You’ve done the hard work of getting customers to your store. Your website is on point (see THIS BLOG to see what that entails – link to previous blog). You have run smart local and regional campaigns using both traditional and new media. You have built a great reputation and have solid word-of-mouth referrals. All these accomplishments have taken time and money. And now a customer is in your store . . . and she can’t find what she wants.
Do you let her walk out?
No! It has already cost you so much to get her there. Now you have to pull out all the stops to find out what she wants, and show her how you can get it to her.
This is where your store merchandising strategy becomes very important. Most retailers think about their merchandising strategy as their approach to finding the right lines, stocking the right products, and setting the right prices. But there is more to merchandising strategy than that. It’s also about who you call for special items, and how responsive they can be. You’ve probably already implemented a process for this with loose diamonds, so you know what we’re talking about. And, if your diamond vendors are extremely responsive and have good inventory, you’re probably happy. But what if your diamond vendor isn’t as fast or as well-stocked as you require? Then what?
Today’s jewelry retailer needs an inventory partner beyond the loose diamonds. Consumers can readily find over one million jewelry items for sale online today. They would rather buy from a legitimate store, but if the choice is between finding the exact thing they want and working with a trusted store, they are more receptive every day to taking a chance online.
So you need to show them that you are a trusted store and that you are their resource to find just the thing they are looking for. By becoming the “whole package,” you make it easy to find and win new customers.
So, back to our heart-stopping scenario. A consumer is standing in front of you, saying, “I just don’t see anything I like. . . “ She looks apologetic, but she’s also inching backward toward the door. It won’t do you any good to drag her through the cases again – she’s already looked and not found what she wants. No . . . it’s time to pull out your smart phone or tablet and show her the other 700,000 items you have to offer. And yes, this is a shameless plug for the VDB app.
Using the app, you can turn her disappointing visit into an opportunity to engage, entertain, and find the thing she is looking for. You can search across diamonds (including lab-grown), color gemstones, and jewelry. If you have multiple stores, you can look at what is available at your other locations. If you belong to a buying group (RJO and CBG), you can look at just the inventory coming from your preferred vendors. You can find new vendors and new products that you’ve never carried before.
That customer who acted like she had $3,000 to spend, but really only wants to spend $500? She’ll find something. That customer who is looking for the shield-shaped tanzanite? She’ll find it. That customer who wants something very specific to go with her outfit for her upcoming class reunion? She’ll find it. The chances that your customer will find something she wants before leaving your store go way way up when you pull out the VDB app and start to show her all the options.
A lot has been written and said about creating “experiences” in your store. This has led to coffee bars, wine tastings, and even facials (????) in jewelry stores! But when customers come to visit you, they’re looking for jewelry. So show them more jewelry, all the jewelry!, and you’ll find that this is the best experience you can possibly offer.