By Paul Pannone
eWedNewz continues our investigation into why the average price of a wedding dress that hovers around the $1, 400 dollar mark is seldom represented in advertising, much less featured on the cover of bridal magazines. Discussions surrounding the idea have continued through the worst economic recession since the 1930′s depression but has made little impact on how advertising for bridal gowns work.
According to a recent bash in the Wedding Water Cooler the average consumer reading most bridal magazines are exposed to high-price products that are often not made or not available in their local market; leading to confusion and frustration. Some WWC members propose the glitz of using high-priced gowns is to garner the emotional side of the bride and help advertisers up-sell them at the store.
Sarah Seven is the designer featured on the Brides November cover. The cost of the gown is $4,900. But with nearly half a million Likes on Face Book, someone is noticing the product.
According to sources the bride who researches her buying decision eventually finds out the average national price of a gown (around $1,400 depending on the area) but probably won’t find what she’s looking for in the price range. Especially if she buys into what some of magazines are showing.
The sizzle is most-often greater than the steak itself, say WWC members who’ve lived through the best of times and now suffer through the worst. But like property taxes that rise along with house values– but never revert when values fall– advertising placate to the advertiser at the expense of the consumer.
Insider magazine sources told eWedNewz, “We make our money from the advertisers and give them the vehicle to feature the goods they wish to present. They buy the space and, within reason, get to show whatever they want to.”
In the Water Cooler members who make their living with wedding dresses analyzed a recent competitor’s magazine and gave their opinion of how it works.
“Because there is no advertising consideration attached to editorial resource selection, it follows that all of the designers and gowns featured are the very best that Brides could identify. Following is a list of bridal gowns editorialized in the November 2012 issue (BRIDES magazine):
Aster & Ivy/No price indicated
Oscar de la Renta/No price indicated
Angelo (Cinderella Promotion)/$1,599
David’s (Oleg Cassini)/$1,450
It’s pointless to make statements about the specific styles selected. However, it’s interesting to note that the only gowns by Angelo, David’s, and Kirstie Kelly are priced to appeal to the average Brides readers. The selection of these three resources completely undermines sales at the vast majority of independent bridal retailers. The Angelo gown is available predominantly through Angelo’s own retail stores. David’s gowns are available exclusively at David’s. Kirstie Kelly gowns are available predominantly through Costco,” said one WWC source
Other members of the Cooler, including major advertisers, agree with the statements and added to the discussion. Many advertisers say they’ve shifted from costly print ads, pouring most of their resources into websites and now Social Media.
“I have invested thousands of dollars advertising online for National Publications. Creating awareness, yes; bringing Brides to your door and shop, no. The “tradeoff ” is very expensive and you never get the return back from your investment. ”
Montante recently announced she was retiring from her business to spend more time with family and friends to do the things she was not able while running her business. In hindsight Montante looks back and says;
“If I would have known this years ago, I would have invested all this money into my own website and give it all to create my own awareness. This I believe would have worked building business better relationships with clients locally and globally directly with your own entity instead of going through a 3rd.party. What it boils down to is Brides will shop when they are ready and often not locally which kills and destroys Small Independent Bridal Salons. We are dealing with the entitlement generation which is sad.”
In covering the bridal market in Chicago this month we continue to notice the overage of supply in (white) wedding dresses that all blend into each other. Retail price points around the national average flood the market and compete with similar styles featured on knock off websites for a fraction of the price. The disruptive practices are at the heart of why major retailers like David’s Bridal abandon the shrinking market and competitive business.
Discussions with brides that would not be quoted say they shop for appealing gown styles they like. Most spend time researching the price of similar styles online. According to brides we spoke with some prefer to see and try their gown on in a retail store looking for a full service establishment and friendly faces. Most told eWedNewz they’ve heard of the horror stories involving online sales.
eWedNewz welcomes your thoughts as we continue our investigation into the warped way the bridal dress business operates. Please comment below or email us at Paul@ewednewz.com
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