How jewelers are using high-end and personalized incentives to entice bridal buyers to spend money in their stores
The department stores were on to it a long time ago: Offering clients tokens of appreciation when they buy something is a good way to entice them to spend more money in your store. Gifting is a common and frequent practice in many industries, but jewelry store owners have been slow to jump on the bandwagon. Lately, however, some jewelers have come up with a clever mix of gift-with-purchase strategies to inspire bridal customers to patronize them for the engagement ring—and all the jewels that follow.
Hair today, gold tomorrow. Engagement ring shoppers at Glennpeter Jewelers Diamond Centre, with three locations in Albany and Clifton Park, N.Y., not only love their rings, but they also love the way they look when they wear them, thanks to a tradition of offering free beauty services to brides. “When you pick up your ring, we give thank-you gift certificates for free blowouts and manicures at a local salon,” says co-owner Jeff Weiss. In fact, the store frequently partners with local merchants (including restaurants) that offer vouchers to Glennpeter at no cost because they recognize that the complimentary vouchers drive business on both sides of the equation.
What bride-to-be wouldn’t want a free mani-pedi? Plus, freshly polished nails accent her ring nicely.
Sale away. For the past 30 years, Capitol Marketing Concepts in St. Petersburg, Fla., has helped jewelers capitalize on the perennial appeal of cruises. Senior account manager Denise Horton, a 17-year company veteran, says her firm has about 150 jewelry retail and manufacturer clients. “Our No. 1 product is our cruise and hotel getaway program,” she says. Jewelers buy blocks of 10 Norwegian two-night cruise (or hotel stay) vacations at a discounted rate and gift them to diamond engagement ring buyers.
“In today’s world, people are looking for the most value they can get,” says Horton.
Jewelers see the perk as a way to discourage customers from asking for discounts, not to mention the obvious fact about cruises: People love them. “The perceived value of the cruise is very high,” says Jon Keller, director of sales training at Glennpeter, which has offered the cruise gift-with-purchase for the past two years to generate buzz for a new store. “Cruises are a chance to celebrate a moment, get away, and enjoy jewelry purchases,” Weiss says.
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Show off your brand-new engagement bling on a cruise, courtesy of your local jeweler.
Cruise promotions also work well for Schiffman’s, whose two locations in Greensboro and one in nearby Winston-Salem, N.C., offered them—to buyers of rings valued at $3,000 or more—during one- to two-day bridal events held last year and again this spring. While the company declined to provide sales figures, Pete Bruck, a Schiffman’s sales associate, says the cruise program is one of the most successful promotions the store has ever organized. “Last year was almost unbelievable and this year was even better,” he says. “Cruises helped our associates close sales.”
Gunning for diamond sales. When D. Geller & Son in Smyrna, Ga., debuted a “Get Some Bang With Your Bling Sale” in September 2012—offering a free hunting rifle with a $2,500 or higher diamond engagement ring purchase—Harold van Beek, owner of Jewelry by Harold in North Liberty, Iowa, decided to duplicate the idea. Last fall, he announced his Shotgun Wedding promotion: Customers who bought a diamond engagement ring of $2,000 or more would receive a voucher for a free Remington 870 rifle.
D. Geller & Son was gunning for bridal sales (like this Scott Kay Unity collection semi-mount, $2,590; 201-287-0100; scottkay.com) with its rifle-and-ring promo.
Because of the rural location of van Beek’s store—two hours from Des Moines, Iowa, and three and a half hours from Chicago—the three-week sale, which he targeted at hunters, worked. “Deer season was around the corner, so we wanted to do something for the lifestyle of people around here,” he says.
Not only did van Beek catch the attention of the press—“We had interviews with 35 radio stations and phone calls from newspapers like The New York Times,” he says—but the idea also made money. “After the three weeks ended, we had three months of work, mainly custom jobs,” he says.
As for the rifle, it’s the same model that van Beek uses to hunt deer. The piece retails for $329, and van Beek bought vouchers—at full retail price—for clients to redeem at a local outdoors store. Of course, state gun laws do mandate background checks (one buyer took home a canoe rather than a rifle for that reason). And customers who don’t want a rifle can apply the voucher to other items.
At Schiffman’s, shoppers have scored a free cruise with their bridal buy (like this Christopher Designs’ ring with Crisscut diamonds, $490,000; 212-382-1013; christopherdesigns.com).
Geller—who encountered his fair share of critics—had to assure people that nobody walked out of his store with a firearm in hand. And even though the promotion was successful—“our year-over-year sales tripled,” he says—he’s not certain he’ll repeat the effort in light of the national gun violence debate. “The timing just might not be right,” he says.