How Retailers Can Build Consumer Trust

As a jewelry retailer you are the public face of the jewelry industry. You can protect your reputation by seeking assurances from your suppliers and making sure the products you sell meet the highest industry standards. Customers rely on correct and detailed information from retailers and while providing this will not necessarily clinch a sale, not being able to answer questions in store could have a negative and lasting effect on your business.

There are a number of industry initiatives, standards and measures in place to give you the information you need to answer customer questions and instill confidence in the jewelry you are selling. But while you need to have answers ready for them, it is important not to raise undue concern at the point of sale or draw attention to issues which may not be a problem for the consumer or which they donā€™t want to discuss at that stage. This information may be more effectively communicated at an earlier phase of the buying experience, on the retailerā€™s website for instance.

Below we have included some practical steps you can take that may help you to drive consumer trust, without diminishing the excitement and emotional value of the jewelry you sell.

1. Take issues that will damage consumer trust seriously:

  • Keep abreast of issues via the jewelry trade press, trade shows, professional organizations and consumer press and brief staff regularly
  • Comply with all relevant national legislation and industry standards/ regulations regarding business, social, environmental and technical operations
  • Understand and abide by the requirements of the CRJPā€™s Principles and Codes of Practice (and which are complementary to the CIBJO Code of Ethics) and consider becoming a member of the CRJP
  • Know the process involved in the event of a breach in proper practice, e.g. the trade association or national organization to contact

2. Promote transparency:

  • Ensure proactive disclosure at all times and use consistent language to communicate clearly about your policies
  • Use the agreed descriptors outlined in the CIBJO Blue Book and disclose all the relevant information about the jewelry being sold
  • Include full written disclosure of imitations, simulants, synthetics, cultured pearls and/ or treatments on each bill of sale, receipt, laboratory certificate or other document relating to the sale, in the local language
  • Full disclosure should take place at point of sale and anywhere the consumer can buy the piece of jewelry without viewing the actual item in person
  • Label products and segregate them correctly. Sales staff should know about the merchandise and the requirements of disclosure
  • Fully explain any special care which should be given to the jewelry because of a treatment applied to it to the customer before and after the sale
  • Be aware of the minimum fineness of gold or other precious metals that you are legally allowed to sell in your market e.g. 10 carat gold is the minimum in the US
  • Respect and adhere to specific terminology, e.g. the term semi-precious should no longer be used. All colored gemstones are precious and their value is determined by factors specific to each one

3. Build trust in the supply chain:

  • Buy from reputable suppliers and question them about their own policies and practices
  • Insist that all suppliers provide a system of warranties guarantee on invoices with all purchases of diamonds and give these to customers when selling on diamonds within the supply chain. Keep records of all warranty invoices issued and received and get them audited and reconciled on an annual basis by auditors
  • Sell diamonds, colored gemstones, pearls, cultured pearls and precious metals that have been sourced and manufactured into jewelry in a responsible and ethical way
  • Make suppliers aware of the need for disclosure. Jewelry retailers must require full disclosure for all purchases
  • Know who the reputable laboratories located in their market are and get stock checked by a qualified gemmologist
  • Be wary of unusual pricing. Imitations, simulants and synthetics as well as treated diamonds, colored gemstones, pearls and cultured pearls are liable to be sold at reduced prices
  • Check for laser inscriptions on the girdles of any diamonds you stock or intend to buy. Responsible synthetic producers label their stock as a matter of course

4. Drive confidence through effective selling techniques:

  • Train salespeople to ease customersā€™ worries by demonstrating excellent product knowledge and build relationships with them
  • Invest time in educating consumers about jewelry characteristics, certificates and store policies
  • Create an inviting, well-organized and intimate store environment to help ease consumersā€™ anxieties
  • Make sure that your website is clear and consistent in its use of terminology and be willing to send consumers to websites mentioned opposite for further information
  • Keep issues that affect trust in perspective, i.e. maintain the balance between providing knowledge and triggering unnecessary concern
  • Donā€™t forget to promote the emotional values that make jewelry special

In summary, maintaining and developing consumersā€™ trust will contribute to the future success of jewelry retailers and the whole industry. If you take action to preserve trust now, you will benefit for many years to come with satisfied existing customers, repeat business and new customers.


Source: Believe in Me, A Jewellery Retailerā€™s Guide to Consumer Trust by CIBJO