Gift Registry (Online Wish List) Business

Overview Of Business Model
Many people today use gift registries to help their family and friends with gift purchases for weddings or other special occasions. In the traditional model, gift registries are often limited to one store. Now on the Internet, under the guise of wish lists, the idea of the gift registry has come into its own.

An online wish list is a service that can be connected to many online stores. When people are having a special occasion, such as a wedding, they simply register on the wish list site and list the items they would like to receive that can be purchased anywhere online. Their family and friends then go online to the wish list and can choose items of interest to the couple as well as ensure that they are not getting the same item as someone else.

An online wish list service participates in the affiliate programs of many online stores. Whenever someone using your service buys a product from an affiliated site, you receive a small percentage of the sale (usually anywhere from 5 to 25 percent). If your wish list is particularly well designed and is popular, then you can also collect a membership fee from your member businesses or sell them preferred space or banner advertising.

Skills Needed
Some familiarity with marketing online is necessary. In addition, this sort of business deals with a number of advanced concepts and components of the Internet, so you will need to have a firm grasp of the way affiliate programs work before pursuing this concept. Finally, you will need a computer programmer to write and maintain your wish list software.

Cost To Start This Business
The cost to initially set up your gift registry/online wish list will range from $8,000 to $30,000. These costs include a high-end computer, appropriate software, and a printer, as well as the costs related to the design, development, and hosting of your Web site. Other initial costs you will incur include the development of your wish list software as well as the marketing and advertising of your Web site.

Number Of Employees Needed To Start
The maintenance of your Web site and creation of your wish list software will require a lot of work. You will also need to launch a massive promotional campaign. It is possible that one or two dedicated people could start up this business.

International Potential
Your service does not actually perform any shipping or other functions that sometimes restrict an online business. There are no barriers, with the exception of language, preventing you from capitalizing on the global market.

Important Business Issues To Be Addressed
A large part of the setup of an online gift registry is related to successfully linking up with online retail stores and their affiliate programs. You will have to develop a dynamite Web site and specialized software related to the gift registry. You will also have to develop a comprehensive Internet marketing strategy to generate significant traffic to your site.

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Online Marketing Techniques

  • When people visit your Web site to register or to purchase a gift for a friend who is registered with your site, you have a perfect opportunity to encourage the use of viral marketing techniques like tell a Friend. If they found your site and service useful, then they will pass that information on to their friends.
  • You should develop and implement a targeted banner advertising strategy. You will want to place banner ads on appropriate wedding-related and other special-occasion Web sites.
  • Develop and implement a comprehensive link strategy. You should be linked from as many gift-related Web sites, directories, meta-indexes, and Web rings as possible.
  • Participate in publicly accessible mail lists related to wedding planning.
  • Develop a sponsored listings campaign to bid on appropriate keyword phrases with the popular search engines.
  • Participate in newsgroups, discussion forums, and chats related to wedding and other special-occasion planning.

Additional Income
You can add e-cards or a reminder service to your product offering. You can sell banner advertising to Web sites that are targeting the same demographic that you are.

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