Bridal Buying In 2019: What Brands and Boutiques Need to Know

Bridal buying in 2019: What brands need to know
 

Last year I wrote a blog post discussing the way digital was changing bridal shopping and how brands could adjust and stay competitive in this increasingly digital world (read the blog post here). Today, that post is just as relevant and, as you’ll see from the bridal stats below, social media is playing the most important role, making it even more crucial both for bridal brands and boutiques to be where brides go to find information and inspiration in a consistent and helpful way.

Here are the latest bridal shopping stats from the BRIDES American Wedding Study 2018

  • The use of social media is on the rise for brides-to-be planning their wedding - 94 percent incorporate technology into their wedding day

  • 82 percent of brides use social media to find inspiration - and very tellingly, more than they are going to wedding-specific blogs and magazines, according to the study

  • Pinterest continues to be the first social platform brides go to for wedding inspiration, with 87 percent of respondents saying they use it as a source for creative wedding ideas (read our blog post on why you need a Pinterest strategy here)

  • Instagram comes second for brides looking for wedding content (it should be noted that Instagram is where brides go to connect with their preferred brands)

  • In 2018, 98 percent of brides conducted research on potential wedding vendors on social media, 83 percent (up from 63 percent the previous year) say they visited vendors’ social media accounts before deciding to hire them

  • Bridal salons continue to be at the top of the vendor list for brides-to-be with 66 percent buying their gown from a bridal salon

  • Brides also spent considerably more on their wedding gown in 2018

  • Brides are increasingly breaking with tradition and opting for more personalized wedding ideas, and this includes their wedding attire

Given these wedding trends, it’s clear digital, and more specifically social media, is where the future lies for bridal marketing. Buying habits have dramatically changed and social has forever transformed the way brides find vendors, connect with them, and shop them. Furthermore, social has given brides instant access to looks and recommendations of friends and influencers from around the world, making it increasingly important for brands and boutiques to cultivate an online presence that appeals to their target bride. On that note, I’ve put together an easily digestible list of suggestions leading marketers from around the world are recommending so that you can compete under these conditions.

1.Be where your bride is looking for inspiration. We know she’s on Pinterest as well as Instagram - you’ll want to be there, too, ready to assist, inform, and to inspire her.

2.Be useful. Know your customer, understand her needs, and respond accordingly on social media and on your website. That means you’ll want to stay relevant, know the trends your bride might be interested in and inspired by, and provide them with information every step of the process.

3.Be Quick. Leading marketers agree brands and boutiques must deliver experiences, on and offline, that are fast and frictionless. Online, think about updating and optimizing your website for mobile, providing relevant information about your brand, and if you’re a boutique, provide up-to-date information about all of the brands you carry. Also, invest in automation where you can. Other industries are investing in Chatbots, for example, as a way to answer customer questions 24 hours a day.

Buying habits have dramatically changed and social has forever transformed the way brides find vendors, connect with them, and shop them

With all this in mind, it’s extremely important brands and boutiques have a deep understanding of their bride: What is her budget? Where does she shop? What is her socioeconomic status? Does she care about social issues and how her wedding gown is sourced? Is she adventurous and does she travel? These are just a few things to keep in mind when you’re creating online content to market to your bride.

Digital has created a very tech and brand savvy bride who knows she has many options. This bride expects efficiency, transparency and, very importantly, personalization. What brands and stores are dealing with here is an opportunity, but also a risk. An opportunity to create an impeccable digital reputation and get new business thanks to word of mouth marketing online, and a risk because failing to meet these brides’ expectations can negatively affect your reputation and therefore your business. The best thing brands can do is to strive to be helpful, transparent, know your bride, and continue to find ways to improve your customer service, on and offline.