What do customers really want? Well, it turns out that it’s not espresso, or a glass of wine. After all, there are cafes and bars for those things – with much better selection! No, consumers don’t want their retail jewelers to become cafes any more than they expect their neighborhood bar to serve up housewares. But we’re told we need to do more customer engagement – so what is that anyway?
What consumers really want is information. Lots and lots of information, in the form of descriptions, images, video, comparisons, and reviews. Before the internet, consumers had to walk into a jewelry store to learn about jewelry. Oh, they may have been able to find a few articles on diamond characteristics or keeping your silver jewelry clean. But for the most part, they were dependent on professional sales people to fill in their gaps of knowledge and guide them to a good purchase decision. They didn’t necessarily like it, but trusting a sales person in a jewelry store was ultimately their best (or only) option.
Shopping Has Changed
Not today. Today, a consumer can go online and shop, research, investigate, and learn as much as they want before ever entering a store. They can create Pinterest boards of their favorite styles, search Instagram for their favorite jewelry hashtags, and text links of great jewelry finds to friends and family. By the time the consumer walks into a store to buy (which she still does, over 74% of the time), she knows what she wants, how much she expects to pay for it, and where to find it.
Does that mean retail as we know it is dead? Absolutely not! But it does mean that we can no longer sell the way we once did. Before, the consumer entered the store and then we started selling. Today, we need to be selling long before she ever arrives. In fact, if we aren’t selling during her research phase, it’s pretty much a guarantee that she won’t show up at all. How do you do this? With strong online presence, including extensive inventory available to buy or show right away. If your website doesn’t currently include all your inventory, that’s the first thing to address.
Empower Your Customers
From there, using tools like the VDB App Platform can significantly extend your inventory offering without adding to your inventory costs. Once you have lots and lots of great product (and great product images!) to show, it’s time to bulk up your site with the kind of information your customer is looking for when researching jewelry, diamonds, and gemstones. As it turns out, the main ingredient of this elusive thing called customer engagement is empowerment. When you empower your customer to learn everything she wants to learn about buying from you, her trust and confidence will increase dramatically. And that is what brings customers in the door these days.