Here’s an interesting question and one which I can’t answer on my own – so I need your help, lovely couples and wedding suppliers alike. There are two perceptions of wedding supplier discounts, and I’m no longer sure which side of the fence I’m on here!
So – as a bride or groom-to-be, or as a wedding supplier: what do you think of discounts?
Are discounts great, a way to save on quality wedding goodies?
There’s no getting away from how hideously expensive weddings can be. For couples choosing to have all the bells and whistles to help celebrate their marriage, budgets can easily grow and get out of control. All too often a wedding budget which starts at £8,000 can leap to £12,000 by the time your big day comes around.
If you’re on a tight wedding budget, and a top supplier who is just out of your price range offers a great discount, then you’re in luck. Discounts like this are a way to get wedding accessories and treats you couldn’t otherwise afford.
For wedding suppliers too – offering a discount on your products helps brides and grooms. It means you can share your wedding goodies with a larger audience, get more customers and help people in the process.
At quieter times of year – for many wedding suppliers over the winter months – offering a discount can encourage more customers and often prop up a wedding business which might otherwise struggle to make it through to the next wedding season.
It seems like a winner for everyone!
Do discounts cheapen a wedding business and damage brand image?
The other side of the argument is that offering a discount can make your wedding business look cheap. There’s an element of truth in this.
Consider major brands: Tesco and Asda discount furiously, constantly and loudly. Prada and Gucci don’t. Where brand image is key, promoting discounts is never popular as it’s claimed it can damage a brand.
Wedding businesses who are actively promoting to brides and grooms on a budget will often discount their wares. Wedding designers do this rarely – although there are regular designer bridal sales, you’re less likely to see a whopping “50% SALE GET IT WHILE YOU CAN” banner in a luxury bridal store.
(I have heard that the bridal designer sales can be incredibly busy and even rumours they can get nasty! The best offer time slots and appointments – just a tip!)
I do agree that if a luxury wedding business suddenly started promoting big discounts it could have a negative impact on branding. Consider Jenny Packham for example: if Jenny’s website was like Argos with a new discount every other week, would it still have the luxury feel it’s famous for?
The middle ground – discounts are useful and nice
Writing this article, I’ve convinced myself there’s a middle ground. Discounts are a good tool; neither an evil necessity or a damaging practice for any wedding business.
For the vast majority of wedding businesses, brand image is quite important. It’s not the holy grail; neither should it be the business’s primary concern. Offering an occasional discount on a tactical basis won’t harm a wedding brand. (Discounting on the scale of SafeStyle UK or Farm Foods isn’t advisable though!)
What do you think?
I’m really interested in your opinions though – whether you’re planning your wedding or managing your wedding business. Have you bought something really special in a sale? Have discounts helped you get the wedding dress of your dreams? Has discounting your products helped your business through a quiet patch?
I’m listening – avidly – to your thoughts. You can also share on my facebook page – I’ve been thinking about discounts on there as well!