriously, dont use Myregistry.com. Besides, if you leave the registered guest money, Myregistry keeps 3%. --I dont think soooooooooooooooo.

Anonymous said...

This is great information. I would also check out RightGift.com. Similar concept but the user experience is great all around.
You can actually also create specific events for a wedding/baby shower and invite friends via Facebook, email, etc...

Anonymous said...

The comment "good in theory" is perfect for myregistry.com.
I seldom have time to shop, much less sign up, wait a few days for approval and then shop again.
Most of the items I found were unavailable. Some items were listed at one price (for a set of dishes) and then the purchase website defined them as separate. How many of which have already been bought?
It was a huge time-sucker and I'm using this site to vent. Thanks!

Anonymous said...

I Personally use myregistry.com and i love it! when me and my husband moved we brought just about everything new so we made a registry in case some people wanted to get us house warming presents. it was very easy to categorize gifts and buy gifts from the registry page according to my sister. the only hassle i had is sometimes it adds an item twice if you hit the add registry button more than once but it can eaily be fixed by deleting one of the items. also the website itself can load slowly depending on how many items are on your registry. if you are thinking about a registry use this one! and you can also link it with store registries so you can still get the discounts!