Merchandising Pearls’ Versatility
Pearls are a favorite of all women but too often they get pushed to the back corner of a jewelry store. How jewelers merchandise pearls can speak to their versatility. Pearls effortlessly go with any metal, stone or design elements paired with them and can easily layer with other jewels. Good merchandising helps to tell that story.
“The way we wear our jewelry, how we decorate ourselves has to be a part of the conversation,” says Kathy Grenier, vice president of business development for the Providence, Rhode Island based Imperial Pearl. “Build vignettes that draw attention to and create interest in pearls by working them into your inventory, revealing the many ways pearls are the perfect accessory with any wardrobe and meaningful gift for any occasion. Mix classic with fashion pieces in different price points with other jewelry like gemstones and chain. Pearls are far more than studs and strands, they offer lots of ways for people to buy into the category.”
The trend is not for matchy-match, and clever displays and well-accessorized staff can spark ideas and conversation says Grenier. She reminds jewelers that they are style and gift consultants, bringing customers items curated for them.
Position pearls in multiple locations throughout your store to increase the opportunity for them to be seen and experienced by more consumers; advocates Grenier, who also suggests changing up/moving around merchandise to keep things fresh. Walk your store to explore the journey your customers take to navigate product, and identify the hot spots. Analyze sales based on where and how items are merchandised, and engage your best customers for feedback.
Add mannequins and interesting wall and counter busts, great props for frequent display changes to demonstrate how to layer the longer necklaces that are on trend but don’t translate well in the showcase, says Kathleen Ross, creative director for Honora, a Richline pearl company based in New York City.
Visibility and hands on are two key elements connecting customers with pearls, says Grenier. Handling pearls, which are very tactile and beg to be touched, makes a big difference in engaging customers about the product.
Mining for creative display ideas, interior design and branding consultant Pam Levine of The Levine Design Group, New York City suggests exploring curation in museums, magazines and catalogues; displays at trade shows; and department store and boutique presentations that show fashion and accessories together. She also suggests surfing through online visual galleries for inspiration, including windowswear.com, visualciti.com, acedesigns.com, and zengenius.com. The goal of good visual merchandising is to inform, inspire, delight, and connect with customers.
Occasions & Celebrations
In addition to being on trend in the fashion world, pearls more than any other gem is a gift remembered every time the wearer puts them on, which is why pearls are so popular to give and wear for weddings, graduations, holidays and special occasions, says Ross. She suggests pearls be a part of niche presentations throughout the store like bridal and top-gifts displays.
Helping retailers merchandise in this way is a focus of Mastoloni this year, says Dana Cali, marketing and communications for the New York company. “To help our jewelers we’re putting together styles and designs that we suggest they merchandise in their bridal section. Technically, pretty much everything in the pearl category could be given and worn for a wedding, which has been challenging for jewelers unsure of which products to call out. We want to inspire jewelers to maximize their wedding sales with other gifts of jewelry to outfit the bride, groom, wedding party, parents and kids in pearls.”
Cali highlights items popular for bridal, including pearl strands and lariat and Y-style necklaces, studs with jackets and chain drop earrings, and multi-strand bracelets. Levine advocates jewelers use signage/words in store that inspire, ignite ideas, and help customers find the perfect piece.
Ross also encourages retail partners to create custom in-store pearl events to promote their expertise in pearls. “One of our favorite Honora store events is the annual Prosecco & Pearls created by our retail partner Cumberland Diamond Exchange Smyrna (Atlanta), Georgia,” she says. “They create custom invitations using our beautiful stylized pearl imagery and pull a fabulous crowd to enjoy sips and shopping. We also share images from the events on our Instagram story.”