Five types of customers shop Signet stores, CEO Mark Light said at an investment conference in June.
America’s largest jeweler recently commissioned a study of middle-market consumers, part of its effort to differentiate flagship Kay brand from the recently acquired Zales. It defined middle-market shoppers as those who purchase items in the $100 to $10,000 range. That market totals $41 billion, said Signet chief financial officer Michele Santana; Signet currently claims more than 10 percent of it.
The research found that jewelry customers are primarily differentiated by attitude, rather than age or income. In other words, the most important factor in determining when and where a person will buy is his or her feelings about the product.
Dividing customers by segments “allows us to look and communicate on attitudinal triggers and messaging that is more appropriate based on how someone feels about jewelry and what they want to express with jewelry,” said George Murray, the company’s chief merchandise and marketing officer. “We are not saying that if you are coming into Kay and you are not a gifter, go across the hall to Zales.… It’s just the way to target and incrementally grow the business at a faster rate.”
The company found middle-market jewelry customers break down into the following categories:
The sentimentalist. “This customer likes high-quality jewelry with sentimental value and looks for timeless pieces that last,” said Light.
Sentimentalists largely go to Jared, said chief operating officer Ed Hrabak. “This person likes the idea of participating in the ownership experience, picking out the diamond, choosing their style, understanding the qualities,” he said.
The gifter. “This customer literally buys jewelry only as a gift,” said Light. “He or she doesn’t know much about jewelry and frankly doesn’t enjoy the shopping experience. But they know they better buy some jewelry.”
Many gifters shop at Kay, Hrabak said. “They desire considerable guidance from a jewelry expert,” he said. “They want to be certain they buy at a jeweler they can trust.”
The stylish shopper. “This customer likes the extra bling they get from jewelry, wears jewelry often, and thinks about it as part of an outfit,” Light said.
Stylish shoppers wear many different kinds of jewelry, and perhaps because of that, shop at many different jewelers, including Kay, Jared, and Zales.
The influencer. “This customer buys jewelry for others or him or herself, uses jewelry to show status, and cares very much about brands,” said Light.
Influencers are a prime target for Zales, said Murray.
“The [Zales and Kay] customers don’t overlap as much as we thought,” he added, noting it will keep differentiating Zales to serve those customers.
The practical shopper. “This customer is a low-key purchaser who likes inexpensive jewelry and likes to wear it every day,” said Light.
One final nugget from the research: The No. 1 factor for customers in choosing a jeweler is, not surprisingly, trust.