David's Bridal Adds AR And 3D For Determined Brides

The pandemic has been rough on brides-to-be, and David's Bridal wants to help by making online dress shopping a little more satisfying.

The retailer is offering 3D and augmented reality on its website, allowing customers to view gowns at a full 360-degree angle. They can walk around the dresses, see how they'll look next to bridesmaids' dresses, and zoom in on gown details.

It's just the latest digital-shopping feature the Conshohocken, Pennsylvania-based retailer has adopted, as it scrambles to adjust to a radically different world of weddings.

Calling it the most immersive experience in the bridal industry, the company says the feature includes its 50 best-selling dresses. And unlike many other AR retail experiences, users can access it right from the website, without the bother of downloading an app.



Vertebrae, based in Los Angeles, created the effort.

Since the COVID-19 shutdown and gradual reopening, David's has also added a virtual wedding stylist and virtual video appointments via Zoom. But even before the pandemic, it had been working to up its digital game. In January it launched a series of wedding planning tools, such as vision boards, checklists, and website builders.

But anything omnichannel is a big shift for the chain, which emerged from bankruptcy in January of 2019 and relies primarily on brick-and-mortar shoppers. Last year, it reportedly sold just 10% of its dresses online.

David's innovations come as the wedding industry is struggling to catch up with brides-to-be. The Knot Worldwide, parent of leading wedding planning brands The Knot and WeddingWire, says that the U.S.'s wedding industry brings in $100 billion annually.

Its research finds that 35% of those who had planned a wedding are postponing their reception, and only 7% are canceling. Instead of lavish events, many opt for "minimonies," or microweddings with 20 or fewer guests.

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