The recession is forcing jewelers in cities across the country to rethink their business. Stacie Anderson and her colleagues at Gunderson’s Jewelry Collectibles and Fine Jewelry held a Mother’s Day pearl jewelry event that was a big success for the Midwestern jeweler.
The event won’t go down in history as a huge earner in terms of sales, but it did create a lot of customer appreciation and loyalty while helping customers in Anderson’s Iowa market find Gunderson’s new store location in Sioux City.
Gunderson’s pearl event got its start in early March of this year. As an IJO (Independent Jewelers Organization) member, Gunderson’s was made aware of a vendor special from Bauman-Massa Jewelry Co. The company was selling 17.5-inch freshwater pearl necklaces (featuring 6.0mm to 6.5mm pearls) topped with a sterling silver clasp for $4.99 each. Like many IJO members, Anderson jumped on the opportunity and ordered 100 necklaces. Each was priced $35 so customers could buy a nice gift of pearls for moms at a very reasonable price.
“We wanted to offer jewelry [during recessionary times] at friendly price points,” says Stacie Anderson. “Getting people to come in the store now will help keep Gunderson’s in the minds of customers when better times return.”
The $35 (retail) pearl necklace.
In addition to being price-point friendly, many Gunderson customers thought they were, “getting a good value,” says Anderson. “In looking at the size, shape, color and luster of these freshwater pearl necklaces, they could have easily sold for $99 and still be a good value.”
The event opened the Friday before Mother’s Day. Anderson did a radio spot to help promote the event. The Mother’s Day pearl promotion was also prominently displayed on Gunderson’s homepage, which helped with Internet sales as did an email blast to the store’s customer database. “I sent 12 necklaces out by mail,” says Anderson.
Indirect promotions of pearl jewelry came from none other than First Lady Michelle Obama. Noted as a style-conscious First Lady according to the leading fashion reads, Michelle Obama has been observed wearing a variety of pearl necklaces, from her signature double-strand that hugs the collar line of her dress to layers of pearl necklaces as well as multicolor pearl necklaces.
First Lady Michelle Obama wearing her signature double-strand pearl necklace.
On the Friday before Mother’s Day, from 1:00 PM until 3:00 PM, sales went “real well,” according to Anderson. Roughly 50 people came in for the event. After looking at the $35 pearl necklaces, about 25 of those 50 customers opted to upgrade to higher-end pearls on display in the store’s showcases.
The Mother’s Day event translated into roughly 25-30 necklaces sold as part of the May event. Thinking ahead to the upcoming bridal and graduation season, Anderson quickly repurposed the Mother’s Day graphic on her website for the upcoming graduation and bridal season.
All in all it was a good event for Gunderson’s. The store offered customers a good quality pearl product at a good price at a time when customers are perhaps more grateful than in other gift-giving times in recent history for the opportunity to purchase such an item that is also a good value. But as Anderson is quick to admit, “We only made $30 on each strand, so obviously it wasn’t about the money.”
Good will during recessionary times aside, the event yielded 24 new names for Gunderson’s database, helped draw old and new customers to Gunderson’s new store location – which is still fairly new (three years old), and gave Anderson and her staff enough pearl products to spread over another late spring buying season for grads, brides and bridal party gifts. And, there is plenty of post-pearl-event follow-up for matching pearl products.
The event also helped keep Gunderson’s on people’s radar for the store’s big honeymoon giveaways happening in June. Customers are invited to come in to the store to buy a $40 ticket for a chance at winning one of three honeymoon vacations including a three-day trip for two to Las Vegas, a five-day Cancun resort vacation for two and a five-day Carnival Cruise for two.
More on that when JCK details the particulars of the contest, how it was promoted and, more importantly, how the contest helped stimulate sales!!!