The best definition of marketing I have run across is “that space in the customer’s mind that the company desires to occupy.” In the customer’s mind, there are some expectations of service level, shopping experience, store ambiance, product quality, price/value, etc., that all equate to an individually perceived value proposition. Shopper beliefs are formed from perceptions and must be influenced positively through every interaction with the brand.
Too often retail jewelry stores are dealing with the perceptions of shoppers who may not be considering all of the facts. The challenge of dealing with perceptions is that they are not based on facts, but rather on the beliefs of shoppers This often results in shoppers liking or disliking a company or its product offerings or services based on things they have heard or on limited experiences with the company. When selling jewelry, all sales associates should consider the current perceptions of each shopper to be a unique reality and aspire to offer more jewelry education and brand information.
Misalignment occurs when customer expectations are greater than the company’s actual offerings. Management of shopper expectations is extremely important because it guides shoppers to create accurate expectations and beliefs regarding the jewelry store. When perceptions are gained that are not factual, then a company’s image can be negatively affected through misconceptions by shoppers who then offer word-of-mouth references.
What should jewelry stores be doing to better manage shopper expectations? Sales associates should always ask shoppers what else they might do to help each shopper. Sometimes “be back” shoppers really do come back, especially when their perceptions are positive about the jewelry store and value propositions. Before every shopper leaves the store, associates should be asking if they provided the information necessary for the store “to occupy that space in the shoppers’ mind that the company desires to occupy.” A company’s image is built one customer perception at a time.
Dr. Tim Malone served on the faculty of GIA for several years. Well known for his presentations at industry conferences and events, he now consults jewelry companies on how to offer sustainable competitive advantages, more effective differentiation, and sales, marketing, and merchandising management performance improvement. He can be reached at 760-305-7977 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.