When planning your baby shower, which store has the best baby registry? In general, baby registries are very similar to wedding registries. You go to the store, pick up a bar code scanner, and simply zap everything you want to put onto your registry. They usually provide you a checklist so you don’t forget anything. You can also add and remove items on registry online, and track what items were bought.
Here are the results of my research after scouring the respective sites and reading various baby forums, comparing factors including selection, price, customer service, return policies, and completion discounts:
Babies R Us
- Pros: Large selection, registry works both in-store and online. Registry Rewards program where you get points when other people buy from your registry. You can return items to a physical store, but with restrictions (see Cons). In-store items on registry can be returned without receipt. Works with Shoprunner.
- Cons: Prices tend to be higher in general. Some items are online-only, and thus not available in stores. Online-only items can be returned to a physical store for store credit, but if they are mailed back then the refund credit goes to the original purchaser, not you. Also, such items require a gift receipt or online packing slip.
Completion Discount: Physical coupon arrives 0-2 weeks before stated arrival date. They mail you a 10% off coupon good for a one-time purchase that can include some or all of the remaining items on your registry, with some restrictions:
The completion offer is not valid on diapers, formula, furniture, “R”US Gift Cards, Special Orders, Buyer Protection Plan, Video Game Hardware, Kiddie Kandids and Motherhood Maternity merchandise. It is not valid on prior purchases.
Amazon.com Baby Registry
- Pros: Large selection, online-only. Lower prices in general, plus no sales tax in many areas for now. Return policy offers a free prepaid return mailing label if you return the item in new and unopened condition within 365 days from date of delivery. You will get a gift certificate with the value (purchaser will not be notified). Also offers universal registry features if you want.
- Cons: Can’t return things to a physical store. For easy returns, items must be “sold by Amazon.com” and not a third-party seller. Otherwise, you are subject to the return policy of that specific seller. Of course, you probably didn’t buy the items so you have no control over this.
Completion Discount: You become eligible 30 days prior to stated arrival date, receiving 10% off a one-time order up to $5,000 worth of good from remaining items on registry. Applies only to items sold by Amazon.com, but other than that no significant restrictions. Update: It appears that only items that are deemed baby-related by Amazon are allowed.
Target Baby Registry
- Pros: Convenient for gift givers, lots of stores nationwide. Lower prices in general. You can return or exchange any item on your registry in-store, with or without receipt. Will be easier to use up Target gift cards since they sell everything from toothpaste to furniture.
- Cons. In-store selection is more limited and varies by location.
Completion Discount: Physical coupon sent to you, activates after due date. 10% off all remaining items either in-store or online, you can use it both online and offline as long as it’s the same day. (Some people report that the 10% coupon works on all items in that one purchase at Target, but I can’t confirm.)
Buy Buy Baby
- Pros: Very large selection, registry works both in-store and online. You can all return items to a physical store, even without receipt, for store credit. As this is the baby branch of Bed, Bath, and Beyond, you can use their 20% off coupons (sign-up online for mailing list to get coupons regularly). Overall better reviews from mommy forums regarding customer service.
- Cons: Limited store locations. Prices may be higher on average. However, Buy Buy Baby also does price-matching to online stores like Amazon (see below).
Do you price match items I find advertised for less at another website/retail store?
We will gladly match our direct competitors’ prices on identical items. Please call us at 1-800-436-3048 so a Customer Service Representative can assist you. Exceptions may apply.
Completion Discount: Valid after due date. 10% off all remaining items, you will receive both a physical coupon in the mail and a coupon code via e-mail, so make sure both are accurate. (Some people report that the 10% coupon works on all items, not just remaining items in registry. May vary by each store policy, like the acceptance of expired 20% off coupons.)
Here are some other stores that we considered, but didn’t really stack up that well with the others.
Walmart Baby Registry was very basic. There is no special registry return policy, it’s just their standard gift return policy which means you’ll need a gift receipt. Without a gift receipt, you’ll be limited to a certain number of returns using your driver’s license. There is no completion discount. Still, if you do most of your other shopping at Wal-mart as opposed to Target, it’s probably convenient to register here and be able to use any store credits or get gift cards from Wal-mart.
TheBump has a universal-style registry that includes Amazon, Buy Buy Baby, and several smaller retailers. I didn’t really want to deal with gifts coming from that many different retailers, all with their own unique return policies.
Wishpot is another universal registry that allows to add any item from any store online, and then people can “reserve” that item to give to you. A price comparison engine helps gift givers see where the item is the cheapest. Again, this method makes it difficult to return items as people may buy them from online stores that require you to arrange and pay for return shipping or have a gift receipt, or stores that you don’t have near you.
What We Did
In the end, we decided to register at Babies R Us and the Amazon.com Baby Registry. We would have chosen Buy Buy Baby over Babies R Us, but there was no BBB near us. Babies R Us will work best for friends and family that prefer to buy something in a physical store. Amazon is just cheaper and easier for people that want to ship us something directly, but still has a good return policy for the most part. We’ll probably only use the completion discount at Amazon, as BRU prices are often more than 10% more expensive anyway. We decided to leave out Target for the sake of simplicity.
We haven’t actually had our baby yet so I can’t really call this a full review of baby registries, just trying to do the best pre-research possible. Please leave a comment if you’ve actually used one of these baby registries and have something to add. Thanks!