Costco to Introduce Bridal Boutique

Heading to Costco to buy paper towels, giant cakes, waffles…. and a wedding dress? Yes, it’s true. Recently announced, Costco is joining the near-recession proof wedding industry. The new marketing tactic will introduce bridal boutiques in many of their stores. Since Costco already offers vacation packages, and beautiful flowers, offering wedding dresses is, naturally, the next smart move. Or is it?

From a marketing perspective, the billion dollar wedding industry is one that many clamor to enter, but gaining market share is a challenge is this already competitive industry. However, Costco’s “outside of the box” (get it? ha!) thinking may be an alternative to the growing price conscious shoppers. The store uses the boutiques to sell wedding dresses, but also suggests vacation packages for the honeymoon, too. And don’t forget about the flowers. They sell beautiful bouquets of flowers on the cheap, and this new marketing opportunity will allow the warehouse store giant to increase floral sales – a market that has tremendous revenue potential with markups usually over 100%. The store also plans to introduce decorations and other wedding supplies. For the men in the bride-to-be’s life, they can pick up an engagement ring and wedding band all while picking out the new big screen and gallons of oil for their trucks. Talk about one-stop-shopping!

Many consumers however, are left scratching their heads. Buying a wedding dress is one of the most special moments of a bride’s life. Do bride’s really want to be trying on dresses with the sound of “Tommy to the seafood dept for cleanup,” on the PA system, or the sounds of moving boxes and beeping carts? Not to mention, the dust that tends to acquire in warehouse stores, no matter how much they clean?

I can see it now, mother of the bride, mother-in-law to be, and a few bridesmaids sitting in the small area helping the bride to pick out what will be the most beautiful dress she will ever wear. Oh, and their carts full of cereal, spaghetti, vacuum cleaner, and a year’s supply of toilet paper just outside of the pop-up dressing room. I for one, don’t see the “experience” in this scenario.

I wonder if society has yet to become that price conscious, where the wedding dress “discount” is a priority. I am also interested to see how much less the actual sale price of the Costco dresses vs. a bridal boutique with negotiating power and stellar bi-annual sales.

If a bride really needs a wedding dress that inexpensive, perhaps they should look at cutting costs elsewhere in the wedding. The dress is what people remember. Not the dinner plate or charger, not the foo foo decorations or terrible DJ. It’s the dress.

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