Deciphering a Customer’s Style Clues

Caroline: As a former retailer, I’ve always been taught not to judge my customer by the clothes/jewelry he/she is wearing. However, I imagine there are some style clues that potential customers might give me, just by the outfits or jewelry they are wearing. Do you agree?
Cynthia: I do agree. I think there are a number of clues that might be helpful to a jeweler trying to give the customer some interesting choices to consider. These clues go beyond the clothing and accessories the customer is wearing.
Caroline: Yes, it is always nice to be able to show a targeted piece of jewelry to someone who is “just looking.”
Cynthia:  One indicator is personality. Someone with a lively, extroverted personality may well enjoy jewelry that says “look at me”; a quiet person might prefer less flashy choices.
Caroline: I would also think there are clues to be had just by looking at someone. On a woman, if she’s wearing earrings and what metal they are, etc.
Cynthia:  That’s right. For example, the customer’s jewelry gives you an idea of the scale and volume of jewelry she likes to wear.
Caroline: So, perhaps something similar (and maybe a bit more upscale) to what she’s wearing is a great place to start if you want to tempt her while she’s browsing.
Cynthia: I’d qualify this with the comment that, for evening, many women (myself included) dial up the jewelry quite a bit. Generally something similar to what she’s wearing but upscale is a good place to start. For instance, if she’s wearing smallish hoop earrings, perhaps she’d be interested in some of the newer cluster style earrings of similar size.
Caroline: That is a great way to start, especially if you need a place to begin a conversation.
Cynthia: Yes, and I think customers appreciate when their jewelers are knowledgeable about current trends. The color of metal the customer is wearing, as you mentioned, is another thing to note. For instance, if she or he is wearing a two-tone wristwatch, consider introducing multiple metals into the overall jewelry mix. Tri-color pieces might be of interest. 
Caroline: Yes, that’s an easy place to start. And the outfit itself is a clue — if she’s wearing a suit, perhaps a smart sales associate would show her some brooches to “complete” her outfit. Or if she’s casual, something that would relate, like basic earrings or a bracelet. There are a lot of clues that can be deciphered like that. Just remember not to judge their budget by their clothes! We’ve all done that once or twice to our own detriment! Hey, what would you do if this customer came into your store — what might you think to show her?
Cynthia: When this customer walks in, you notice immediately that she’s young, blonde and fair. She has a long neck and can wear necklaces and longer drop earrings beautifully. She has toned arms and can wear bracelets well. And she wears a “third piece” — her cardigan sweater, so she might also like brooches. Her blonde hair tells you that she can wear yellow gold. If she has light-colored eyes, directing her toward pieces that match her eyes is a great idea too.
Caroline: That is a quick summary — and helpful! Everyone should practice this skill a bit.

Today’s Jewel

How do you evaluate your customer? You saw in the blog entry above how an image consultant looks at a person to pick up style clues – how about you, as a jeweler? Try this test:

Ask a few friends to drop by your company and evaluate them when they walk in. Or try it with your fellow sales associates wearing less jewelry than usual. Then, see if any of the jewelry suggestions you come up with appeal to them.

Once you practice this a half-dozen times, you’ll be ready to give it a shot with a real customer – and hopefully increase your sales, converting those who are “just looking” to “just buying.”