It’s not surprising that the Millennial bride has vastly different needs and wants from brides of previous generations. After all, when her forebears got married, social media didn’t exist.
Today’s brides and grooms reside in a social space, with data showing that in 2017 nearly 40 percent of couples shared the details of their engagements on social media within minutes to hours of it happening. Sixty-four percent of them created custom wedding hashtags and many provided them to guests for personal wedding web sites.
Now, much of the wedding gown shopping is done on Pinterest and on mobile. According to TheKnot.com, 92 percent of brides used smartphones for wedding planning, and 65 percent used them to browse gowns. Similarly, 45 percent shared wedding photos and details on social media.
That’s where Azazie, the direct-to-consumer site offering customizable, high-quality and affordable wedding gowns and bridesmaids dresses, is meeting them.
The company, founded in 2014, is driven by today’s demand for convenience and speed.
Offering more than 120 bridal gowns and 300 bridal party dresses in more than 65 colors, in sizes 0 to 30, Azazie sells more than 1,000 dresses per day. All items are cut and sewn to order, including matching men’s accessories.
Azazie chief marketing officer Ranu Coleman shared that their customer is between ages 25 and 34, social, community-minded, on a limited budget and seeking instant gratification.
Her three key lessons stemmed from “social listening,” meaning not just hearing, but also responding to what customers say, which in turn leads to personalization, enhanced shopping experience and higher engagement.
Based on what customers were saying, Azazie last year introduced a dedicated eveningwear line, as well as a groomsmen accessories line that has tripled their accessories business.
The brand also has a virtual showroom feature and a sample program, allowing women to try on gowns for $10 to $15 each.
A crowdsourcing platform allows customers to vote on 25 to 30 styles per month, of which two to three are developed and available two to three months later.
The company has seen more than 300 percent growth in the last year in part because of these features. Its return rate is only 5 percent, while its customer satisfaction rating is 96.5 percent.
“Be present, let your customers know you are available. Engage, listen and respond to both positive and negative comments. Expand — examine their griefs and explore their desires. Always be looking for ways to grow with them,” advised Coleman.
Data also plays a large part. While they serve more bridesmaids than brides, many bridesmaids tend to return when dressing their own wedding parties and saved customer profiles allow Azazie to market to them in new ways.
Interestingly, the company has seen little need for physical retail experiences because most customers prefer being able to try on dresses at home.