2013: What to Expect: The Consumer Angle

What does the jewelry consumer want? More often than not, the consumer isn’t even sure. Yes, something unique and desirable. Yes, something they’ll treasure for years. And yes, an extra 20% off your lowest price and sell it at a loss because they may just be back for more…. someday? But seriously, in 2013, how can you turn a browser into a buyer and convert a novice jewelry purchaser into a lifetime repeat customer?

For years we’ve been hearing how e-tailers are going to grab the lion’s share of the jewelry market. We know that isn’t, and most likely will never be, the case. Jewelry is a product that a buyer wants to hold, feel, touch and connect with. So what are the online potential products and what is a true off-line piece?

Diamond Engagement Rings: Most journeys start online. Consumers log on to research the stones, cuts and settings they like most. Then they’ll dig further to find out how much a one carat G, VS1, round in a platinum setting will cost. Then maybe a different color and clarity grade, or white gold instead of platinum. Once they’ve reached a suitable compromise to fit their budget, they log off and visit you. It’s in your hands now, they’re primed to buy, but it’s all about trust at this point. Don’t sell, provide information, guidance and insight. They’re looking for support and a level of belief in the product (and the merchant) that only comes with face-to-face contact. Make it your mission in 2013 to make sure you become the local diamond expert. From articles in local magazines, to lectures and ‘teaching events’ in your store….If they trust you – they will come.

Brands: Consumers trust brand names. They trust stores that carry brand names. But more than this – they trust stores that have their own ‘brand’ line. If you don’t already produce custom and in-house designs, or carry lines that you can brand as your own, then for 2013 this is an area that can add substantial sales gains. If a client knows their piece is a one-off, or feels that it is available only through you, the retailer investing time, passion and commitment into presenting their piece, the client will be much more likely to buy that piece from you, and even willing to pay a premium for it.

Reaching Them: What’s your online marketing strategy for 2013? Targeted geo-specific ads are the best way to kick off a campaign if you’re still hesitant about ROI. Check out the online traffic of your local newspaper’s website. What about your local T.V. affiliate, who are their online visitors? Start small in several places and follow the clicks, by spring you should have a solid idea of which advertising is working for you and how to adjust your marketing tactics accordingly.

Online Sales: If you’re not already an e-tailier is this the year you’re thinking of starting to sell online? Before you rush in, check out the market. Who are you selling to and do you have the budget to fund the creation of an online sales site? It’s a different business model, not an add-on. Think long and hard before rushing into the great Blue Beyond. In 2013, focus your resources in the most potentially lucrative areas such as engagement rings, in-house and custom designs and then see where you stand with the capabilities to launch an e-commerce site.

Next week our Top Ten Tips of the year reviews the must have actions you should be executing if you want to make 2013 – a year to remember for all the right reasons.