In the midst of social media and online shopping, the wedding industry remains to stand on its own two feet without becoming too digitalised. But for how long can it last? As we know, the wedding industry has traditionally been quite a digital process – with brides needing to try on their wedding gowns before they buy, grooms having several suit fittings, and of course, the opportunity to have a tasting session at your venue for your wedding breakfast. But with new technologies constantly emerging, is it time for the wedding industry to make a transition into the digital world?
Online sales have been increasing for many years now and are continuing to do so – in the last twelve months it was reported that approximately 87% of UK consumers have bought at least one product online. Digital sales have also increased by 21.3% from the year 2016 and forecast to increase by 30% by the end of the year. So, what does this mean for businesses in the wedding industry? Angelic Diamonds, retailers of trilogy engagement rings, discuss further.
A digital future
With many companies reaping the benefits of taking their business online, should the wedding industry be following suit to stay successful?
Without a large online retail presence, digitalisation already seems to be having an influence on the wedding industry. With social media 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.
Shopping habits have changed from a few years ago too – when many people would browse the internet through a laptop or PC. Now however, The Huffington Post reported that around 6 out of 10 brides are planning their weddings through their mobiles. It was found that they research gowns (61% of brides, up from 27% in 2011) and search for wedding vendors (57% of brides, up from 22% in 2011).
Couples are gathering their wedding inspiration through social media platforms too – allowing wedding suppliers to gain some free exposure. 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 advertising.
Aside from planning, social media is playing a part in the big day too – 27% of modern couples said that they would create a hashtag for their special day.
Surviving without the internet
Due to the physical nature of the shopping process in the wedding industry, it is looking promising that wedding oriented businesses will be able to survive. 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 they chose to operate predominantly online due to the need for experience before purchase for many couples. 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.
For many businesses, there is no escaping the digital world but it appears that wedding suppliers have the choice to stay predominantly offline if they wish. It is evident that social media and the internet is being used for inspiration more than purchase in this industry. 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.
*This is a collaborative post.