The Handbag Theory — Do Women With Great Handbags Shop for More Jewelry?

The Female Self-Purchase Shopper
by Caroline Stanley

The female self-purchase shopper can be a dream come true.

She browses.
She buys.
She wears.
She tells her friends.
If you treat her right, she comes back for more.

Really, what more could you want in a customer? How can you get and keep more of these elusive buyers, ones that only help your bottom line, but also brings you more customers?

I know it’s an ongoing topic (Hedda addressed it long ago in an editorial which is still savvy: ; take a few minutes and read it). You’d think everyone was ready and waiting for the women at this point, but they are not.

I know from experience that being a female self-purchaser is not always easy. Even last weekend when I was ready to plunk down good money for a powerful new laptop, the salesperson at the computer store kept answering my questions while looking at my husband. Annoying, to say the least — as this was a business purchase that he had no financial stake in.

Currently, I have a few friends that shopped for jewelry in other states; and one local one who just was in a jewelry store recently browsing. All were nicely dressed females carrying expensive handbags, generally a huge clue (the handbag, I mean). Most of them were able to browse with no interaction and even had trouble finding help when it was wanted. Each could have been easily talked into a pair of earrings, bracelet or the like that cost $500 or less (the cost of a very nice handbag, but lasts longer). Instead each left without buying anything…..on to the next jewelry store or handbag shop.

Handbags are one clue to a woman’s shopping habits. If your potential customer is wearing a nice one, ask her about it. If you’re not sure, ask anyway and see if she drops an expensive name. If so, don’t show her the $75 sterling earrings. Instead start with the $500 pair with sparkly gemstones and see how it goes. You can always sell down if you have to.

Today’s Jewel
Keep the women self purchaser in mind as you stock your store, market your jewelry and train your employees. Watch for her as she comes in and cultivate her and her friends as customers. Pay attention to her handbag. If it’s a nice one and she bought it herself, she’s likely to be more receptive to better goods.