Crate & Barrel is partnering with a $140 million Goldman Sachs-backed rival to help it take on Amazon

  • Crate & Barrel is launching on Zola from 1 October. 
  • The new partnership enables Crate & Barrel to reach more millennial shoppers who are increasingly choosing to shop on non-traditional wedding registry platforms. In doing so, it is better equipped to compete with Amazon. 
  • In a survey of 200 engaged couples done by Loop Capital, Amazon was voted the most popular wedding registry platform, leading Loop Capital to describe it as the "'go-to' retailer for 'digital native' millennial couples."

Crate & Barrel is teaming up with a competitor in the race against Amazon. 

The home furnishings chain announced a new partnership with Zola – an up-and-and coming wedding registry startup that's geared toward millennial couples – to bring thousands of its products to Zola's site.

Previously, customers could link to Crate & Barrel products in their Zola registry but when it came to purchasing, gift-givers would have to click through to the external site, which was not a particularly user-friendly process, Zola's CEO, Shan-Lyn Ma told Business Insider at Recode's Code Commerce conference on Tuesday. 

Now, customers will be able to choose from 3,500 Crate & Barrel products and add these directly to their Zola registry. 

The new partnership enables Crate & Barrel to reach more millennial shoppers by meeting them in a place that they increasingly want to shop, Neela Montgomery, CEO of Crate & Barrel, said during Recode's Code Commerce on Tuesday.

Zola, which is known for eschewing tradition and allowing couples to register for cash or experience-based gifts such as vouchers for Airbnb or Hotels.com, is fast becoming one of the leading disruptors in the market. In May, it announced that it had raised $100 million in funding from investors that included NBCUniversal and Goldman Sachs.

Rather than being crushed by its competitor, Crate & Barrel is teaming up with it to take on a new and growing threat in the marketplace – Amazon. 

According to the Knot's 2017 Wedding Registry study, which surveys more than 6,600 engaged couples, Amazon was ranked in third place for the most popular wedding registry platform, beating Macy's and Crate & Barrel but losing out to Target and Bed Bath & Beyond. 

In another survey of 200 engaged couples done by Loop Capital, Amazon was voted the most popular wedding registry platform, leading Loop Capital to describe it as the "'go-to' retailer for 'digital native' millennial couples."

Amazon has grown quickly in this market by luring in couples with discounts and offering bonus gifts when gift-givers spend a certain amount of money on certain brands.

While wedding registries only account for 10% of Crate & Barrel's business – it currently does 100,000 registries a year – it is looking to take a bigger chunk out of this booming $19 billion market.

Registry customers also tend to be very loyal, Montgomery said, and it's where they "start their journey" with the brand. If they win over these customers early on, they could see more benefits down the line. 

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