AGTA Speaker: Jewelers Need to Focus on Needs of Bridal Customers

To win over today’s bridal jewelry customer, retailers must understand that younger shoppers are mostly focused on themselves, said Kate Peterson, president and CEO of Performance Concepts, at Tucson’s AGTA GemFair.

“If you can’t make things relevant to them, they will lose attention,” she said during a seminar. “They are interested in how the product connects to them. It isn’t about you. It is all about them.”

“The most important questions to ask aren’t about color and clarity,” she continued. “The most important questions are: Tell me about you. What do you want this ring to say to your friends?”

Another point: Younger consumers are also more tech-savvy and constantly connected. “If it annoys you that they are texting right in the store, don’t let it,” she added.

She also implored retailers to embrace technology rather than fight it.  “A lot of jewelry stores have iPads right on their counter and if the customers says, ‘I saw it on Blue Nile,’ they pull it right up,” she said. “When a customer comes in your store and say they looked online, that tells you they don’t want to buy that way. That customer is yours to lose.”

Along those lines, she advised jewelers to make sure their websites are state-of-the art. “Work on your SEO,” she said. “Ditch the Yellow Pages ad and get on Google. Get rid of flash on your website. Be mobile-friendly. Customers are no longer waiting until they get home to shop.” 

Social media has become a key marketing tool, she noted. She advised that when a woman tries on a ring and isn’t sure about it, she should be encouraged to post it on Facebook and get her friends’ reactions. “They will all say they love it, and it’s as good as sold,” she said.

Another way to use Facebook: When a couple finally buys a ring, post a picture of the couple—with their permission, of course—and then tag the photo with their names. All their friends will see the post. “It’s an amazing way to get your message everywhere,” she said. “It goes from one person to thousands. And the best part: It’s absolutely free.”

Another way to lure the bridal customer is by having them buy fashion jewelry. “For all you complaining about the beads and how long they take to sell, news flash: The fashion customer is the bridal customer,” said Peterson.

Peterson stressed that price isn’t as important as many think; surveys show it is ranked below design or style in buying considerations. “Most salespeople think price is the top factor,” she said. “It is important because we make it important. You ever see salespeople apologize for a price? I shop a lot of jewelry stores and I see it all the time.”

She said that jewelers need to describe their items so well that customers think they are underpriced. “When was the last time you put only in front of a price tag?” she asked. “Can you get me so that I want a piece so bad that the price is less than I expected?

Finally, Peterson advised jewelers to always ask for referrals. “Tell them if they refer their friends, you will make sure they are well-treated,” she said. Younger shoppers should be encouraged to leave reviews on sites like Yelp and Google.