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The perfect baby registry seamlessly combines a wide selection of products with perks like discounts, cool features, and a forgiving return policy. It should come with completion discounts (a discount you get near your due date), free shipping on orders with low totals (around $30) and ways to make the registering process as smooth as possible. Target hits all those marks.
Read on to find out why Target has one of the best baby registries. (And if you’re interested in personalized recommendations for where to register and what to add to your registry, check out BabyCenter’s Baby Registry Builder.)
The benefits of a Target baby registry
Comprehensive app: You need to download the Target Registry app (available for iOSOpens a new window and AndroidOpens a new window), and then you can forget about printing or saving receipts. The app stores this info, so all you have to do is scan your registry bar code to return an item.
Group gifting: Target lets your family members and friends pitch in to buy a single gift. If you have an expensive item, like a stroller, the gift giver contributes a specific amount toward the purchase instead of taking the entire total on themselves. Target even adds a status bar to show you and your guests how much more is needed for that gift. Once you hit the mark, you’ll receive a Target gift card to purchase the item yourself. Genius!
Completion bonus: Eight weeks before your arrival date, Target emails you a 15 percent off coupon that you can use twice — once in store and once online. Your registry even has a countdown with the number of days until you get your discount.
Year-long return policy: Target’s standard return policy gives you only 90 days to return a purchase, but they allow you to return gift registry items for up to a year after your due date. Something to keep in mind: All your gifts need to be new, unopened and in the original packaging to be considered for a return. That means if you take the tags off and wash all of your onesies before you deliver, but baby never fits into the newborn size, you won’t be able to return them.
Checklist: Target provides a checklist to make sure you add everything you need (because it can be hard to keep track). The products are divided into different categories, and each one has a tracker that lets you know how much of the checklist you’ve completed so far.
Welcome Kit: Once you create your registry, you’re eligible to get a Welcome Kit. Head to your local Target store to pick up a mix of coupons and free samples (a $150+ value), or get it shipped to you for free with orders of $35 or more. If you plan to pick up in stores, we recommended calling first to check on supplies, as Wecome Kits are subject to availability.
Must-haves and special notes: Target lets you mark which items on your registry you deem as “most wanted,” which is a simple way to make shopping easier for loved ones and increase the chances you get all your essentials. (Target says items marked as must-haves are twice as likely to be bought!) You can also add special notes to items that loved ones can see, like “My mom used to read me this book all the time, and I want to do the same with my little one!” or “This swaddle set is so adorable, especially in the color yellow.”
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How to create a Target baby registry
Navigate to Target’s Baby Registry pageOpens a new window and click “create registry.” If you already have a Target account, you can sign in using that, or you can create a new one. Once you’re logged in, the fun part begins. You get to put in your due date, choose a unique URL for your registry — think something like “baby-girl-smith” — and add your gift address. There’s also a place to share the sex of your baby and a customized note to loved ones checking out your registry (if you want to!).
How to use the registry checklist
Creating a registry can be overwhelming — especially for first-time parents. Target’s checklist helps them figure out what they actually need to get through the first year (Real answer? Sleep! Unfortunately, that’s not on the site). If you’re already overwhelmed by options, you’ll appreciate that Target does some of that work for you.
The checklist consists of 12 categories — like diapering, feeding and nursery furniture — that each have smaller subcategories within them. For example, the nursery furniture category lists a bassinet, a crib, a crib mattress, a changing table, and a glider or rocker. Target doesn’t seem to overdo the lists and includes what parents actually need.
Once you add the suggested items to your list (or decide you don’t need them), you can check a box next to the category name. As you add items to your list and check off boxes, Target will keep track of how many areas you’ve completed on your checklist. The feeding section may say “5/13 complete,” while the clothing section says “7/7 complete.” There’s no pressure to complete everything, but the checklist helps you spot what you’re missing.
How to use the registry gift tracker
Next to the checklist, you’ll find your gift tracker. This area has some spoilers, because you can see what was purchased and who bought it. Luckily, you have to click a button that says “show me the names” when you try to track a gift to see who bought it for you, so that you don’t totally ruin the surprise by accident. Thanks, Target! Otherwise, you can browse the list of gifts and even check off a box next to each one after you send a thank-you note.
Using your Target baby registry
Can we tell you how much we love this registry? Once we signed up, it was easy to find where everything was thanks to helpful buttons and an intuituve layout, which meant we didn’t have to do a lot of digging. We jumped right to adding items and registered for a car seat, some cute bath toys, and a pack of pacifiers. We didn’t feel limited by the selection and found everything we needed. We also loved playing around with the checklist and were obsessed with the countdown to the baby’s arrival, so long as you decide to put it in (it’s like waiting for the ball to drop on New Year’s Eve!). We also appreciated Target’s helpful explanations of what different gear is for. For instance, if you go to select a travel system, the site easily and clearly explains the difference between a modular and full-size system. Overall, the entire experience was impressive and painless.
How to return a registry gift
If you get two highchairs, it’s easy to return the second one. In your registry, go to the “offers & benefits” section on the home page and select “start a return.” From there, you’ll select what item you want to return and the store you want to take it back to. You’ll then get a special barcode that Guest Services will scan in the store, so bring that and your unopened gift when you make your Target run. You’ll get your refund as a Target gift card.
- Guided tour of the registry’s features
- The app keeps you organized and makes returns easier
- A full year to make returns
- A helpful checklist to keep you on track
- The Welcome Kit is available in stores or can be shipped
- Gifts need to be returned in person
- The Welcome Kit can have low availability sometimes
The Target baby registry gives you plenty of things to love. From the easy-to-use checklist to the year-long return policy, Target is doing almost everything right with this registry. Plus, there are over 1,900 Target stores in 50 states, so chances are good that you and your friends and family have one close by.
We can’t believe we’re saying this: In many ways, Target has a better baby registry than Amazon. Yes, we’re dethroning the ruler of all baby registries. Why? Most importantly, Target’s registry is so easy to use, especially with the app. You can use the scanner on your phone to organize and adjust all of your registry items. And on the website, all the buttons you need are at the top: My Registry, Add Items, Checklist, Gift Tracker and more. Plus, if you ever navigate away from your registry to another part of the site, there’s a very visible “Registry” button at the top of all the site’s pages that will take you back to your registry’s main page. We’ve tested many different baby registries, and Target’s ease of use tops the list.
Then there’s the design. We were actually happy to log onto our registry page. There’s a bunch of helpful modules organized clearly and thoughtful on the home page so you can find everything you’re looking for, and sweet details like a countdown to your arrival date and how many gifts are left on the list. We have a profile photo at the top left and a space for a fun message to any gift givers that come to the page. The whole experience is calming, and it makes you look forward to filling out the registry list.
Some of the features go above and beyond what we’ve seen with other baby registries. This registry has a “Most Wanted” box next to each item on your registry, so you can let friends and family know what to prioritize. The group gifting option takes the pressure off people who don’t want to overspend, but it still allows you to get everything you need off the list. The checklist is easy to use and doesn’t add unnecessary pressure when you’re already dealing with so much (Amazon’s checklist, for instance, is a bit overwhelming). The completion discount is among the highest we’ve seen, and you can combine it with your 5 percent discount if you have a RedCard or Target Circle offers.
Target also has a great selection of products both online and in stores, and the amount of locations around the country means you can pop into your local store at any time to see what a product looks like in person.
This article originally appeared on What to Expect.