In the last twelve months, approximately 87% of UK consumers have bought at least one product online – with online sales increasing 21.3% in the year 2016, and forecast to increase by 30% by the end of 2017. The question remains, what does this mean for wedding suppliers?
Our lives are gradually becoming more reliant on the digital world – but 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?
Luckily for the wedding industry, there could be light at the end of the tunnel that suggests the industry can survive offline in the future.
When couples organise their wedding, you’ll be aware of how much they need to see, and experience, in person – from venues and food tasting to the wedding dress and suit fittings, 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.
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.
What does the future look like?
Digital has already had a huge 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.
According to , 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).
Typically, modern couples use social media for wedding inspiration – the social media 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.
And it’s not just the planning of the wedding that social media is a part of – when asked, over a quarter of today’s modern couples (27%) said they would create a hashtag for their special day.
Nowadays, and in the future, there is no escaping the fact that the industry will embrace digital platforms – and couples will use these platforms as a source of inspiration and 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.