Some of the biggest names in shopping, including New York City flagships Bloomingdale’s and Macy’s, are putting their names behind WeddingChannel.com’s new online/offline bridal registry service. The site will combine WeddingChannel.com’s own online registry with two online registries and a half dozen in-store registries Federated Department Stores, Inc. operates.
Federated (NYSE: FD), which owns Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s and six other U.S. department store chains, sells hundreds of millions of dollars in wedding gifts through its bridal registries, which enable customers to choose from a continuously updated list of gifts designated by the bride and groom.
The deal seems like a natural for Federated, which already operates online registry services through its Bloomingdale’s online store and a separate site, weddingonline.com, which serves the rest of its 403 department stores around the country.
Market Ripe for Investing, Expanding
Federated also agreed to invest an undisclosed amount in WeddingChannel.com to become an equity partner in the online company.
WeddingChannel.com estimates more than 2.4 million couples get married each year in the United States, inviting an average 188 guests to each wedding. That translates into a gift industry estimated at more than $10 billion (US$), WeddingChannel.com says.
WeddingChannel.com also has an exclusive relationship with Conde Nast’s BRIDE’S Magazine, which it will use to cross-promote the online/offline registry service. While WeddingChannel.com gets the added marketing weight of Federated’s renowned department stores, the partnership will move Federated one step further into the world of e-commerce.
“WeddingChannel.com has the tools, content and online expertise to enhance our bridal services and make this an even more significant part of our total business,” Federated vice chairman Ronald Tysoe said. “The further integration of e-commerce with our stores will continue to enhance both shopping experiences for brides and grooms as well as their guests.”
More Construction at WeddingChannel.com
WeddingChannel.com also expanded its online wedding planning and communications services, collected in one on its site called “Our Wedding.” A new “Guest Management” service helps couples manage guest lists by creating an address database, and a tracker for invitations, RSVPs, gifts and thank you notes. To make it easier for their guests to get to the wedding, find a place to stay and find interesting things to do while there, couples can create their own home page on WeddingChannel.com — controlled by a password for each couple.
The site will also capitalize on WeddingChannel.com’s relationship with BRIDE’s Magazine to put more articles, tips and advice online. WeddingChannel.com has also partnered with America Online to provide a bridal registry in AOL’s new wedding section and content for its Digital City site.
In addition to its registry service and the Our Wedding section, WeddingChannel.com provides information and services related to fashion, planning, shopping and Travel. WeddingChannel.com, based in Los Angeles, is a private company. Investors include MacAndrews & Forbes Holdings, Inc., Goldman Sachs, MSD Capital, RRE Investors and idealab! Capital Partners.