Bridal fashion boutiques have a major challenge ahead of them: adapting to the tastes and new search and shopping habits of young millennials. Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week, steered by IESE Business School professor José Luis Nueno, points to the main trends of the future, when new technologies will play a leading role.
‘We often assume that bridal boutiques, the shopping experience, the services and products they offer and the whole purchasing process has remained unchanged over the years and will continue to do so, but this is not true. Bridal boutiques and the bridal sector are facing a unique opportunity to transform themselves with new technologies to adapt to the brides of the present and future and open up new business opportunities,’ claims professor José Luis Nueno, an expert in the fashion industry with a doctorate from Harvard.
Indeed, the ‘shopping journey’ of the millennial bride has already started changing. According to the study Millennial Brides, Born in the 1980s, Getting Married Today, prepared by Nueno for Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week, the process starts ten months before the planned wedding date, with most brides choosing an online search and an offline purchase. In 2015, the main source of information was already the internet, being used by 99% of future brides to find out about dress styles (65%), a specific designer (62%) or a particular boutique (36%).
But the next step, according to professor Nueno, is to break away from the classic bridal boutique and go much further in the search for somewhere to try out and choose a dress. He outlined four key trends that will change the current shopping model. The showroom is going to offer more than just dresses and extend its range of products to the entire bridal universe. The online channel will go from being a simple source of information to somewhere to preselect a model that will culminate in a physical establishment. Boutiques will be strengthened as an experiential platform as well as expanding their services and options. And finally, the different forms and channels of information and influence will multiply, both online and at the point of purchase, turning the whole process into a completely interactive and personalised event.
In this respect, professor Nueno notes that ‘the future bridal boutique will include digital showrooms, interactive dressing rooms, tactile screens featuring the collection, virtual reality and many other services and products, becoming a place where technological possibilities will take the future bride’s shopping experience much further than anything we could have imagined up to now.’
Barcelona Bridal Fashion Week, along with professor José Luis Nueno, will be exploring these trends in greater depth as well as the possibilities that new technologies offer both the sector and consumers in a new study that will be presented at the 2018 edition of the event.
Barcelona, 20 April 2017