In a world where everything from coffee to houses is customized to the smallest details, little has changed over the years in the wedding registry industry. Zola is an online retailer looking to shake up the $70 billion industry helping couples to more easily personalize and update their registry lists. Over 50,000 products are available to couples, ranging from traditional wedding registry mainstays to unique gifts not found in any brick and mortar department store. (See also: Unique Registries)
What Makes Zola Different?
In addition to mixers and bread makers, couples can register for unique experiences such as bike tours in wine country, balloon rides or cooking classes, or sign up for trendy subscription services for meal kits. Couples can also request cash they can apply toward a honeymoon, a dream home or whatever they choose. Zola also has tools to help couples think outside of the box when creating their registry lists, with features that can suggest interesting products that they might never have thought of otherwise.
Shoppers Can Pool Money
Zola aims to eliminate many of the traditional frustrations of guests and couples. One of the biggest drawbacks to traditional wedding registry lists is that many couples do not get most of the expensive items on their list because they are just too expensive. Zola shoppers have the option to pool their money to buy a single gift, so a group of friends can all chip in to help get the couple more a big-ticket item that they have always wanted. Since most wedding guests try to save money on wedding gifts, they flock toward the less expensive items on a list. The ability to pool money together is a dream come true for couples. Couples can also choose when gifts are delivered, so they do not need to worry about their new dishes being left on the porch while they are on their honeymoon.
How Zola Makes Money
Whenever couples request cash, Zola charges a 2.5% fee, which couples can choose to pay themselves or pass along to their guests. Most of the company’s revenue is the portion it receives for selling a company or brand’s products and services. Zola claims approximately 20% of the sales it generates for activities and as much as 40% for product sales, which is comparable to other retailers. Since the vast majority of the items Zola sells are shipped directly from the manufacturer, the company itself has practically no inventory at all, and much less overhead than competing services. While other sites such as Amazon offer registry services with wide ranges of products, Zola differentiates itself with a large selection of activity packages, cash options and numerous options to personalize the experience.
Zola’s Advantages Over the Competition
The company is an underdog to traditional registries at brick-and-mortar retailers but appeals to the millennial generation with its enormous online product catalog and easy-to-use app. Zola makes it easy to add or remove products and services to a registry with a swipe to the left or right, and provides a pleasant alternative to the hours of wandering stores and scanning everything in sight. By providing one centralized online location for a couple’s registry, it also cuts shopping time for wedding guests.
One major distinction between Zola and its competitors is a customer service department determined to solve every issue shoppers and couples may experience. Although Zola goes to every effort to make the process simple, its registry concierge is still available every day of the week.