JCK Show: Database mining is paramount to success

James Porte believes there is nothing more important to jewelers than collecting a database of customers, then properly organizing it and using it in a way that will bring both new and returning customers to the store. On Wednesday, he worked to convince a roomful of jewelers during a presentation at The JCK Show ~ Las Vegas.

During his seminar, titled “Mining Your Database,” Porte discussed ways jewelers can collect information from customers and use it to target the customers’ needs. He focused on using a customer database for anniversary, birthday, and follow-up wedding purchases. “I believe getting this information is not negotiable,” he said. “If you don’t have a viable customer list, you could be sitting in the dark.”

He emphasized the importance of strong leadership from the store owner to make such a program work. He said owners must work hard with staff members who are unwilling to retrieve personal information because they feel they are being too intrusive. The best way to do this is to provide incentives for employees.

Porte also discussed ways to get customer information. “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. Tell customers we’re developing a customer list because we have a catalog we send out and because we do special events for birthdays and anniversaries,” he advised. “If you don’t do it, your competition will.”

He also discussed the importance of organizing a database and being in control of it. “Segment the list and set a strategy,” he said. “What can I do to make them come into my store?”

Weddings provide opportunities for retailers to use databases to help both the bride and the groom. Citing a survey, Porte said that more than half of the couples who buy an engagement ring at a jewelry store buy their wedding ring at a different store. The reason, he said, is that men make most of the engagement ring purchases while women shop for the wedding ring, and in many cases, the woman already has a relationship with another store. “There is no bond between the woman and the engagement ring.”

Providing an incentive for the groom to leave his contact information is a great way to get the follow-up business, Porte said. One example he cited is a small brochure titled “The World’s Greatest Engagement Proposals,” which is meant to be given to the groom.