Operating Instructions: What We Learned at the JCK Las Vegas Education Sessions



Tips and tricks on marketing to millennials, getting shoppers in the door, giving sales a goose, and more—straight from the pros at JCK Las Vegas

THE TOPIC

“What Matters Most”

Shane Decker, consultant and president, Ex-Sell-Ence

THE TAKEAWAYS

  • What matters most, Decker said, is the experience customers have in your store: “Clients are buying experience. There are 23,000 jewelry stores in the U.S., not counting online stores. You have to give them a reason to shop at yours.”
  • The most important number in your store is your closing ratio, Decker said. Put a counter by the door and start calculating the ratio every day. Only then can you see that your training is working.
  • Gemological education is paramount, especially now that customers do extensive research online. You have to know more than your customer, Decker said. “Not knowing is a sales killer.”
  • Have weekly sales meetings, he said, then listed, in his usual rapid-fire fashion, a few dozen potential topics: types of salespeople, types of closes, store procedures, and upping your add-on sales.
  • Wow your customers. Decker said one store made it a goal that every customer who came in for a watch battery replacement would hold a 1 ct. diamond (a 2 ct. gem if the client was wearing a 1 ct. diamond). Customers will be pleased that you trust them, and that you think they can afford such a substantial purchase. Plus, he added, it’s free advertising, and someone just might buy.

THE TOPIC

The World of Wearables Event

Sonny Vu, cofounder and CEO, Misfit; Dave Monahan, president and CEO, FitLinxx; Scott Amyx, founder and CEO, Amyx+McKinsey; Amanda Parkes, technology and research chief, Manufacture New York; Robin Raskin, founder, Living in Digital Times (moderator)

THE TAKEAWAYS

  • When dreaming up the Misfit, Vu dismissed purely ­fitness-focused devices because “hardly anyone exercises,” he said. “So we thought, What could we make that women would wear anywhere?”
  • Some 10 percent of users in China, Misfit’s biggest market, “don’t put a battery in,” said Vu. “They just wear it. It’s an aspirational thing.”
  • Monahan introduced AmpStrip, a flexible, waterproof monitor for athletes that uses bodily sensors to send a continual stream of info to users’ phones. Picture a huge Band-Aid.
  • Parkes sees wearables’ future as a fusion of fashion and tech: “Wearables used to look like a computer threw up across your body. But as the tech gets better and better, we’re concentrating on smaller packages…[like] clothing itself.”
  • Amyx discussed affective computing, the eerie marriage of tech, psychology, and neurology that results in devices that read facial and body cues. “Now we can match and send an emoji that reflects a consumer’s actual emotion,” he added, showing screenshots of apps that do just that.

It was standing room only at the Richline-sponsored World of Wearables event.

THE TOPIC

“Yes I’ll Marry You! Consumer Behavior to Product Trends, Discover Everything Bridal”

Harvey Kanter, chairman, CEO, and president, Blue Nile; Shelley Brown, fashion and beauty assistant, The Knot; Molly Guy, creative director and founder, Stone Fox Bride; Victoria Gomelsky, editor-in-chief, JCK magazine (moderator)

THE TAKEAWAYS

  • Kanter is convinced that customers, especially millennials, are “transitioning to the online space, more to mobile than ever before. We see 60 percent of our traffic from mobile devices.”
  • Customization is the new black in the bridal jewelry market. “Four out of 10 [brides] want a customized ring,” Brown said.
  • Millennials appreciate the importance of family keepsakes, Guy said: “If we are selling them an item that can be an heirloom…or if it is an heirloom from their mother or grandmother that we can work with them to make, it has more weight.”
  • Ignore the growing same-sex marriage market at your peril. “We are seeing more her-and-her engagement rings and ­his-and-his bands,” Kanter said.
  • Millennials want to “break the mold,” said Guy. “A lot of times, they want to build a ring from scratch.”

THE TOPIC

“Secrets of Selling to the Super Rich”

Stacy Small, founder and president, Elite Travel International; Henry Kim, founding partner and executive vice president, Wheels Up; Randy Brandoff, founder and CEO, Eleven James; Doug Gollan, consultant/Elite Traveler cofounder (moderator)

THE TAKEAWAYS

  • The United States has the most ultra high net worth (UHNW) households—at least $30 million—in the world. “There are more UHNW families in Wisconsin, Maryland, and Minnesota—not combined—than there are in Russia,” Gollan said. “There are more in Ohio than in Saudi Arabia.”
  • Know your product. “With new money especially, a meaningful percentage didn’t get lucky,” Brandoff said. “They are smart.… Take a collaborative mind-set with these consumers.”
  • Sometimes money doesn’t look like money. It’s customer service 101: “Money can be jeans and a T-shirt,” Small said.
  • Everybody knows everybody. “Everyone has heard of Six Degrees of Kevin Bacon,” Kim said, citing the pop-culture parlour game. “It’s like, one degree of UHNW individuals. Word-of-mouth referrals are so important in this business.”
  • Seek out other local and regional luxury brands and retailers for collaborations. New members of Wheels Up receive a packet with $10,000 in gift cards, including a $3,000 gift card from Kwiat. “It’s more effective than advertising,” Kim said.
Left: the GoPro 3+ camera; right: the still-in-beta-mode 4-D virtual reality system by Ceek

THE TOPIC

“Product, Personalization, Place, and Pace: Navigating the New Consumer Landscape for Dramatic Sales Growth”

Maia Adams and Juliet Hutton-Squire, founders, Adorn Insight

THE TAKEAWAYS

  • Mine location-based geodata. “Retailers can use it to get customers into stores, offer them incentives when they’re nearby, and provide other locations to shop,” Hutton-Squire said.
  • Offer free Wi-Fi to let shoppers compare products, act on impulse buys—and keep them in store longer. “It fully immerses her when she’s playing with these different realities,” Adams said.
  • Use social media to turn browsers into buyers. With Net-a-Porter’s Net Set app, said Hutton-Squire, “you become part of this tribe where you’re connected with like-minded people, and can directly purchase the goods; that’s the key.”
  • Engage customers through multiple platforms—e.g., touch screens in store, staff in consultant-like roles online.
  • “Move consumers from transacting to conversing with the brand,” Hutton-Squire said. Until now, the jewelry industry did this by allowing personalization via engraving or custom orders.
    In the future, things like Bluetooth beacons will be a way to anticipate habits and create meaningful experiences.

(Reporting by Rob Bates, Jennifer Heebner, Logan Sachon, and Emili Vesilind)