The majority of retailers are operating online these days, or at least keeping up a strong online presence. Some stores, such as Amazon and ASOS, do not even have any physical stores. However, the wedding industry has maintained a strong offline presence — with brides needing to try on their wedding gowns before they buy, grooms having several suit fittings, and of course, who would want to miss out on the opportunity to have a tasting session at your venue for your wedding breakfast? But with new technologies and social media apps, is it time for the wedding industry to make a transition into the digital world?
To put the rise of online shopping into perspective, in the last twelve months it was reported that around 87% of UK customers have purchased at least one product online. From the year 2016, digital sales have increased by 21.3% and are forecast to increase by 30% by the end of 2017. But does this mean that wedding vendors will have to make the transformation online too? Retailers of tension setengagement rings, Angelic Diamonds, investigates further.
What does the future hold?
As companies increase their online presence, it will be interesting to see whether the wedding industry follows suit or remains successful offline.
New technologies, particularly social media, has already affected the industry and how customers are shopping. With apps such as Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook; brides and grooms can find so much inspiration for their big day with just a few clicks. Modern couples are now using new technology when wedding planning. In fact, 42% of people use social media to plan their wedding — with 41% of brides following photographers on social media, 37% of brides following venues and 14% following florists.
The internet is helping brides search for dresses and vendors too – TheHuffington Postreported that 61% of brides search for gowns through their mobile (up from 27% in 2011) and 57% search for wedding vendors in the same way (this figure was 22% in 2011).
Social media is not only useful for customers, but it is beneficial for companies in the industry, too. The apps provide a platform for wedding planners, venues, florists, and other wedding suppliers to showcase what they have to offer. Instagram and Pinterest, which is used by 64% of brides, have now become a couple’s go-to platform for all their inspiration, a digital alternative to a wedding fair.
Suppliers who have not yet invested time into creating a social media profile for their business could be missing out on free exposure.
27% of modern couples suggested said that they would create a hashtag for their special day, too.
It appears that the future could remain promising for wedding vendors. Whilst it is likely that companies will need to go digital at some stage to stay up to date with the latest technologies, and keep their head in the game, there might always be a place for them offline within the industry.
In fact, it is likely that the industry would struggle if many of the companies became digitalised.
Wedding fairs have been around for centuries, and there is a reason for that; whilst modern couples use social media for visual inspiration, wedding fairs are still a great way for suppliers to engage face-to-face with potential customers. For most people, their wedding day is the biggest day of their lives so it’s important that they can speak face-to-face with suppliers, and physically see what they have to offer.
There is no escaping the digitalisation of shopping, and it is suggested that the wedding industry will have to conform to the trend in some way. However, it appears that it is during the inspiration stages of the wedding planning process that the internet is most useful. The industry is definitely not yet ready to wipe out all traditional methods of wedding planning. There’s no question that there is still a demand for the physical processes. Maybe, it’s just time for suppliers and other industry professionals to use digital as a means to extend their business and gain more exposure.