According to Doug Hucker, executive director of the American Gem Trade Association (AGTA), “The consumer is crying out for confidence.” In response, AGTA has developed a new program called the Color Seal of Confidence, a multi-pronged campaign aimed at increasing colored stone and cultured pearl purchases. It will include online training in both colored gemstones and cultured pearls to give the retail sales force more confidence in the gems they sell. It also will include coordinated consumer/trade advertising and public relations efforts.
Everyone is prepared to sell diamonds, Hucker points out, thanks to De Beers and promotion of the “four Cs.” And customers know more about diamonds because of information obtained from the Internet and from jewelers. But if you want to sell more color, says Hucker, you have to chain your employees to the colored gemstone case.
Hucker advises ensuring that salespeople can answer a few simple questions: “What is it?” “How much is it?” and “Why does it cost that much?” If you expect your customer to feel comfortable buying colored gemstones in your store, then your sales staff must be confident in selling it, he insists—which is one of the purposes of the CSC program. Hucker notes that more people buy colored stone jewelry from retail jewelers than from any other venue. But if your customers have found more information about the gemstone on the Internet than what they get from your sales staff, he warns, they’re less likely to buy from you.
Consumer confidence can be gained through other avenues as well, he says. For example, “If you have a report [on a stone] from a laboratory, this will dramatically increase your chances of selling that gemstone. It confirms, from a third-party source, that they’re making the right purchase decision.” It’s no guarantee, Hucker says, and he certainly doesn’t believe that every gemstone should have a lab report, but they do make consumers more comfortable and more likely to buy colored gems.
For more information about the new CSC program, call AGTA communications manager James Marker at (800) 972-1162.