What To Do.
According to womangettingmarried.com, November and December are by far the biggest months for engagement ring sales, representing approximately 22%. With men spending an average (according to the study) of 3.5 months searching for the right ring, your engagement ring customers are about to enter (if not already there) what we call the “bridal funnel”. The Knot does an Engagement Ring Trends & Insights Report every two years, the last being 2017. A new one should be coming out next year. I don’t suspect the findings will be dramatically different.
Research is great. Acting on the research is even better. Here are some findings and what you can do to be more successful in bridal:
Engagement ring spend is at an all-time high. This varies between what studies you might read, but according to The Knot, that number is $6,351 and considerably up from 2011. In addition, the average age of the bride is 29 and the groom is 31. Basically, your customer for bridal is older, may have been in their job for at least 5 years, and is potentially more sophisticated.
What does this mean for your marketing? If you’ve been buying traditional media as Adults 18-34 or 21-34, that number should change to 25-34. Consider marketing price points that are a little higher. Look at higher household income levels when purchasing media and crafting a more sophisticated message.
They’re spending more time researching but looking at fewer engagement rings. Apparently, the length of time searching for an engagement ring is 3.5 months (which is up from 3.3 months in 2011) and they looked at an average of 26 rings. Where are they searching? Online. Well before they’re walking into any brick and mortar location. Make sure you are investing in a great website and constantly working on your Search Engine Optimization. Plan on being a little more aggressive in your Paid Search efforts. Make sure your site is fast. There is nothing more frustrating than slow load times. Consider putting your site on a more dedicated server. Go Daddy is not always your friend. It’s great to have a large number of options and inventory, but, the user experience has changed. Shoppers don’t want to spend countless hours searching and browsing. Consider having a page that lists the top 10 engagement ring styles; the most popular cuts, etc. Or pages that show styles based on your taste. Love contemporary? Show the viewer 10-12 of your favorite “contemporary” styles. Help simplify the process.
She’s more involved than ever before. 70% of all women claim they have had something to do with the process. If you are simply targeting men, that’s a problem. If your message is more male-focused, that’s a problem. Read through your online and traditional marketing copy and creative approach. Is it geared to both sexes? Truth be told, she has always been the influencer. So, if you must lean one way or another (and you don’t), make it her. Make sure if a couple comes to your store, you are treating them as equals. In fact, center your attention on her. Also, make sure to include her in the follow-up process.
They want the proposal captured on film. 80% of all couples share their engagement on social media and 47% had a photographer or videographer capturing the event. That’s way up from 2011 and I suspect these numbers will be up, even more, when a new study comes out in 2019. Contact some photographers in your area and negotiate some sort of price. Offer it up as part of the sale – what a great benefit! It’s also a way for the photographer to get their foot in the door to a couple who will need their services for a wedding. Find someone who may be hungry for the business and is starting out. Hey, if you’re looking to set yourself apart (and who isn’t), why not consider this?
The cut, setting, and quality are important. There’s no question round diamonds are still the most important cut, but ovals are making a comeback. So, consider including this cut in some of your marketing messages. Show an oval stone alongside the round. What do you have to lose? We know this demo is looking for something unique and ovals might fit that bill. They’re also into custom design in a much bigger way. Custom in some way, shape, or form must be part of your bridal messaging. Know what is not on the top of the list? Designers. Consider this when you’re faced with a large buy-in or a designer dictating messaging.
And, here’s the greatest stat of all: Local independent jewelers are on the rise. Nearly half of all couples purchased from an independent retailer. And, that number is rising every year. Make sure your marketing is unique and transparent. This age group loves “the story”, so tell them yours! Consider not just marketing on your Facebook “wall”, but your brick and mortar walls. Have a gallery of engagement photos from real customers. Make them a part of the process if you’re going custom. Show them a live video of their ring being made. Suggest great places to get engaged in the area; provide tips and ideas. Provide special in-town exclusive offers from vendors like photographers, wedding venues, bakeries and the like.
Pay attention to qualified studies on the bridal market. Learn everything you need to know. More importantly, take a minute and develop ideas that address these research findings. And then sit back and watch your bridal business soar.