Myrna Plaisir Daramy is the advisor who shops across the US listen to. We asked her for her five key tips on what every bride expects to see today on a retailer’s website
In today’s modern world, it’s almost impossible to run a successful business without having a website. Over the past 12 years of working in the bridal industry, I have partnered with over 150 salons and assisted them with the development of their online presence.
It’s amazing to see how much things have changed since 2007 and how the needs of consumers have shifted. Today’s tech-savvy bride has totally embraced #allthingstech to the point that technology has become a major factor in how she makes decisions throughout her wedding planning process. In fact, in 2018, 83% of planning was done online.
Finding THE perfect dress used to be a mystical journey where bridal salon owners were the gatekeepers to all the essential information needed to make a purchase. But today, brides are provided with information overload along with too many resources at just the tap of a finger when it comes to the wedding planning process as well as bridal gown shopping.
There is no surprise that today’s tech-savvy brides do their online research way before they decide to make an appointment with a bridal salon. They have already browsed through dozens of websites with wedding dress images as well as educated themselves about shopping tips and the buying process.
By the time they enter your store, they have already spent countless hours comparison shopping. As a result, the relationship between you and your prospective brides begins well before they enter your store. It starts online.
Although each store has been unique in their messaging and aesthetic, and technology has drastically evolved over the years, I’ve been able to determine five major elements essential in converting prospective brides into customers.
Brides expect the following from your website:
1. A seamless mobile experience
According to the XO Group, more than 90% of couples use smartphones for wedding planning activities and the most popular smartphone wedding planning activity is browsing wedding to see the latest in gowns.
What does that mean for bridal salons? It means that your website not only has to be mobile-friendly and provide website visitors with an amazing user experience, but it also needs to be easy to place a call to your shop, schedule an appointment (if applicable), and get directions
with one tap.
Brides want to be able to access your information easily, so by ensuring that your website is mobile-responsive, you can feel confident that you are not losing potential customers due to a bad user experience.
Not sure if your website is mobile-friendly? Take this free mobile-friendly test at search.google.com/test/mobile-
2 Beautiful imagery of your store
Brides want to see images of your beautiful salon and the actual
gowns you have displayed. Chances are, they have already seen the designer stock images from browsing through other wedding websites and social media by the time they are searching for where to go in order to purchase a gown.
Visual imagery that displays your showroom, fitting areas, and special moments in your store will allow prospective customers to get a feel for what’s in store when they visit. After all, your main objective is to sell the experience brides will have when they purchase from you.
3. The designer collections that you carry in your store
Back in the day when information was limited, it made perfect sense for bridal salons to have extensive galleries of designer gowns carried in their collections to give brides a place to peruse, right? But now that the web is saturated with wedding-dress photography, and media outlets with social media provide brides with the most up-to-date images as soon as they hit the runway, there really isn’t as much a need for your website to consist of hundreds of stock images from the designers you carry; just having a logo from each followed by a couple of images will do the trick.
Unless you have designated staff who can update these images on a regular basis as soon as new season collection images are available, this could be a gruelling task, which may take up a lot of energy without warranting any results. (Take it from me who used to update over 20 salons’ image galleries every bridal market season!)
Millennials and Generation Z brides are very connected to brands, so placing logos on your website to showcase who you carry is a great way to provide this valuable information without too much effort on your part.
4. What to expect when they come in
There has been a major shift in the way bridal salons promote their businesses; ten years ago, they used to rely heavily on their designer partners to support them through editorial, ads, and trunk show promotions. Because information was limited and resources were scarce, brides didn’t know what to expect and seemed to learn as they went through the process.
Fast forward ten years, and brides are equipped with all the details regarding how gown shopping works and they are overwhelmed by the over-saturation of bridal salons and resources. Technology has levelled the playing field and made it so that bridal salons now have to use creative tactics to differentiate themselves from their competitors.
As a result, you need to relay the type of experience they will have when they book an appointment with you. I often advise my clients to include a FAQ (frequently asked questions) page on their websites, which accomplishes three major objectives: firstly, a quick reference for brides to learn more about your salon; secondly, a way to leverage search engine optimisation (SEO); thirdly, I also suggest that salons include information about the team – you and your staff – on their websites as this gives prospective brides an idea of who they may be working with during their appointments.
5. The next steps
The purpose of your website is to convert prospective customers into actual customers. So providing them with clear CTAs (Calls to Action) and easy-to-follow steps that inform them of what they need to do in order to come to your store is key.
If your salon works by appointments, including an appointment request form or allowing for them to make their own appointments will streamline the process and move them along your sales cycle. Including information about what is expected of them during their appointment is also helpful. Whether you use an automated scheduling system or you have an appointment request form for them to fill out, or you want them to call your salon so that you can screen them, you need to provide that direction clearly.
The way brides plan their weddings, including shopping for gowns, has changed drastically over the years. Understanding what today’s brides expect is essential to success.
I hope these points have been helpful and that you’re excited to get started implementing these updates. I sincerely believe you’ll see results in no time at all! Good luck…