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Wednesday, 25 October 2017

Online vs Offline - What’s Best For The Wedding Industry?

Online vs offline: What’s best for the wedding industry?

As new digital platforms emerge and customers spend increasing amounts of time shopping and searching for products online – traditionally physical industries question their next move. One of these industries is the wedding industry – organising a wedding has traditionally always been quite a physical process, 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?
A recent report revealed that over the past year, 87% of UK consumers have bought at least one product online. Digital sales have increased 21.3% in the year 2016 and are forecast to rise another 30% by the end of 2017. The question remains, what does this mean for wedding suppliers? Here, Angelic Diamonds, retailer of unique solitaire engagement rings and bespoke wedding rings, discuss whether it’s time for the industry to plunge into the digital world in order to survive.  

Going digital

Under the digital pressures, many high-street stores have failed as they didn’t make the transition to online. Will the wedding industry have to become more digitalised to stay successful?
Already, the digital world has made its mark 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.
One report from the The Huffington Post revealed that around 6 out of 10 brides are actively planning their weddings through their mobile device: they research gowns (61% of brides, up from 27% in 2011) and search for wedding vendors (57% of brides, up from 22% in 2011).
Modern couples are turning to social media for wedding inspiration than traditional wedding magazines and brochures. 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.
The use of social media doesn’t stop in the planning stages either – when asked, over a quarter of today’s modern couples (27%) said they would create a hashtag for their special day.

Should the wedding industry make the digital transition?

Luckily for wedding vendors, due to the nature of the industry, it is likely that they could survive without becoming fully digitalised. 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.
As many couples are aware, the planning process of a wedding involves a lot of seeing and experiencing the items in person. In fact, the industry might struggle to operate solely online, because of the need for physical processes. 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.
Of course, it’s hard for any business to escape the rise of digital. It is likely that the industry will embrace digital platforms – and couples will use these platforms as a source of inspiration and to help ease the planning process. However, the industry is 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.  



1 comment

  1. What an interesting post. I think a bit of both is really helpful. When I got married, I still went to actual retail stores and wedding shows....but did a lot of research online as well. So a nice balance is ideal!


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