JCK Show: Brands, service key to selling luxury

Despite economic fluctuations, the luxury market has increased each year for the past 50 years. The keys to capturing that $66 billion market are brands and pristine customer service, according to consultant Anthony D’Ambrosio.

With a $20 billion jewelry and watch market and 5 million brand-conscious millionaires in the United States, jewelers need to capitalize on the popularity of brands-especially their own. “Luxury brands can and do survive economic turmoil,” D’Ambrosio said.

Just as watch and jewelry companies continue to promote their own names, jewelers should be marketing their own brand name to their communities. D’Ambrosio, former vice president of watch retailing giant Tourneau, recommends advertising and direct mail. “Your store is a brand no different than the brands you carry and sell,” he said. “But your brand is the most important brand.”

But advertising and promoting brand awareness is not enough when it comes to luxury goods. Service and the atmosphere of the store are essential elements. “Luxury customers want service; they want to be waited on,” D’Ambrosio said.

The store, cases, carpet, windows, and fixtures should be clean and well kept; customers should be offered beverages and other creature comforts; sales people should be experts within their categories; and all sales should be followed up with thank you cards.

When considering display, D’Ambrosio stressed that luxury brands must be in their own environments. “You cannot sell Patek Phillippe watches next to Seiko watches,” he said. Ultimately, every store decision should consider building the relationship and trust between customers and the retail store brand. “It’s that relationship that gets you through times like this,” D’Ambrosio said.