Wedding registry startup Zola has partnered with online outdoor gear retailer Backcountry for an exclusive registry partnership, according to a company press release.
Engaged couples can now register directly for outdoor equipment from Backcountry, but only on Zola. Additionally, Backcountry customers can register for gifts, experiences, and cash funds on Zola. Backcountry will connect to Zola from its homepage.
The outdoor gift category has grown 20% since 2014, as the millennial penchant for experiences over stuff dovetails with the rising number of millennial marriages.
The swirl of spending and retail surrounding milestone events — and the premier one is weddings — has hardly escaped the disruption in retail. Couples are abandoning arbitrary rules about style, approach and spending. At the same time, startups like Zola are bringing web and mobile capabilities to shake up listing, shopping and search.
The wedding space is increasingly being targeted to millennials as they reach typical wedding age. And with same-sex marriage now legal across the country, retailers now have an even wider market to tap.
With consumers (especially millennials) preferring to spend their money on experiences over stuff, creating a new household is one of the few times when many are indeed laser-focused on actual hard goods. And outdoor gear is one area where experiences and stuff converge. "Millennial couples want to register for gifts that they will actually use, and wedding guests want to give gifts that have personal meaning to the couple," Zola Founder/CEO Shan-Lyn Ma said in a statement.
Disruption in the wedding space has taken its toll on more traditional retailers. Last year J. Crew shuttered its bridal business amid falling sales, and last month, with little warning, bridal retailer Alfred Angelo filed for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which entails liquidation of a company and its assets.
But others are working hard to snatch a piece of a lucrative business. Weddings are a $60 billion industry (not including the honeymoon), according to IBIS World. Last year, for example, Macy's tapped one of its top veterans, Shawn Outler, as senior vice president of its revamped wedding services strategy, aimed at millennials.
Meanwhile, Wayfair has created what it calls “a hub for couples," making the most of its data-based, online approach and operating under the assumption that many couples already have a lot of the smaller essentials but are ready to accumulate bigger ticket items. And Target last year, through its TechStars incubation collaboration, worked to help scale the e-commerce site wedding registry site Blueprint Registry, which lets consumers create gift registries and wish lists via shoppable, room-by-room blueprints of their homes.