Our wedding is one of the most memorable and joyous days of our lives — but it’s also typically one of the most stressful to plan. With the explosion of online shopping, social media and virtual tours; are the days of going to suit fittings, tasting sessions and high-street wedding dress shops being replaced by online wedding planning?
Angelic Diamonds, jewellery expert and supplier of bespoke wedding rings and tension set engagement rings, has researched the influence of digitalisation and how it’s affected the way we plan weddings today.
How popular is the digital wedding shopping world?
If you need it, you can probably get it online. Companies that don’t embrace the Internet are missing out on hundreds, thousands and even millions of potential customers. Similarly, the consumers that don’t browse online are limiting themselves of the range of goods and services available to them. So, is it inevitable that the wedding industry will become completely digital and how far is it already?
Around 60% of brides surveyed are preparing for their weddings via handheld devices, like smartphones and tablets, according to The Huffington Post. But why? This research shows that 61% of them are searching for the perfect gown (up from 27% in 2011) and 57% are looking up wedding vendors (up from 22% in 2011).
What about social media?
We don’t need research and reports to tell us that the web is packed with wedding shops and services we can buy and book with a click. But, how about that part of the digital domain that has taken over the way the world communicates?
Social media has many uses, but one it is particularly valuable for is as a font of inspiration and creativity. Pinterest, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media sites offer brides and grooms so many ideas for their big day, showing them other couple’s weddings and letting them mix and match concepts to suit them. Reportedly, 42% of people use social media to plan their wedding – with 41% of brides following photographers, 37% of brides following venues and 14% following florists.
The world of social media not only benefits the bride and groom, but it is also a powerful marketing tools. Apps provide a platform for wedding planners, venues, florists, and other wedding suppliers to showcase their products and services. Instagram and Pinterest, which is used by 64% of brides, have now become a couple’s digital alternative to a wedding fair. Those wedding businesses who have no or little social media presence are almost certainly falling under the radar of cash, customers and free advertising.
With social media, it never seems to end. And for brides and grooms, its contribution doesn’t end at “I do”. When asked, almost a third of today’s couples said they would create a hashtag for their special day and share it with guests to use when uploading snaps.
Online shopping and today’s soon-to-be couple
It’s not news that online shopping has transformed how we spend our money. If it’s easier, quicker and you can do it from home, it makes sense. But, if you’re planning your big day, wouldn’t you want to be more hands on with your preparations? Apparently not. Over the past year, 87% of UK customers bought at least one product online – with sales increasing more than a fifth in 2016. Reportedly, this figure is set to increase by a further 30% by the end of this year, which indicates a massive shift to online wedding shopping.
Can the wedding industry thrive offline?
Of course, it’s usually easier to browse and buy online. But does that mean the art of wedding planning is going be completely digitalised? It’s doubtful. Shopping for a wedding is such a physical process that it’s bizarre to imagine couple not at least trying on their outfits and checking out the venue in person.
While we have emails and video calls, it’s hard to think that these will surpass the face-to-face communication many unsure customers need that they get from wedding fairs and speaking to planning professionals. It may be that couples today will use social media more and more for inspiration, but that the wedding fair, bridal shop and tailors will be the venues that they discuss their options and make their final decisions.
Although all wedding suppliers, stores and other professionals should make the most of the online platform available to them, perhaps the wedding industry should hold back from eliminating traditional methods of wedding planning completely.