Marketing Conspicuous Consumption in 2009

Toward the end of his presidency George H.W. Bush suggested that the United States wouldn’t be in a recession if only people would stop behaving as if they were in a recession. But Americans were worried about the economy and reluctant to loosen their purse strings and start spending again.

Here we are again. Jewelry stores are facing luxury shoppers who think they should repress their buying impulses. This psychology is a strong barrier to the purchase of jewelry at any price level, but especially at luxury prices. Jewelry sales associates need to jolt consumers out of their doom and gloom and rescue them from their worries.

Store managers mustn’t let sales associates buy into the negative feelings many shoppers convey. Salespeople must present fabulous jewelry as exactly that, without remorse or regret, and encourage shoppers to try on pieces, which can change how people feel about treating themselves to luxury. When jewelry shoppers are wearing jewelry, they start to internalize the wonderful feeling it gives them. We all can benefit from internalizing more positive feelings during these difficult economic times.

Jewelry sales professionals need to check the vibes they’re giving off to shoppers and suppress any negative attitudes. They must celebrate every sales opportunity and share with shoppers everything that’s wonderful about jewelry.

If jewelers want customers to stop feeling guilty about their interest in luxury jewelry, then they have to alter their own perceptions of customers’ ability to buy. Approach every shopper as someone who desperately needs and deserves a positive attitude adjustment via a wonderful shopping experience. Sales associates should deliver that experience with dynamic jewelry sales presentations and product demonstrations. They’ll feel better, and guild-ridden luxury shoppers will begin to change their attitudes about buying fabulous jewelry.