JCK Las Vegas: Jewelers Need Web Communities, Hurwitz Says



Don’t
just build a Web site, build a Web community, Marty Hurwitz of MV Marketing
said in a seminar titled Enhancing Your Retail Sales With a Powerful Retail
Community.

“There
are millions of Web sites,” he said. “If you build a community, you will get
people to come back. We want to make a relationship with the consumer.”

That
means not putting up a static brochure on the site.

“Build
interactive collaborative communication vehicles that change,” he said. “Use
contests, preferred customers lists, blogs, things that evolve.”

His
advice:

*
Retailers should not think yahoo, think yoo-hoo. “Don’t think big, think
small,” he said. “Get your loyal consumers to your Web community and build the
Web site for them. Then evolve it out further.”

*
Look at e-commerce as dynamic and “kill anything that’s not working.”

*
Use targeted communications, such as e-newsletters. “You should be following up
every sale, no matter how small it is,” he said.

*
Personalize your Web site. “I would tell your story up and down.”

*
Make your store feel like your Web site, and vice versa. Get an iPad, put it on
your countertop, and set it to your store Web site.

*
Forge personal communications on the Web. “If you personalize it, you can make
relationships on the Web,” Hurwitz said.

*
Include video tools, like pictures of events and quick movies. “Video
technology is incredibly inexpensive to integrate into your Web site.”

*
Retailers should “capture information and use it,” through CRM (customer
relationship management) software. “Other industries target people to death,”
he said. “They find out who you are and what you like. The more you can collect
on your consumers, the better off you will be.”

Hurwitz
also looked at trends in society and noted that “consumers are armed with more
information about products and more outlets at which to purchase product than
ever before.”

He
said 30 million people enter the words “diamond engagement ring” into Google
each month, and 85 percent of consumers search before they buy.

Today,
“demography equals destiny,” Hurwitz said. “If you know the demographics of
your customer, if you know the information about who they are, you can plot the
destiny of your business.”

Baby
Boomers and World War II generation consumers are quickly finishing their
discretionary and brand spending, Hurwitz said.  But 18- to 40-year-olds
will never shop the way their parents and grandparents did. “If you want to
survive, you have to get a new group, that 45-and-under group,” he explained.

But
those clients are intimidated coming into jewelry stores and don’t buy the same
things their parents did. “The diamond bridal category is gone,” Hurwitz said.
“It’s commoditized. It’s Blue Nile. You have to have other products for those
customers.”

Instead,
retailers need to reach out to new customers, like the self-purchasing woman
who buys four pairs of shoes a year.

He
recommended the book Wikinomics, which he calls “a treatise on the
future of consumerism and what the consumer is changing into because of the
Web,” as well as a March article in JCK on reaching out to younger
consumers by managing editor Richard Dalglish.

He
recommended that retailers emulate Web sites such as Zinabeverlyhills.com,
exboyfriendjewelry.com, claires.com, and brownleejewelers.com, which he said
lets consumer register as a preferred customer, in exchange for information.