Go After the Business

Jewelers who know their customers, merchandise accordingly and actively go after the business are succeeding in today’s highly competitive market. Retail consultant Kate Peterson, president of Performance Concepts, Montgomery Village, Maryland advises jewelers consider what they’re doing everyday to gather client intelligence to develop good, build-able customers.

There’s a big push to understand what consumers like and how they shop. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you plan your 2016 strategy:

Use Smart Tools
Get smarter about your finances, inventory, and customer engagement, advocates Neil Shah, Shah Luxury, New York. “Use tools like the Edge to manage these aspects and learn from them. The No. 1 thing for jewelers moving forward will be connecting with consumers on an emotional level, and they need all the information they can get about their customers to succeed.”

Be a Curator
Be an active part of curating customers’ jewelry wardrobes, advises Todd Wolleman, Color Craft, New York. “Gain access to their jewelry collection—offer to clean it, fix it, see what’s missing, and help style them to see what they have and what they need. Play a more active role in the collectible aspect and maintenance of their jewelry wardrobe.”

Maximize Marketing Support
Use the marketing tools vendors provide to promote their products. “Jewelers should use marketing support programs, signage and displays with intention,” says Maren Pfister, merchandise manager, Ostbye, Minneapolis, Minnesota,. She notes that designers and manufacturers invest the time and money to do the market research and create the stories around their collections, so don’t reinvent the wheel. “The right tools and product will help differentiate you from the competition, increasing store traffic and driving more sales revenue.”

Change Up, Stay Fresh
“Take apart your assortment and change it up often for your customers to keep things exciting and fresh,” advises Robert Herskovits, MJJ Brilliant, New York. Focus on branding and collections to tell stories and engage consumers, promoting strong key items to get customers into the store.

Be Special, Customize
Jewelers who provide special order and custom work will differentiate their business from the competition and realize better profits, says Richard Greenwood, Greenwood Group, New York. He believes gemstones offer lots of opportunity for jewelers to distinguish themselves as specialists in color and to achieve better margins with products unique to them.

Make Shopping Easy
Millennials love their devices and research shows that 30% of them use four or more a day. “Create a mobile optimized shopping experience by making your website responsive,” urges Jay Gerber for WR Cobb Company, East Providence, Rhode Island, noting that 40% of male and 33% of female millennials would buy everything they come across online if they could. “When they aren’t buying online, they’re researching products and companies.” He notes that 60% of this research is done on a company’s website, so fresh content is critical.

Leverage Technology
Jewelers who leverage technology that millennials are familiar with provide a level of sophistication to the shopping experience, says Gerber. “Having accessible technology like a tablet or digital kiosk will not only create appreciation of your business, but also showcase your website and present your virtual inventory. Having a sales team that’s capable of using tools to guide consumers through the shopping process is a significant customer advantage.”

Encourage Sharing
Social sharing is key to customer outreach and marketing, hails Gerber. “Millennials are obsessed with sharing—from food to movies, if they interact with it, they want to share it. Encourage customers to take photos and share their buying experience by posting images and tweets on social media. This will boost your ratings in the general market, as well as create customer loyalty.” He notes that 60% of millennials turn to friends and family on social media for advice before they make a purchase. Also, millennials happy with a purchase are more willing to share, like or recommend their experience on social media. He advises jewelers engage their biggest word-of-mouth advocates to help sell.

Offer an Experience
Time is the most valuable thing a person can spend. All things equal, consumers will shop online for the convenience. So, your shopping experience must offer them more than products to buy, but also an experience that will make their time spent worthwhile, says Pam Danziger, president of Unity Marketing, Stevens, Pennsylvania. “The key is for marketers to align their brand, products and services with people’s need for fun and recreation.”