Every now and then, the seasoned ecommerce manager comes across a startup idea that makes them say, “I wish I’d thought of that.” And Zola, the new e‑commerce wedding registry based in New York and launched this month, is an idea that falls into just that category.
Founded jointly by veteran entrepreneur Kevin Ryan (who also co-founded BusinessInsider, 10gen and Gilt Groupe), Nobu Nakaguchi and Shan-Lyn Ma, Zola offers couples who are engaged to be married a broad range of items from different retailers and brands. If you’re an ecommerce manager and you’re thinking, “So, what?”, think on: most couples wanting to build a wedding registry use a single retailer’s website, which means they’re limited to the items sold by that retailer.
Multiple options, single checkout
Instead, Zola has built direct relationships with a raft of other brands and retailers to multiply the choices available. And it also lets couples register for non-traditional gifts, like experiences (e.g., farmer’s market delivery services or private chef dinners) and for cash funds – all via one online checkout. Shan-Lyn Ma, now Zola’s CEO, said:
“We built this with today’s couples in mind. There are a lot of offline behaviors that aren’t being solved online. With our experience in e‑commerce, design and technology we were able to bring a lot of features online.”
Zola lets couples organize group gifts – highly desirable when big ticket items are identified – and allows them to decide when they want their gifts delivered. That’s a neat feature for couples who are planning a move or who want to open their gifts after they’re married.
The personalized registry
Although other firms like WeddingRegistry360 and RegistryLove allow access to a range of retailers, Zola goes further. It lets couples customize a URL, which they can use to include stories and photos to add more personalized content to the online experience, almost becoming a personal wedding site. And that’s in the pipeline. Ma says Zola will be providing tools to let couples do just that soon.
At present, the “experiences” option mentioned earlier is only available in New York City, but plans are afoot to expand to Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, too.
So, e‑commerce managers, are you still thinking “So what” or have you shifted to “Wish I’d thought of that”?