Enquiries driving down profit

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This week on social media we asked the question: "What do Brides base their wedding photography budget on? How do they come up with a figure?"  We wanted to know what impact the answers to these questions have on businesses and whether there is a direct affect on profitability within the industry.

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Most conversation about budget for wedding photography that happens in business circles has centred around whether or not to list prices on supplier websites.  Our research suggests that whether prices are listed or not has very little bearing on supplier profitability.  The process that wedding photography and videography clients go through when shortlisting suppliers however, does cause downward pressure on profits and the cause is directly linked to how budgets for these services are initially established.

Here's what one Bride told us when we asked how she'd determined a budget for her wedding photography: "I just looked through a heap of websites that have their prices available upfront and got an average so I would know what was reasonable and what was expensive."  This was a common story among the Brides who responded to our queries and provides some insight into the experience many suppliers face when attending to price based enquiries.

One of the top listed wedding cinematography businesses on Google does not publish packages or pricing on his website.  He told us this week that on average he receives one enquiry per day originating from his presence on Google and that the conversion rate from these enquiries was low.  This was to be expected, he said, as most of those enquiries centred around price.  Many wedding suppliers that experience low conversion rates interpret a need to reduce prices in order to make themselves 'more competitive' in the industry.  But consider what this Bride told us - "I did loads of research on different package prices and then went with word of mouth from girlfriends that had been married".

Customers are simply researching the market range in order to establish what they intend to spend.  Once armed with a budget they then have a mechanism to start comparing and eliminating suppliers from the myriad of options available to them.  It is this necessary focus on price that drives down conversion rates, and puts the most pressure on profitability within the industry.  And it's happening because price is virtually the sole definitive means for an average customer to compare suppliers.

In our next article we discuss how its possible as an industry to shift the primary focus away from price and instead empower customers to seek out suppliers by other favoured attributes.

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