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A Digital First Mindset

February 21, 2020 | Posted in: Jewelry, Strategy, Trends
On average, couples spend nearly two hours a week planning their wedding, and 80% of their time doing so online.

Jewelers looking to court Millennials, who represent 80 percent of today’s marrying couples, must have a digital-first mindset to succeed. The findings in Weddingwire’s comprehensive 2019 Wedding Report offer information that jewelers should know in creating their marketing plan to reach these consumers.

Not only are the majority of Millennials doing recon on their wedding prior to getting engaged, but right off the bat they’re looking for checklists, budget tools, and help on where to start in order to be efficient in the planning process, cites Weddingwire. Sixty-six percent use a wedding planning app.

The data shows mobile usage peaking from 9:00 p.m. to midnight Monday through Friday after couples are home from work and often multi-tasking, with Sunday a popular planning day on mobile.

Social Engagement
Two out of three Millennials take at least one pre-engagement action, with nearly a third creating a Pinterest board for inspiration, finds Weddingwire. Pinterest boards are wildly popular on wedding planning portals, so why wouldn’t jewelers capitalize on this playful and engaging platform in their community. Sixty-four percent use Pinterest throughout their wedding journey.

Research shows that 64 percent share their engagement on social media within a few hours of the proposal, and more than half send a photo of the ring to loved ones after getting engaged. How can you engage couples in creative ways to post and share regarding their engagement?

Women in particular use social media in their shopping approach, tells marketing consultant Andrea Hill of the Chicago-based Hill Management Group, in a 2019 Plumb Club webinar on self-purchase women. Social proof matters to women who want to confer and share with family and friends. She cites Pinterest and Instagram as key platforms, but underscores that women expect a jewelers website to encourage and facilitate interaction, feedback, education, entertainment, and sharing. She cites ratings and reviews, friend referrals, and certifications all compelling information to include.

Weddingwire finds that 80 percent of couples, when looking for wedding-related vendors, cite reviews and photos as important in their decision-making, and that they’re more likely to consider a company with both positive and negative reviews than one with none at all.

Near Me
Supporting the importance of shopping local to create that personal experience, Weddingwire finds “near me” among the most searched phrases having to do with wedding planning. It stated that in 2018, mobile searches for dresses that included the term “near me” increased by 600 percent. The study reveals that half of surveyed couples purchase from brick and mortar, despite the majority of their research and planning occurring online.

Consumers want to buy where they are comfortable, says Bruce Pucciarello, CEO of the iconic wedding ring brand Novell, a subsidiary of Continental in Rahway, New Jersey. “There’s a lot being made of Millennials purchasing products differently than past generations, but the truth is most of us buy products differently in 2020 than we did in 2000.”

Consumers will pay for convenience and will do more business with people and companies that make their lives easier. “It’s about making consumers feel comfortable to purchase jewelry the way they want to,” tells Pucciarello, who is advocating at Novell a different “supplier-service model”.  The brand, he says, is developing collaborations with other “forward-thinking industry leaders” on products to help independent jewelers compete.

Pucciarello hints at new programs in the pike for Novell designed to help independent jewelers capture the consumers they’re missing online, while getting them in store in the way Blue Nile is doing with its Webroom storefronts to increase Internet sales — i.e. product samples for customers to try on and explore before buying online.

Big Tent Outlook
With the average age of marrying couples today 33, according to Weddingwire, jewelers need to lay the groundwork long before the engagement if they want to grow the popularity of fine jewelry by focusing on its role as a marker of love.

Roopam Jain, president of the branded team at Renaissance in New York, which brings to market its licensed Disney Enchanted Bridal collection, underscores that Millennials have an affinity for brands they can trust, like Disney and Hallmark, for which it holds licensed jewelry collections. He says the company’s strategy is to collect wholesome, well-liked brands that reflect happiness, goodness and living your best life.

Jain underscores that marketing for the company has been organic, building over time with its Enchanted Disney and Hallmark licensed jewelry collections. The best part, he says, is seeing people posting photos of their happy moments wearing their jewelry. He reminds that as an industry, we must tell the stories of jewelry’s importance in expressing joy in our lives.

Moreover, Millennials care about the environment and sustainability, and lab-grown diamonds are appealing to them as an alternative. Says Marty Hurwitz, CEO of the fine jewelry marketing firm, MVI Marketing: “Millennials are telling the jewelry industry this is a product they’re interested in and will to come into the store to look at it. To ignore that opportunity is a huge a mistake. For an industry struggling to get Millennials in the door, the answer is right there.”

Brands like Chatham Created Gemstones, Quality Gold’s True Origin, Frederick Goldman’s Love Earth, and Renaissance’s Made for You are among the lab-grown diamond brands targeting Millennials.

Consumers buy things that make them happy! The key question: How can your brand, products and services deliver more value for the asking price?  How can you enhance a consumer’s happiness, comfort and reward for their spending?