Bridal Buying in the Digital Era: What Brands Need to Know
A few statistics concerning bridal:
Wedding planning activities using a smartphone have increased from 89 percent in 2015 to 92 percent in 2017. The number one wedding planning activity? Browsing wedding gowns—a sizeable 65 percent. (XO Group)
72 percent of brides find wedding inspiration on Pinterest (even using the platform as a tool to plan their wedding), and 33 percent connect with their favorite brands on Instagram. Overall, 70 percent of brides-to-be use social media to find wedding inspiration and their wedding style. (Brides)
So what can bridal brands learn from this? A few things.
1. There is an increasing need for brands to step up their game when it comes to customer experience. If you haven’t noticed yet, customers don’t just want, they expect a flawless buying experience from their chosen brands, and this experience begins online.
2. The digital age is the age of data. What this means for your brand is that, if you're not already doing so, you start making use of analytics systems to capture emerging trends and make informed decisions about your product, service, and your online presence. Small brands can use Google Analytics (a completely free system) to start learning about website visitors’ behaviors and preferences (among many other things) in order to make ongoing changes to your site—all with the goal of improving customer experience.
3. The traditional linear customer journey is virtually dead and context is key. Data helps create context so you can guide your bride-to-be or bridal retailer through the buying process, providing tailored information that matches their journey every step of the way.
Essentially, bridal brands need to know who’s engaging with them online, through which channels, and at what particular point of the buying journey: Are you communicating with a bride-to-be or a bridal retailer? Is this the buyer's first communication with your brand or a continuation of a previous website visit or social media interaction? This is about personalizing your customer’s journey and, coincidentally, it’s the kind of stuff that makes a brand seem more authentic.
Digital is no longer just a communication channel - it is an integral part of the customer experience. Your website is an extension of your bridal design studio; Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram windows through which buyers can peek and interact with your brand. And all this is an opportunity for brands to enhance customer experience.
If you haven’t given careful thought to how digital is, and will continue, affecting your brand, consider implementing these changes soon:
• Expand the way you think. Your digital presence efforts should encompass brand management, customer engagement, customer experience, retailer partnerships, appealing aesthetic, and an excellent product.
• Prepare for continual change. Take advantage of opportunities, like creating digital communities of loyal fans and allowing them to co-create content. But be sure you’re also assessing risks that come with new uses of digital communications.
• Evolve your organization. In bridal, this entails a shift from the old mindset that a sales team is all you need. There is no sales (at least not the kind of sales most bridal labels want) without a marketing plan in place. And there is no effective marketing strategy without digital in the mix.
• Leverage the power of data. Ensure you’re using data properly to discover visitor trends and opportunities for improvement, both on your website and social media platforms.
Digital disruption in bridal is a reality. Those brands that fully embrace and leverage it are the ones that will thrive in this increasingly competitive market. Make sure you’re working to craft an exceptional buyer experience for brides-to-be as well as for bridal boutique owners. It all starts online—make it count.
For a free audit of your digital brand presence, book a phone consultation with us.