“The perfect gift is the one you didn’t know existed, but once you open it you realize it’s what you’ve always wanted.” This quote, attributed to American short story and children’s book writer Sandra Tayler, is something gift givers hope to achieve, with every occasion challenging us what to get for the people we love.
“Everyone struggles over what to get someone for their birthday or an important occasion and jewelers should be promoting the conversation,” advocates marketing consultant Andrea Hill president of the Chicago-based Hill Management Group. “Celebrate the idea of giving. Offer gift ideas and options, discuss the challenges of gift giving and how to overcome them, and encourage consumers to share their best gifts given and received.”
Hill notes that as a society we are moving away from rampant consumerism. Not a necessity, jewelry has great value in the experiences and stories attached to it—as a marker of memories, a reflection of personality, a keepsake of secrets. “Consumers are looking for things that have meaning. People say because jewelry outlasts a dinner it qualifies as the best gift to give. But in truth, a dinner can last a lifetime in the memories it gives. It’s more than a product; jewelers are helping customers make memories with jewelry.”
The focus should be on the why, advocates retail consultant Kate Peterson, president of Performance Concepts, Montgomery Village, Maryland. “To be most useful to a client, the salesperson should be thinking in terms of why the item is right for that particular customer. What a gift giver might say when she/he says, ‘I chose this for you because…’ Or, what the self purchaser might say when complimented on a new piece: ‘I saw this and knew it was for me because…’”
Be Engaging It’s incumbent on the talented salesperson to determine good gifts with effective questions about the recipient, emphasizes Alisa Bunger, director of sales, B88 Division of the Dallas-based Prime Art & Jewel, Elle Jewelry. “The more the retailer offers ahead of time to assist, the more the consumer will return to that store.”
Create a gift area within the store for fast service, especially at peak seasons, advises Renee Miller, director of sales and merchandising for the Chicago-based brand Alison and Ivy. “Use signage or decoration to draw attention to this spot. The gift area is a focal point that holds your customers’ attention, instead of taking them around the store, which can be sensory overload.”
Based on the success of its “Top 10 Gift Ideas” marketing campaign for jewelers introduced holiday 2015, Maren Spence, merchandise manager for Ostbye, Minneapolis, Minnesota advocates calling out your bestsellers for gift-giving occasions. By giving your customers and sales staff gift ideas to pitch you are starting the conversation and demonstrating you understand the challenge and you have some solutions. She notes that promoting these steady staples leads to customers spending up and buying bigger. The benefit of giving a place to start is it helps to simplify the search and leaves more time to talk to customers.
Promoting your prowess as a gift destination, Bunger suggests jewelers create fun gift themes that can be changed monthly, and correspond social media posts with different sections in the store to highlight jewelry ideas.
In marketing today social proof is everything and social media provides a fluid platform to cultivate the conversation—from Facebook and blog posts to photo stories on Instagram and YouTube videos to curated storyboards on Pinterest with ideas categorized by occasions and themes, cites Hill.
Snap photos of engagements in store or ask customers to take pictures at home of the gift presentation to share on social media. It’s all part of the experience you create to make people feel special celebrating the things that are special to them.
Partnering & Partying
Offer customer services like wish and gift lists and date-reminders to help clients stay organized and on top of important occasions. James Porte, president of Porte Marketing Group, Weston, Florida underscores the significance of collecting customer data at the counter and online. “Customer relationship management and a strategy for conversion is critical for success today.”
Incentivize consumers to share their information, advocates Porte, by offering things like discounts, gift cards, or free services. There are many ways of getting people into your store to not only show inventory but also collect customer data, including free watch battery replacement, money off jewelry repair and redesign, and trade-ins to upgrade diamond studs.
Bunger also advocates hosting special events like Nights Out for female and male customers, couples, mother-daughter…where you can shower guests with giveaways, preview new items, and showcase ideas. Create fun gift-shopping events—for bridesmaids, best friends…why not a VIP anniversary club for marriage milestones.
Porte is a proponent of partnering with non-competing companies when it comes to gift giving, like restaurants, spa/salons, stockbrokers, realtors, or car dealers. “Imagine a realtor who sells a new home, helps to promote your store and provide a third party endorsement with your own welcome-to-the-neighborhood presentation enclosed. We have a product that enables a partnership to work be it a gift for clients or employees. Who doesn’t want jewelry?”