So you just found out you’re expecting a baby? Congratulations! For many parents, once the initial excitement wears off, the stress begins. If becoming a parent for the first time isn’t the biggest change you’ll make to your lifestyle, it’s definitely up there. Part of that stress that comes along with planning for a baby is all the “baby stuff” you need to buy. That alone can become extremely overwhelming, not to mention expensive.

Thankfully, baby registries to the rescue! There are no shortage of baby registries to choose from, all of which have pros and cons. We’re here to help you sift through some of your top choices, and make the decision of which is the best baby registry for your needs.

Contenders

There are no shortage of baby registry options to choose from, so in this post we’ve focused on the biggest e-commerce site in the world (Amazon), one of the largest baby registry-specific sites (Babylist), and a newcomer trying to innovate in a decades-old space (Poppylist). 

Criteria

To determine what the important factors are in a good baby registry platform, we spoke to dozens of parents to find out what were key deciding factors for them. These parents also provided insight into what was lacking in current offerings and what their ideal baby registry platform would provide. After consolidating all of the feedback, we settled on four categories:

  1. Discovering Products
  2. Adding to Registry
  3. Receiving Gifts
  4. Gift Giver Experience

Let’s dive a bit deeper into each category.

Discovering Products

The first step in building your baby registry is finding the products to add. There are no shortage of baby products out there, each fitting a different need, budget or aesthetic. Finding the right set of products for you can be a daunting challenge. Luckily, you’re not on your own.

Babylist provides comprehensive lists of baby products broken down into categories of each type of product (e.g. clothes, diapers, nursery etc). If a baby product is sold anywhere on the internet, more than likely Babylist will have it listed on their site.

Like Babylist, Amazon’s product offerings are also quite comprehensive, if not a bit overwhelming. Amazon’s categorization is not nearly as thoughtful as Babylist’s; however, the browsing experience feels familiar to all regular Amazon shoppers. The major downside to Amazon’s registry recommendations is that only products sold on Amazon are recommended to add to your baby registry (although you can add any product manually to your baby registry, more on that later).

Poppylist’s baby registry experience begins with a parent type quiz, which matches each parent-to-be with a unique set of products based on their parent type. The list of products is much smaller in nature than Amazon or Babylist, with the goal being to only recommend products that a parent truly needs. All of Poppylist’s recommended products come from parent recommendations, and brands cannot buy their way into the catalog.

Babylist is robust. Amazon is convenient. And Poppylist is simple.

Adding to Baby Registry

One of the most obvious but important actions you must be able to perform on any baby registry platform, is adding new products. Recommended products from each site are added with a single click (on all three platforms multiple products can also be added with one click).

The differences arise when trying to add products from different sites.

Babylist provides registrants a number of ways to add products to their baby registry, our favorite being their best in class browser extension that allows users to be browsing any website, and with a click of a button add the product to their Babylist registry. Simply put, it works like magic.

Poppylist also provides registrants with the ability to add products from any site to their baby registry. This is done by having users copy and paste URLs from other sites into their Poppylist baby registry, after which the product’s details are automatically imported.

Like Babylist, Amazon's Baby Registry also employs the use of a browser extension called Amazon Assistant. This extension isn’t exclusively used for registries, so it can be a bit cumbersome to use. We also found the accuracy of the product name and photos to not always be in line with what Babylist is able to capture from similar pages.

One key difference in the approach that both Babylist and Amazon take versus Poppylist, is that both Babylist and Amazon are primarily focused on funneling registrants to recommended products on their sites. Many of Babylist’s recommended products are from other retailers, but the focus of their baby registry experience is to get registrants to add products from their recommended products. Both experiences can bias parents into thinking only certain brands and products are worth buying. Poppylist, on the other hand, encourages parents to add products from any site, as the aim is to be the most flexible and unbiased baby registry platform.

Gift Giver Experience

No baby registry experience can be complete without thinking about the gift giver. These are the people that are actually gifting you your selected baby registry products, so making their experience smooth and simple should be a top priority.

Both Amazon and Babylist provide a smooth and simple gift purchasing experience for all items that are sold directly through their site. Buying one of these items should feel like any other e-commerce purchase experience for gift givers.

For products not sold on their sites; however, Amazon and Babylist both use clunky "reservation" systems that require gift givers to do extra work to secure the item. Specifically, these sites require the gift giver to mark an item as reserved, head to another retailer to purchase the product, then return after purchasing the item to mark it as purchased. Not only does this put greater burden on the gift giver, in the event that the product isn’t available, they are left to find it elsewhere, or perhaps even purchase an alternative that the registrant would not approve of. Furthermore, the gift recipient lacks visibility into if and when the product was purchased/shipped (more on this in the next section).

Given that Poppylist does not sell products directly, all products a gift giver purchases are treated equally. This means there is never any need to reserve gifts, and the purchase process is the same for every product on a baby registry. When a gift giver visits a Poppylist baby registry, they can rest assured that their purchase experience will be as simple for every product, as Amazon’s and Babylist’s is for products sold on their respective websites.

Receiving Gifts

Still with us? Now on to the best part: receiving gifts! This is when the fun begins, and you can truly start envisioning what life with your little one will be like. You may be wondering “is receiving gifts really that different on different platforms?”. The answer is YES.

When gifts are purchased and sold directly from a baby registry platform, the experience is largely a good one. With Amazon and Babylist, this means you’ll have visibility on when your gift is purchased and when it will arrive.

The same cannot be said for items purchased outside of those platforms. If a gift giver successfully, reserves and purchases one of these items, they need to be trusted to accurately select the correct item (including color and size!) and then enter the correct shipping address. Furthermore, if they don’t share the tracking information with you the registrant, you’ll have zero visibility into when you’ll receive the product. Finally, if you have any issues with the purchase, you’re largely on your own to resolve with the retailer, which can be a major headache given you didn’t purchase the gift directly from them. 

Poppylist also provides visibility of where your gift is in the fulfillment cycle for all products purchased from your baby registry. An additional benefit that Poppylist provides is “delayed delivery”. Imagine you live in a home or apartment with minimal storage space, but you want to add a high chair to your baby registry. Well, if you register through Amazon or Babylist, soon after that high chair is purchased, it will show up at your doorstep and you’re stuck storing it for the 6+ months before your baby needs it. With Poppylist’s delayed delivery, you choose when your gifts are sent to you. Change your mind and no longer want an item? No problem, you can simply exchange the value of the gift to a gift card of your choice.

Conclusion

While there are many baby registry platforms to choose from, there are clear benefits to some over others. Hopefully this article has helped shed some light on what to consider when choosing your baby registry platform. If you’d like to discover your parent type and view sample product recommendations from Poppylist, click here.

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