David's Bridal: Customer Relationship Management in the Digital Age

20 Pages Posted: 30 May 2017

See all articles by Kimberly Whitler

Kimberly Whitler

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Paul Farris

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Sylvie Thompson

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

Abstract

This case replaces UVA-M-0837. It can be used in a variety of marketing and strategy classes to understand how (1) at a macro level, a shift in consumer and environmental factors can impact firm strategy and (2) at a micro level, an e-mail-based marketing campaign designed to address these changes can impact firm-level performance. The case puts the students in the position of CEO Robert Huth as he is preparing for a board meeting. He had taken David's Bridal from a loss in 1996 to sales of over $1 billion by 2011, but he was concerned about future growth. People were waiting longer and longer to get married and, once they decided to, were spending much less than in the past, so the industry had seen year-over-year declines since 2007. How would David's Bridal establish its brand in the minds of a new generation of brides who shopped, purchased, and decided differently than had brides in past generations?

Excerpt

UVA-M-0899

Rev. Dec. 21, 2015

David's Bridal: Customer Relationship Management in the Digital Age

For those brides hoping to look and feel like a million dollars—but who didn't have a million dollars—CEO Robert Huth wanted them to immediately think of David's Bridal (DB). Since 2000, when he took over the top spot in the privately held company headquartered just outside of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Huth had exponentially grown the company nationwide and expanded into Canada and Puerto Rico. That growth meant that many more brides could walk out of DB with gown in hand and avoid the long delay experienced at a typical bridal salon. But most important, he had taken the company from losses in 1996 to sales of $ 665 million and gross profits of roughly $ 100 million in 2007. Sales continued to grow, reaching more than a billion dollars by 2011. Despite that success, Huth was concerned about future growth. People were waiting longer and longer to get married and, once they decided to, were spending much less than in the past. As a result, the industry had seen year-over-year declines since 2007.

At the same time, a new generation of brides was coming of age—one far more accustomed to digital media, including online shopping, social networks, blogs, and mobile apps. Bridal parties were dancing their way down the aisles, creating viral wedding videos on YouTube, all the while tweeting on their smartphones. Huth and his CMO were wrestling with how best to connect with this new generation of brides. They were well aware that brides began searching for their gowns months—in some cases, years—before their wedding day and were using these new technologies and tools to help them make their decisions. While the way in which brides made decisions might have changed over time, one thing had not—a wedding was still one of the most important days in many women's lives. Of all the decisions involved in planning a wedding, which gown to wear remained one of the most emotional, because the gown had to match both the bride's vision of her special day and her budget. How could DB build on that connection and establish its brand in the minds of a new generation of brides who shopped, purchased, and decided differently than past generations?

The Wedding Industry

. . .

Keywords: online, mobile, social media, vertical integration, customer insight, strategy

Suggested Citation

Whitler, Kimberly and Farris, Paul and Thompson, Sylvie, David's Bridal: Customer Relationship Management in the Digital Age. Darden Case No. UVA-M-0899. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2974744

Kimberly Whitler (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

1400 University Ave
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty-research/directory/kimberly-a-whitler/

Paul Farris

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States
434-924-0524 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.darden.virginia.edu/faculty/farris.htm

Sylvie Thompson

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States

Register to save articles to
your library

Register

Paper statistics

Downloads
5
Abstract Views
666
PlumX Metrics