ATLANTA -- Home Depot is going the way of retailers like Crate & Barrel and Macy's by offering an online gift registry, but will brides and grooms be eager to snap up miter saws or pressure washers?
Industry observers see it as a way for the Atlanta-based company to enhance its relationship with customers, even if it isn't a boon for the bottom line. The initiative will be formally launched today.
The home improvement chain says it is banking on its research showing that more people are getting married later in life, perhaps for a second time, and already have small appliances, fine china, and cutlery. Instead, the company says, couples may be looking for power drills or other items they can use to upgrade their homes.
Home Depot ''allows them to express themselves in a more unique way," said Shelley Nandkeolyar, the company's e-commerce chief. ''It adds another dimension to the gift registries."
At rival Lowe's, spokeswoman Jennifer Smith said the North Carolina-based chain is evaluating new ideas like an online gift registry, but is not ready to make any announcements.
While Home Depot customers will be able to register for gifts for general occasions like moving to a new home or a baby shower, Home Depot is pitching its registry primarily to couples getting married. Wedding registries generated $6 billion in revenue for retailers last year, Nandkeolyar said.
Seventy-nine percent of the 839 people who have registered on Home Depot's website so far have been couples getting married. Among the top items selected were a double hammock with stand, a wheelbarrow, an electric power washer, and a leaf rake.
Ann Culver, a 37-year-old from San Francisco who works in sales for a large telecommunications company, is one of the first people to sign up for the online registry. She is getting married Sept. 18.
''I'm a homeowner and also on the older side and this is my first marriage," Culver said. ''I have already got all the kitchen stuff I need, so going to Home Depot and being able to get stuff for the house is great."