These winter days may be cold but looking forward to those upcoming those spring weddings can warm not just your entrepreneurial heart but your bottom line. The reason: Helping couples achieve their perfect day is a great business.
In fact, in 2016 the U.S. wedding industry achieved $72 billion in revenues, according to a report by IBIS World. The average wedding costs $32,329, according to The Knot. Other positives include the strong economy and higher discretationary incomes. But, there are dark spots there as well: Due to the demand for newer, trending wedding services, traditional providers are struggling to keep up with millennials’ evolving expectations.
Last July, for example, high-end bridal dress company Alfred Angelo filed for bankruptcy, and traditional jewelry stores such as Jared, Kay and Zales are experiencing lower sales volumes on engagement and wedding rings.
Why the traditional wedding industry isn’t what millennials want.
Traditional wedding service providers, wedding planners, dresses and jewelry, draw from a local market, use brick and mortar sales outlets and have limited online options. Stores with a national reach may try to set the trends but are slow to respond to them. Often, they have a limited online presence and are not proficient at using social media for marketing engagement.
Such limitations mean that these long-established businesses aren’t capturing the millennial market. According to the 2018 Newlywed Report by Wedding Wire, the very way in which people shop for wedding vendors has changed, and successful entrepreneurs should be sure to capitalize on this information. Among the key data points in the report:
- 83 percent of couples plan their wedding online rather than with a wedding planner.
- The top three sources millennials use to search for vendors are wedding-related websites, online searches and Pinterest.
- Couples utilize Pinterest two times more than any other social media platform when planning their wedding.
- Millennials are personalizing their weddings more than prior generations did, in terms of attire, music and food. They follow key trends and want suppliers who can deliver.
Today’s couples are also no longer limited by geography when they select their clothing, jewelry, flowers, favors and cake. Even wedding registries are now online, making it easier for couples to create and monitor them and for guests to select the best gift.
The good news here is that opportunities still abound for entrepreneurs to deliver what millennials want as they plan for their big day. And while there are already some go-getters disrupting the industry, there is always room for more, especially in the following categories:
The perfect dress and more. Millennials often prefer to shop for clothes online rather than buy in-store, and this trend has extended to wedding dresses. Purchasing a dress online offers more choices and is usually much less expensive.
Azazie is a great example of an online wedding store that caters to millennials. It offers a wide range of wedding dress styles but goes even further by including bridesmaids and mother of the bride dresses and groomsmen accessories, thus enabling the entire wedding party to be coordinated. This site allows couples to plan their wedding attire in one place, which saves time and money. The site further offers fabric swatches and convenient returns.
Entrepreneurs considering whether to get into this segment should focus on being responsive to trends and having great customer service.
Wedding planning. More couples are using online wedding planning tools than ever. There are many free and inexpensive online wedding apps and sites that can do more than just manage couples’ budgets and schedules. The wedding planning site Wedding Wire, for instance, has traditional planning tools but also resources for venues, vendors and dresses. It also helps couples manage their registries and social media messaging, as well create a wedding website.
Still, while these sites can be a great starting point, they lack the personal touch. Wedding Wire, for example, lists a “wedding planner” vendor group. Accordingly, opportunities exist for entrepreneurs to directly link live wedding planners with their apps and sites to take this process to the next level.
Wedding registries. Millennials’ wedding registries share the same core of household goods with the older generation, but then they like to mix things up. It is now the trend to have a registry at more than one store so that guests can select from a variety of price points and the happy couple can get their REI hiking boots, Amazon selections and sheets from Bed Bath and Beyond as well as their silver settings.
The Knot is a website that has all of the usual wedding planning and tools as well as a tool specifically designed to manage multi-store registries. With this platform, guests can purchase gifts online but also gift cash to the couple directly or contribute to a travel destination. This flexibility is exactly the kind of service that millennials seek out when planning their wedding.
For entrepreneurs, this is a process that can always use a new spin or be updated to capture the latest. There is also the opportunity to get their own business listed with the registry websites or help other businesses do so.
Weddings may be based on a tale as old as time but the traditional wedding industry is failing the critical millennial market segment. It’s time for entrepreneurs to step up to the altar and pay attention to the trends out there as they tie the wedding-business knot.
Article originally posted by entrepreneur.