Why Retailers Shouldn’t Mirror Their Own Images in Marketing

Running a jewelry store successfully is no mean feat. More than 80 percent of startups don’t survive the first five years, so count yourself in the minority. Your business is no doubt a source of pride, and it deserves to be.

Sometimes, however, a preoccupation with your perceived store image can work against you. We’ve lost count of the number of advertisements we’ve seen from retailers that contain a big, bright picture of the happy owners at the top, or the name of the business emblazoned in lights, while the useful information—the offer—is farther down the page, almost as an afterthought. Becoming too focused on yourself at the expense of your customers is not a successful recipe for business.

Too often, retailers put too much time and effort into making the ad, email, or letter “look pretty” rather than ensuring that the headline, wording, and call to action are tailored correctly. We’ve seen some very effective ads that have pulled great responses, yet they consisted of little more than words, with few or no graphics or images. We’ve seen other ads that were visually stunning but failed to deliver; the clever graphics and pretty colors obstructed the essential message.

A preoccupation with store image can also be ­counterproductive when organizing promotions. Some of the most successful promotions are very simple in approach, and, in some cases, deliberately down-market without being tacky. One of our most successful promos, which involves using two jigsaw puzzles, has never failed to convert at least 15 percent of customers coming in; in one case, a store achieved a conversion rate over 30 percent. Yet despite the proven numbers, some jewelers still hesitate to run it because it doesn’t fit their perception of their store. Whether your store is upmarket or not, your customers still want to have fun.

By all means, having and maintaining a standard is important, as is looking to create a consistent brand, or image, for your store. But don’t forget: Your customers don’t think of your store the way you do. If you run a promotion that is a little different or out there, they aren’t going to stop coming because it’s not what you normally do. They won’t think of you badly because, let’s be honest, most of the time they don’t think about you at all.

Understanding that your customers just don’t care is actually a liberating thought, because it frees you up to do things you wouldn’t otherwise do. Your image, in most cases, is normally only an issue to you. Let it be an asset that builds your business, not a liability that restricts you from doing the things that will increase your sales.

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