Incredibly large selection. Free shipping on many items, and free two-day shipping for Amazon Prime members.
Return window is limited to 90 days.
Accepts competitor coupons. Free gift wrapping.
No Android app for registrants. Some customer complaints about return policy.
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Preparing for a new baby is an exciting time for parents. In addition to the anticipation of the birth and welcoming a new little person into the world, there’s the fact that babies require a lot of gear.
Cribs, bouncers, diaper bags, onesies, pacifiers – the list goes on and on!
A baby registry can be a godsend for expectant parents, and it’s also very convenient for those who want to support the new family member by buying gifts.
Indeed, registries make the gift-buying and gift-receiving process much easier for everyone involved.
But not all registries are the same. Different baby registries offer different reward programs and return policies, and it can be a bit overwhelming to sort out all of the facts.
That’s where BestReviews comes in!
We’re here to bring you the honest, unbiased reviews you need to make informed decisions. We consult with experts and sift through consumer reviews in order to help our readers find the right products and services for their needs.
After researching the available baby registries and talking with our expert consultant, Kelle, we put together the following shopping guide for baby registries.
When you’re ready to take the plunge and select a baby registry (or two), be sure to check our top five baby registry picks at the top of this page.
In-store baby registries are for brick-and-mortar stores only. There aren’t many of these left anymore, as most stores also have an online presence where you can register for baby items.
An in-store registry is generally limited to local stores and works best if most of the gift-givers are local as well.
In-store baby registries may have a limited selection, and the return policy will vary by store.
Online baby registries have exploded in popularity due to the large selection of products and ease of gift delivery they offer. Product selection varies, but in general, online registries have a wide variety of items at a plethora of different price points.
You can easily track what’s been purchased from your registry, and some services even create a list to help you organize your thank-you notes.
If you opt for an online baby registry, be sure to check the website return policy before signing up. Policies vary by site and can be restrictive.
Dual baby registries allow you to register online or in a brick-and-mortar store. Gifts can be purchased either in-store or online.
This type of registry may not have as much selection as a strictly online registry, but you can often get help from an in-store consultant who will guide you through the process and help you choose items.
Combination in-store/online baby registries are convenient because those who don’t have time to go to the store can shop online, and those who want to see products before they purchase them can go inside the store.
Some baby registries are a hassle; others are a dream. Before you say “yes” to a particular baby registry, find out all you can about the following facets of the service.
Most stores have a website where you can view and purchase items. Signing into and checking your registry should be easy and painless. The same should be true for any family or friends who are trying to look up your registry.
If you have a hard time navigating the site, you may want to rethink signing up with that particular store.
This is a big one, because return policies vary greatly from store to store.
Before you register, remember that some people may buy you gifts months before you need them. If the product is defective, you will want to be able to return it without a hassle. A registry with a short return window could be a problem if you start getting gifts early.
Here are a few questions to ask about a baby registry return policy.
Are there return shipping fees?
If an item was bought in-store, can it be returned online and vice versa?
Can the item be returned if it’s been opened or gently used?
Do you need a gift receipt?
What is the return window?
The degree of product selection you need depends on your personal preference.
If you’re looking for a wide selection of products with lots of color or character choices, online registries have the most variety. If you have a specific brand in mind, check the product selection before signing up.
That said, a brick-and-mortar store might work well for you if they carry the brand and style of baby items you prefer.
Some online stores allow you to register for subscription services for diapers, wipes, formula, or baby food. With a subscription service, items are automatically sent to your door on a regular schedule. That’s a huge convenience and might be something a close family member would like to give.
Many brick-and-mortar stores and online stores have reward programs that offer everything from free shipping to a small percentage of cashback with every gift purchased off your registry. If you already have a membership with a store, check their baby registry to see what kind of rewards that you (and your gift givers) can receive.
It’s easy to forget about shipping when you’re looking at the price of baby items. Look at free shipping options and how they might benefit those who shop from your list.
Many online stores have a dollar limit at which you can get free or reduced shipping.
It’s wise to also find out whether you’d have to pay for return shipping in the event of a return.
Most baby registries offer added perks as an incentive to sign up.
For example, the store might offer a percentage of cash to you for every purchase made.
You may be offered a bonus gift after a certain dollar amount is reached. Or, you might be offered a price-match program in which the company promises to match a lower price offered by another store.
You may be feeling overwhelmed at the prospect of selecting a baby registry. Follow these tips for a less-stressful experience.
After all, a baby registry is meant to ease your burden, not add to it!
Be sure you understand a baby registry’s return policy before signing up.
Before you choose items for your registry, talk with other parents for tips on what gear is essential.
Think about your guests’ preferences. Do they do a lot of online shopping? Or would most of them prefer to walk into a store to purchase a gift?
Register for items in different price ranges so guests can easily find gifts within their budget.
Check out and understand how the registry list will work for your guests. Will they only see the items still available for purchase, or will they able to see everything that still needs to be purchased as well as what’s already been purchased? You’ll be able to answer questions your guests have if you understand how the list will work for them.
Q. My baby shower isn’t scheduled yet. How early should I register?
A. At the very latest, be sure to register two or three weeks before your baby shower occurs. You could start registering even earlier, however; some expectant parents begin registering at the three- or five-month mark. Selecting items may take longer than you expect, as there are a lot of products to choose from. You and your partner may need to spend some time deciding what you really want.
You may also wish to consider talking to an in-store consultant to help you decide which items would be most helpful.
Q. Will my shower guests be able to tell if someone else has already bought an item from my list?
A. Yes, but the manner in which that information shows up will vary from store to store. Some registries only show items you still need and have a separate list of items that have already been purchased. Some baby registries list all items together but will have the word “purchased” (or something similar) next to items that have already been bought.
Q. What if my guests buy items from my list at another store with a better price? Can they still check it off my registry?
A. Some registries allow guests to mark an item as purchased even if they didn’t purchase it through the registry. If you know this option exists when you register, leave a note in your invitations so guests know they can check items off your registry even if they don’t buy the item at the designated store.