By Paul Pannone
An ongoing eWedNewz investigation into the changes taking place in the stream of distribution shows a divide between dress manufacturers eyeing direct to consumer sales and retailers they would compete with. eWedNewz reported store openings from several dress makers at the end of 2011 that thought they could quietly get away with the move. But eWedNewz coverage of the story and response from the wedding business clearly shows manufacturers that want to stay viable do not compete with the stores they sell to.
An ongoing eWedNewz Poll now shows 87% of respondents do not want to see manufacturers selling direct to consumers.
In 2012 the story moved from brick and mortar stores to online sales where manufacturers suspected of backing websites that sell direct to consumers is being investigated. During the coverage sources gave eWedNewz a reminder of how the now ex-president of the IBMA– an organization thought to protect the wedding dress business– sells direct to consumers online.
Retailers following the story say they weigh all the pros and cons of buying products from a supplier that also sells direct to consumers. Spring Lake Bridals & Tuxedos gave this report:
I was quite offended when Alfred Angelo opened a new store 20 miles from ours. however, business w/ that brand is up 20% since they opened. could be just nicer stuff this year? could be local Brand Awareness. it’s a double-edged sword. My price is about 20% less than their “full retail” they get everyday, yet I still have had brides go there and buy there after coming to my store where they coul save $300 – $500 on bridals by buying here. then them come back for maids. I know I lose sales to them. But I also am aware of sales I’ve got because of them. I’d still prefer to take my chances without them.
As for Dessy. they offered me free maids samples and as long as I continued 3000 in reorders every six months I’d continue getting free samples. I still didn’t buy them. they’re everywhere locally (no protected territory) & the quality just wasn’t there. A big difference in quality from the Alfred Sung bridals to the maids. W/ Dessy its all about flooding the market.
The Wedding dress business faces serious challenges from both external and internal sources. Increasing competition, less demand for formal gowns, coupled with rising costs of operation is an unsustainable mix for both retailers and manufacturers.
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