David’s Bridal: loyalty program members spend 30% more than average shoppers 

By April Berthene

June 6, 2024
David's bridal loyalty program

Three million shoppers have said “I Do” to becoming members of David’s Bridal Diamond loyalty program — just a few years after it launched in late 2020.

Average sales and transactions by loyalty members are 30% higher than the company’s typical shoppers, Kelly Cook, president of brand, technology and finance told attendees at the Retail Innovation Conference and Expo

On its surface, a loyalty program may not make much sense in the bridal category where most shoppers plan to buy only once. But the retailer found a creative way to entice brides to spend even more with the merchant throughout her wedding planning process and even after the wedding. 

“One of the reasons why we wanted the Diamond program is our business replaces their customer every year. Think about that from a marketing perspective,” Cook said. “(So) we need to drive revenue beyond the wedding event,” she added.  

How David’s Bridal’s membership program works 

David’s Bridal allows Diamond members to share their points — put another way, the bride can crowd source her membership points. For example, if a bride buys a $1,000 wedding dress at David’s Bridal she receives 1,000 points. Then if she has her bridesmaids each buy a $150 dress with the retailer, the bridesmaids can join the loyalty program and then give all of the points they receive for their dress to the bride. The same is true if the mother-of-the bride purchases her gown at David’s Bridal; she can also donate her points to the bride and so can any of the other wedding guests if they purchase an outfit there.  

Brides can redeem points for rewards from David’s Bridal’s partners, such as a free photobook or goody bag. The top perk, at 5,000 points, is a free honeymoon. Since the program’s launch, David’s Bridal has given away 1,000 honeymoons.  

Another benefit David’s Bridal wasn’t expecting was a significant decrease in return rates. The return rate for its program members is half the rate compared to non-members, because they want to keep their points, Cook said. This is a huge key performance indicator, as returns are expensive for retailers.

David’ Bridal solicits feedback from its members on a quarterly basis. The merchant typically hears the same positive feedback: customers like the rewards and the discounts they can receive because they are stressed about their wedding budget.

Why the program makes financial sense for David’s Bridal 

While loyalty programs with cash-back rewards can get expensive for some retailers, not for David’s Bridal. The rewards don’t cost David’s Bridal any monetary amount, as program partners donate the prize in exchange for the brand exposure they receive.  

This is beneficial for the partners because they also need to frequently replenish their customer base. Of the 350 million people in the U.S., only 2 million are brides in a given year, Cook said. Funding the rewards via partners also helps David’s Bridal’s balance sheet, as the merchants doesn’t have to account for any breakage, she said.  

“When you don’t assign value to the points but [instead] assign the value to the reward, that is a massive difference in how its connected to your P&L,” Cook said. “The economics are beneficial,” she added. 

David’s Bridal expands beyond bridal gowns 

The bridal retailer’s membership program strategy is working to gain more non-bridal shoppers. Of David’s Bridal 3 million loyalty program members, about 2 million are brides and the remaining million are not. That means those guests are in David’s Bridal’s marketing ecosystem to receive offers and messages about spending more at the merchant for other occasions. 

David’s Bridal also sells accessories, plus attire for bridesmaids, mothers-of-the-bride, wedding guests and other special events.  

David’s Bridal is tapping into another revenue stream with its recently launched marketplace for wedding vendors called Pearl. The platform allows brides to search for wedding vendors across categories, sorted by location. Vendors can list their services for free on the platform and receive additional benefits if they pay a fee.

Despite being the largest bridal retail chain, David’s Bridal has filed for bankruptcy several times. Most recently it filed for bankruptcy in April 2023 and exited in July 2023 when Cion Investment Corp purchased the brand.