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Small stores can create online gift registries
Small, local shops can use free social media tools to create online gift registries.
I love small downtown businesses. There is just something special about wandering into local shops and looking at locally made pottery, jewelry and other knick-knacks, especially when I am shopping for myself. However, when it comes to wedding and baby gifts, online registries offered by larger companies are usually my “go-to” choice.
These registries allow me to see what the couple has registered for and what has already been purchased for them. When I go to the store, I have already decided what I am going to get, and I can go directly to that item, pick it up and be on my way. All the agonizing over what I’m going to buy and how much I’m going to spend is done before I ever get to the store.
Small businesses rarely offer online registries because the technology required to support them is rather cumbersome and expensive. After much consideration I have come up with what I think is a plausible alternative: Facebook photo albums.
Most businesses and at-home businesses have a presence on social media platforms, such as Facebook. These platforms allow users to upload photo albums. Here’s how it would work: a couple registers for their upcoming wedding at a local gift shop. The business owner or employee would create an album and title it with the couple’s names. The worker would fill the album with photos of items from the couple’s registry. The album cover should be a picture of the couple or the engagement announcement.
For each photo, you can give a description or price if you would like. There is also a link at the bottom of the album page that says “share this album with anyone.” This link can be copied and pasted into an e-mail sent to the couple or listed on a bridal website.
Under privacy, if you select “only me,” then only you – that is, the Facebook account owner – can see the registry photos, but you can e-mail the link to specific users. Alternatively, you can choose to make the album viewable by the general public or to “friends” of the business. The option you choose depends on how comfortable your clients are with having their information posted online and how comfortable you are with having your inventory easily accessible.
Online registries are also free advertising for your business, and shoppers get to decide on what they want to purchase before arriving at the door. For busy folks who have only a lunch hour or a little time after work to stop in and make a purchase, this can be a real time-saver.
If you are having trouble setting up your small business’s Facebook page or need help figuring out how to do online payments, contact your local Extension office or e-Beat representative (http://www.srdc.msstate.edu/ebeat) to schedule a free workshop in your county.
Setting up your business or agribusiness on the great World Wide Web is easier than you think.