An article in the New York Times Magazine by Catherine Rampell gave this first hand description of the wedding industry: "…I thought the process of planning my own wedding would be fairly painless and practical. That was before I entered the economically baffling world of the wedding industrial complex." This frustration echoes an industry of brides and highlights a chronic need to make comparison shopping easier within the wedding market.
Research of other industries has shown that consumers who are provided an effective way to compare suppliers online are better informed and make more productive enquiries. These industries all use a 'price vs specifications' formula, which has been effective for comparing products as well as services.
The wedding industry does not conform to the price vs specifications model because the variables that its consumers base their comparison are regularly not definitive or tangible. Lets compare the massage industry with wedding photography. A customer seeking a massage can compare different businesses by the type, duration and price of the service. They are definitive specifications. But a bride's choice of photographer is far more subjective and might come down to whether they like the images and / or whether the personality of the photographer will be a good fit for their day.
The standard price-based comparison is not overly useful in the wedding industry either. The high level of custom services within each of the wedding sectors makes a direct comparison between competitors impractical. But also consider that anyone with a $4,000 photography budget has a choice of about 500 photographers in the Sydney region. Price is an important part of the consumer's decision, but it is an impractical filter within the wedding industry.
There is a huge opportunity to increase productivity in the wedding industry by shifting the focus away from traditional price-based comparison. When we build a compelling way to compare wedding suppliers, search costs will decrease and businesses will have an increased ability to express their value proposition. The industry will be more transparent and less complex for the mutual benefit of both wedding businesses and the customers who book them.