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Digital Trends and Wedding Planning: Online vs. Offline

How is the internet impacting wedding planning? We teamed up with Angelic Rings to explore how couples plan online

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How is wedding planning changing in a digital world?
How is wedding planning changing in a digital world?

It seems as though many aspects of our lives are becoming more digitalised. We love to shop online, monitor our bills online and pay in shops through the tap of our debit card.

The wedding industry however, has always been a largely physical experience. Brides enjoy choosing their wedding dresses with family and friends, the venue must be visited to get a ‘feel’ of how it will look on the day and of course cake tasting is essential. But, should players in this industry be making the digital transition? Together with Angelic Diamonds, retailer of unique 3 stone rings, we investigate...

The Influence of Digital

As some companies begin to realise their true potential by making the digital transition, does the wedding industry have to follow in similar footsteps to stay on top of their game?

We’ve already seen some effects of digitalisation on shopping habits. Research has revealed that more brides and grooms are browsing on social media to discover inspiration for their special day. The statistics show that 42% of people use social media to plan their wedding, 41% of brides ‘follow’ wedding photographers and 14% follow potential florists.

Other research, some of which gathered by The Huffington Post, revealed:

  • 60% of brides are planning their wedding through their mobile phone.
  • Brides research potential dresses (61%, up from 27% in 2011).
  • 57% of brides search for wedding vendors (22% in 2011).
  • 64% of brides use Instagram and Pinterest.
  • 27% of modern couples said that they would create a hashtag for their special day.

As we can see, the internet plays a huge part in the wedding planning process. Is it possible to survive in the industry without taking a digital leap?

Stuck with social media? Warren Knight shares his tips for improving your social media strategy.

Can You Survive Offline?

The wedding industry could be an exception in the race to be digital. It’s likely that companies will have to make some adaptations to capture all of their potential markets, but a fully digital wedding industry could struggle to survive.

As you might be aware, there is so much to experience, in person, before deciding on a purchase for a wedding day. Wedding fairs, for example, have been around for many years and provide retailers with an opportunity to engage face-to-face with customers and offer free samples and tasters.

Couples can spend tens of thousands on their wedding and therefore they want to make sure that everything is perfect. For this reason, many people prefer to see what they’ll be getting in person rather than ordering online. Time is also precious in the wedding planning process and buyers don’t want to risk having to send something back if it is not what they want.

Of course, there’s little escaping digital platforms and the benefits that they can have. We’ve seen that couples do use these platforms in their wedding planning process. But, when it comes to the purchase, customers like to try before they buy.

What Does This Mean for Industry Players?

Within the wedding industry, there are a range of suppliers and retailers. The effect of the Digital Age has different effects on each company — but what are they?

Bridalwear Shops

As we discovered, more brides than ever before are searching online for their wedding gowns. But, it’s likely that this will be for inspiration. Currently, brides can enjoy a full experience in a bridalwear store. They can book their own appointment to ensure that the attention is only on them. Here, they can try on a range of dresses, often drink complimentary prosecco and decide on their perfect gown. This experience is simply not possible online. Instead, brides have posted their horror stories online of the dress that they received after ordering online as it looked nothing like the photos.

Retailers

Brides and grooms-to-be encounter many retailers throughout their wedding planning process. From purchasing invitations to deciding on the perfect cake they have many choices to make. It’s likely that word-of-mouth plays a huge part in choosing the right retailer. So, as a wedding retailer, make sure that you have a review section on your website to make sure that everyone can leave comments of their experiences. As we’ve said, create an ideal combination between digital and physical — offering free samples or an incentive to visit to those who are interested is a good way to do this.

Designers

For designers to ensure that they capture their digital market — social media activity is important. Having an Instagram and Pinterest page that brides can discover and follow is key. In addition, ensure that the retailers that are showcasing your designs offer brides a tailored experience — making them feel truly special in your designs.It seems that this industry is not ready to replace traditional buying methods just yet. Perhaps it’s more important that players in this industry become digitalised to gain more exposure and extend their customer reach.

Thinking about working on your website? Caroline Bradley from digital content agency Sorella + Co explains how you can easily improve your online presence.

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