Self-Purchasing Customers Down on Traditional Jewelry Stores

The self-purchasing customer is a big fan of jewelry, but has mixed feelings about standard jewelry stores, according to new research released by MVI Marketing.

The online survey queried 1,056 female customers who bought jewelry in the last 12 months.

Over 67 percent said wearing fine jewelry makes them feel special. Even more gratifying, buyers like being bitten by the jewelry bug: 91 percent said they wanted to purchase more. Most didn’t need any reason for their purchase: 59 percent said they bought jewelry “just because.”

“Self-purchase is a strong market,” says MVI president Liz Chatelain. “But we aren’t taking advantage of it the way we should.”

Many respondents were less enthused about traditional jewelry stores. Asked why they avoided traditional jewelers, respondents frequently answered, “Too many men.”

“You go into a jewelry store, and you see six employees, and four are men,” says Chatelain. “They don’t just want women, they want hipper women.”

Some also disdained the look of traditional stores, complaining they “can’t try on anything comfortably,” “every store looks the same,” “they’re not talking to me,” and “it’s all so white, I need color to accessorize.”

“We have always had this problem,” says Chatelain. “The reality is that women like color, they like fashion. They like a place that is more messy, not sterile. And that is what jewelry stores are, they are kind of sterile. They are almost too staged. Even a department store can get kind of messy sometimes.

“Women are drawn to touch and feel. Jewelry stores are designed by men, for men, to educate men about diamonds, and I think it’s hampered us. Every store is white on white, white diamonds and white backgrounds. And it all looks alike. Take a look at people who are doing really with jewelry, like Kendra Scott. They lay out all their items, but there is color and a difference to it.”

(Top: Getty Images)

JCK News Director

7 responses to “Self-Purchasing Customers Down on Traditional Jewelry Stores”

  1. That’s been the basis of my estate jewelry business for decades, and now it’s my son’s. Add in that these “self-purchasing” women are much more attuned to bang-for-the-buck than guys who are dazzled by too much lighting, sappy promotions, and fancy boxes/papers…”a cool vintage diamond/platinum right-hand ring for a grand that I can see/try/feel/choose for myself or the same promo-grade white gold ring that is advertised ad nauseum on TV and every jeweler in the mall has in the case?”…Not a tough choice for them, and a lot more fun when they can experience the thrill of a treasure hunt in a case full of one-of-a-kinds instead of a sterile selection of similar designs.

    Not necessarily in agreement with the man/woman thing though. I was mostly always a one-man show as is my son now. It’s all in the casual, conversive, fun approach than a gender thing, and it doesn’t hurt that son is a studly young man with a gift for schmooze…the old girls around pricey Palm Beach Gardens love that and have the money to hit up nearby Tiffany if they want or even Worth Ave. across the bridge in Palm Beach proper, but he has no shortage of ladies who choose the selection and experience he provides them instead. And even my ugly old self still has women come up to me in restaurants etc. in our little Central FL town and tell me how much they miss coming in with a friend on their lunch hour to have a little fun and pick up a trinket; often they’ll tell me (even show me) that something they bought from me years ago is still one of their favorites, and not necessarily the expensive stuff.

    Like most businesses and life in general, jewelry stores have become way too structured and impersonal, exactly the opposite of what the unique, personal, and intimate experience of buying/wearing jewelry is all about. It ain’t rocket science, it’s just human nature and common sense.

    • JT Curtiss…I so agree, and people still want to make informed decisions…be personable,, be courteous and know your customer base. I used to own my own jewelry business and I had many repeat customers…65% were women who made there own purchases…and they avoid the same cookie cutter choices and they want different and smart about their spending choices. I helped that I sold jewelry at every price point and sold at wholesale prices vs the traditional mall store markup

  2. One of our new retail partners, who just launched VIBHOR a couple of weeks back, was telling me that the first four (diamond) rings he sold were all sold to female self-purchasers. I’ll have to call him and tell him that market is dead. Bummer.

  3. Good article . Times have changed and the retail selling has to change in the stores. same thing same sales same a lot of things. When I ran stores I made the store different the employees different. Customer like to be important, they like friendship sincere, not always pushing credit and product. It needs to be a store were they feel at home and know were not just their for the sale and the credit and the protection plan. It’s something that has to be build into the staff and the store as normal day. It makes it so much easier to then have a store with good sales volume and a great place to enter into the doors, without feeling like your going to be attacked or the store feels like going into a jewelers like some were you feel intimated or just not welcome. You want a 4 million dollar store and everyone buy and come back. Keep this in mind and always really feel this and train this and the sales will happen without the push push way. Sell yourself and on true emotions on your side and their side. With this no worries of mixed feelings buying from your store.

    • well…the corporate climate is so different, and they teach and force their sales people to push credit and the product…often, pushing an item the customer didn’t come in for, because they don’t have that product so there is also a 50/50 chance that consumer will bring it back

  4. I myself just as a customer atract more to the type of stores like yours. I feel like there are too much simple, everyday pieces in the market and way too much diamonds. As much as I love diamonds, I love gemstones, both semi precious and precious gemstones, but it seems like today the only choices are diamonds.

  5. Well, in the shop I work for, we are all women, with one occasional male goldsmith who comes in once in a while. Woman owner, 2 women goldsmiths – great place to work for. We laugh a lot and it’s a great place to work for.

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