Big-box store, Costco, is getting into the business of providing wedding services traditionally reserved for specialized bridal boutiques and shops. Although not yet available in the Kansas City, KS or MO, area, their entry into the world of “Bridal Bliss” has already begun in a number of west-coast Costco stores with 4-day trunk shows that feature a variety (actually, there’s only 6) of wedding dresses for the “budget savvy” bride from bridal designer Kirstie Kelly.
“It’s really about creating this concept for the brides so that she understands and knows that she’s getting a high quality gown. It is a couture-styled gown. The only difference is the price,” Kelley said.
Experts say that the wedding dress is the number one obsession for a Bride. On average, most will travel to a number of stores to try on 30 gowns before finding the perfect one. Costco hopes to provide Brides with the option of one-stop shopping by offering high fashion wedding gowns at a low-cost.
One example of savings mentioned in the video below from ABC’s “Good Morning America” is a bridal dress that would typically sell for $3900. That same dress can be purchased at Costco for $1299. On average, Costco wedding dresses will retail for 40% less than found anywhere else. In a side by side comparison, most shoppers can’t detect a difference in a Costco wedding gown versus a wedding gown from a high-end bridal boutique.
Although Costco’s current plunge into the wedding business is exclusive to their west coast stores, there are plans to sample the concept on the east coast in the coming months. And, Costco also has plans to offer bridal flowers, wedding invitations and honeymoon packages in the not too distant future.
As someone who has been in the wedding industry for 20 years, I appreciate the opportunity that Costco sees in this venture. However, as a Kansas City Wedding Entertainment Director™ and wedding DJ who knows that Brides and Grooms rightfully expect a high level of personalized service and care, I question whether Costco can effectively deliver on those expectations.
As an example, what will Costco do when a last-minute and unexpected wedding gown alteration or repair is needed? Will they have someone on staff that can respond to the call at a moments notice or will they refer the Bride to an outside seamstress that has no vested interest? Or, worse yet, will they defer to the dress manufacturer to resolve any unanticipated problems? Even my stress level rises just thinking about all of the things that can go wrong.
So, what do you think? Will Brides and Grooms find true value in purchasing their discounted wedding amenities, in particularly wedding gowns, from Costco? Or, will they only experience a short-term satisfaction that comes from saving money at that moment? Can Costco compete with the personalized service and care delivered by local wedding professionals who have invested years into honing their crafts and expertise? Who will deliver a higher level of customer satisfaction?
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