Optimize Your Uniqueness
Local independent jewelry stores remain a preferred retail channel for couples getting married to buy their rings. In fact, the online wedding hub, The Knot, in a 2017 consumer study found that nearly half of all men surveyed listed a local or independent jeweler as the place where they ultimately bought the engagement ring, up 5% since 2011.
Whether you’re a big national chain or a small independent shop, play up your uniqueness to couples at every touch point from marketing materials and social media to store layout and design and sales team engagement.
“Many customers want a non-intimidating online experience first to do their research and customize,” cites Jay Gerber for the diamond jewelry manufacturer, W.R. Cobb Company, based in East Providence, Rhode Island. He says online features like a Design Your Own platform, 3D images, and diamond magnification are among the bells and whistles that resonate with customers today, emulating the in store experience online.
The Knot finds that couples are spending more time researching online, and looking at fewer engagement rings in the store. The average time spent ring shopping is 3.5 months, up from 3.3 months in 2011. During their search, couples looked at an average of 26 rings, down from 28 in 2011. The research suggests that it may have to do with the changing technical landscape. Couples are used to a fast, seamless purchasing process. Their appetite for browsing dozens of options has fallen, just like their desire to search through products.
The Knot advocates jewelers optimize their website with descriptive ring terms that have more to do with the setting, shape and stone cut than touting designer/brand names or gemological specifications. The same goes for social media posts.
Speak the language your clients speak across platforms, says Gerber, noting that price does not even make the top three considerations for ring shoppers. Words like “custom” and “unique”, “quality” and “craftsmanship” resonate with Millennials searching for rings. “Talk more about the story and process behind the jewelry rather than price. Couples are more concerned about the product, process and getting what they want than a deal.”
The Knot encourages retailers to make their businesses more relatable and real. Create a wedding department where couples and family can gather to explore engagement and wedding rings, customize designs, curate a jewelry registry of wedding day jewels and wedding party gifts, and take fun photos. Think Instagrammable.
Consider a selfie-worthy wall that encourages viral-worthy engagement, advocates Rebecca Foerster, executive vice president of strategic planning and marketing, Leo Schachter Diamonds, New York. Capture behind-the-scenes videos of couples shopping for rings. Tell the story about how your couples met and got engaged on your social profiles, and share their wedding announcements. Get creative!
By carving out an area focused on the wedding, jewelers can delight, inspire and advise couples about the many ways they can mark this milestone occasion.
Consultant Pam Levine, Levine Luxury Branding, New York City encourages jewelers to host meaningful in store events, invite specialists like stylists and wedding planners to meet with couples, cross promote with non-competing businesses your clients frequent. Have a big bridal trunk show. Be a resource and a destination.
Levine advocates Lippincott’s “Happiness Halo” as a guide to viewing the wedding experience, quoting: “Happiness is as much about how we look forward to and look back on an event, as it is the event itself.” Lippincott research found that half of someone’s happiness is built in moments of anticipation and remembering. Levine sees a jeweler’s virtual reality as very useful in nurturing both the front and back ends of the experience — encouraging story and picture sharing, creating new traditions, and more.