How is the wedding industry operating in the digital age?

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As we are all too familiar with, we are living in a digitalized world – where most things such as banking and shopping can be done online. However, amongst this, the wedding industry has maintained a strong offline presence — 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?

When it comes to purchasing online, a recent report revealed that 87% of UK customers had bought at least one item over the internet in the past twelve months. From the year 2016, digital sales have increased by 21.3% and are forecast to increase by 30% by the end of 2017. But does this mean that wedding vendors will have to make the transformation online too? Retailers of seven stone rings, Angelic Diamonds, investigate further.

How does the future look?

As an industry that relies heavily on offline processes, the future for the wedding industry could be interesting.
The industry has already experienced some changes due to the digital age. For example, with the introduction of social media apps such as Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram brides and grooms can search for inspiration for their big day from the comfort of their homes. 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.
Not only a hub for inspiration, the internet is helping brides search for their perfect dress and suppliers too. The Huffington Post reported that 61% of brides search for gowns through their mobile (up from 27% in 2011) and 57% search for wedding vendors in the same way (this figure was 22% in 2011).

Wedding businesses and suppliers are benefitting from the digital age too. The apps provide a platform for wedding planners, venues, florists, and other wedding suppliers to showcase what they have to offer. 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 at the planning process of the wedding either – 27% of modern couples suggested that they would create a hashtag for their big day.

What should wedding vendors do?

As people are becoming more accustomed to searching and shopping online, it is likely that wedding vendors will have to take a plunge into the digital world if they haven’t already. However, it is clear that their offline presence will still be required too.

If a wedding supplier did become fully digitalized, it is likely that they might struggle. Couples like to see and experience what they are purchasing for their once in a lifetime event. 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.

Ways that wedding vendors can get the best of both world is to advertise their products offline but also allow customers to experience the product before final purchase. 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. 

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