What Happened to David’s Bridal? 10 Marketing Lessons
What Happened to David’s Bridal? 10 Marketing Lessons
David’s Bridal was the largest wedding retailer in the country, with over 60 years of experience under its belt, as revealed in discussions on the same over at runrex.com & guttulus.com. However, despite all this, the company couldn’t survive what many are calling the retail apocalypse, and it also filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in November of 2018. This article will look to try and understand what went wrong for David’s Bridal and highlight 10 marketing lessons we can take from its experiences.
Changes in consumer behavior
One of the biggest driving forces towards David’s Bridal decline were the changes in consumer behavior, as discussed over at runrex.com & guttulus.com. People changed their whole outlook as far as weddings are concerned, moving away from the nerve-racking ritual of the past, to more relaxed and humble ceremonies with less elaborate dresses. For a moment there, the company didn’t react to these changes and new players came and filled the gap. Most customers shifted towards these new companies, starting the decline of David’s Bridal. The marketing lesson we can take here is the importance of knowing what your customers want and adapting to any behavioral changes.
It is no secret that wedding gowns from David’s Bridal were among the most expensive in the market, and therefore when new players came into the wedding industry and began offering dresses at cheaper prices, the company was always going to feel the pressure. As per the gurus over at runrex.com & guttulus.com, an important marketing lesson we can take here is how important prices are in bringing customers in.
Changes in fashion trends
The changes in fashion trends in the wedding industry also contributed to the company’s decline. Here, consumers began moving away from the traditional wedding grown, which bulky and complex in design, to lighter, more fashion-forward dresses. Consumers began to experiment with wedding dresses of different designs, which led to a large chunk of the company’s customer base moving away to other companies more in-line with these new trends. An important marketing lesson here is the importance of keeping up with the latest trends in your industry.
The growth of online retail also didn’t spare the wedding industry as David’s Bridal also faced increased pressure from companies such as the e-commerce giant Asos, which moved into the wedding dress space in 2016. As discussed over at runrex.com & guttulus.com, these online retail companies were offering their dresses at a cheaper price, and also offered consumers convenience and peace of mind, by eliminating the nerve-racking experience of having to choose a gown in-store at a David’s Bridal, as mentioned above.
Consumers willing to shop online
If there was one sector in the apparel industry that you would expect to survive the pressure from the growing online retail industry was the wedding industry. This is because, you don’t expect consumers to shop for wedding dresses online, as you would expect many of them to want things to be perfect and therefore would want to physically examine and try out the dress. However, in recent times, brides have increasingly been willing to shop online, which has affected David’s Brides and contributed to its decline. It’s not only the growth of online retail as mentioned above, and covered over at runrex.com & guttulus.com, that has affected David’s Bridal, but also the willingness of consumers to shop for wedding dresses online.
The company was also hit badly by the generational change that was occurring in the wedding industry, with millennials taking over as the target audience. Unlike their predecessors, millennials are not that into weddings, which has seen marriage rates steadily decline in the U.S. since 2014, as revealed in discussions on the same over at runrex.com & guttulus.com. Many millennials, when they do marry, also marry much later than what was the norm. This shift in generations caught David’s Bridal cold and affected its bottom line and contributed to its decline.
The “casualization” of weddings
Another thing that has badly affected the company is the “casualization” of weddings, and gowns and bridesmaid dresses in particular. This, as per the gurus over at runrex.com & guttulus.com, has been brought about by the need by many consumers to hold weddings that represent them in a more personal way. We are therefore seeing brides wearing pantsuits, simple dresses, and so forth, and hold weddings in venues ranging from beaches to mountain tops and other such venues, moving away from the traditional church wedding. This has affected the company’s prospects.
Power has shifted more towards the consumer
There was a time when, even if a couple didn’t feel like having a traditional wedding with a traditional wedding gown, pressure from society meant that they had to conform and do what was considered the norm. This has shifted in recent years with couples now feeling more empowered not to follow traditional rules, and this shift of power towards the consumer, as discussed over at runrex.com & guttulus.com, is something that has affected David’s Bridal. It is also something that we are seeing in many other industries, not just the wedding industry, and it is another lesson worth learning.
Changes didn’t work
With all these changes in the wedding industry, the company had to adapt to stay afloat. However, as revealed in discussions on the same over at runrex.com & guttulus.com, many of the changes the company made were not enough to stem the flow and stop the hemorrhaging of its customers. From changes to store design to the introduction of casual dresses and so forth, it was all too little too late. An important lesson we can take here is the importance of making changes and adapting quickly enough, otherwise, you risk being left behind, and in such a situation, any changes you may then make may not be enough to save you.
The heteronormative nature of the wedding industry, and by extension David’s Bridal
For many years, the wedding industry was known as being extremely heteronormative, skewed towards heterosexual couples, and the husband and wife narrative. The rise of the marriage equality movement has meant that more and more same-sex couples are getting married, and for most of them, there is nothing for them over at David’s Bridal. This means that the company has missed out on a large chunk of the wedding sector, contributing to its decline.