According to data from eBay, searches for ‘wedding presents’ are set to sky rocket this month, as many guests turn to online retailers to help them find the perfect gift.

With a 33% surge this time last year compared to the two months previously, the summer is clearly a time for love and last minute gift shopping.

But while wedding presents are again predicted to be in demand, eBay has also found an increase in online searches for everything wedding related.

From lingerie and bridesmaid dresses, to engagement rings and usher attire – it seems more and more shoppers are shunning traditional in-store or bespoke wedding services for an online experience.

For consumers, the hassle of having to return an item is always off-putting, yet with cheaper prices and greater convenience trumping this risk, many fashion brands are cottoning on to the opportunity.

Here’s a quick look at how some ecommerce companies are cleverly targeting this lucrative market. 

Ted Baker’s Tie the Knot

A brand that specialises in pretty dresses and smart shirts, Ted Baker has always been a great shopping destination for guests. However, having launched its new ‘Tie the Knot’ collection, the retailer is now setting its sights on the bride and groom.

The clever thing about the 'Tie the Knot' campaign is that it attempts to prevent shoppers from abandoning baskets at the site checkout – (something that is an increasing concern for online retailers.)

Recognising the pitfalls of buying wedding attire online, Ted Baker uses a complimentary in-store offer for all customers – but especially geared towards those who might be unsure about buying. 

With the promise of group discounts and special treats, this bridal collection consequently provides the consumer with more incentive than most brand sites.

Similarly, by creating its own hashtag #wedwithted, it also utilises social media to build on the excitement that surrounds the wedding experience, simultaneously creating hype and brand awareness.

Needle & Thread Bridalwear

Despite only launching in 2013, fashion brand Needle & Thread has rapidly grown a favourable reputation.

The fact that ASOS sells its clothes has certainly contributed to this growth, yet with its new bridal range, it is also starting to gain momentum as an online retailer in its own right.

With its signature embellishment, the range of wedding dresses has proved incredibly popular already – and this seems largely due to its reasonable pricing.

Although an average dress by Needle & Thread might be too expensive for some, by charging similar prices for its wedding dresses (an item that many women are willing to pay more for) – it offers real accessibility to a wide audience. 

With most brands inflating prices for special or occasional clothing ranges, this example just goes to show the power of providing great value. 

Despite weddings being a traditionally expensive affair, with the average cost of a UK wedding being around £20,000, brands like Needle & Thread are using customer insight to recognise that a cheaper price point is likely to prove more successful in the long run.

House of Fraser's Wedding Boutique

In the battle of the big department stores (including John Lewis and Debenhams), House of Fraser comes out on top with its customer-centric approach.

As well as decent range of products, its ‘Wedding Woes’ feature elevates it to something with a little more substance than your average high street campaign.

The ‘See them Get Hitched’ page is an editorial style feature that highlights common issues for three types of wedding guests – and conveniently, offers them the ‘style solutions’ they need to get through the day looking great. 

An example of how a large online retailer can successfully use storytelling - House of Fraser realises that weddings are an experience that does not start and stop with just the one purchase.

By telling a story it is able to upsell, enticing the customer to look at products they might not have initially been intending to buy.

With its magazine style layout and relatable tone, it provides interesting and engaging content, which in turn, is also likely to make the customer invest in the brand as a whole. 

Mr Porter

Shopping for a wedding suit usually means a trip to a tailor, however, Mr Porter recognises that not all modern weddings are quite so traditional. 

By breaking down its wedding collection into three distinct categories – City, Country, and Beach – it offers a surprising amount of variety. And for men, this is a huge selling point.

Although the selection of clothing is not the biggest, Mr Porter also has separate categories for wedding gifts and wedding accessories respectively – integrating its collection into the website instead of having a separate, dedicated section.

This shows how online retailers do not necessarily need to hype up wedding ranges or even create bespoke collections. 

It demonstrates that – despite the rise in wedding-related searches during this time of year - weddings don’t just have to be part of a summer-time campaign, but rather, a category that customers are increasingly shopping for all-year round.

Nikki Gilliland

Published 6 June, 2016 by Nikki Gilliland @ Econsultancy

Nikki is a Writer at Econsultancy. You can follow her on Twitter or connect via LinkedIn.

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