August 14, 2019
By Heather Hamilton
Jewellery is almost always personal. As such, it’s only natural for your customers to expect a personalized shopping experience and product.
The numbers are difficult to ignore: 80 per cent of consumers are more likely to buy from a shop that offers a unique product and experience. Embracing the unexpected and offering your customers convenient add-on services, such as engraving, resizing, and custom designs, can help you stand out from the competition and create a memorable shopping experience.
When you introduce additional services to your clients, what you’re really offering is convenience. After all, this is the age of meal-kit delivery, peer-to-peer ride-sharing services, and quick-serve coffee—all of which are efficient and convenient services that help maximize every minute of a fast-paced day.
Offering in-store services such as size adjustments, polishing, and repairs means your customer can get everything they need in one stop. If you’re able to meet or anticipate all of a client’s needs, you’re much more likely to build a long-term relationship rather than lose them to a competitor.
It often pays to offer some small services for free. While this might seem counter-intuitive, this level of customer service can pay off in the long run. For one, the more time a customer spends in your store, the more opportunity there is for them to make additional purchases. Offering complimentary services also introduces a heightened level of service clients appreciate, which increases loyalty and retention.
Consider the following:
As with all services, be sure to maintain an efficient process for keeping track of the details. This will help you set accurate expectations for how long the work will take, which allows you to provide your clients with a concrete time and day when they can pick up their order. If a customer comes in and their item is not ready, the service is no longer convenient. This may create a negative experience that prevents them from returning in the future.
Be sure to promote all of the services you offer to drive home the convenience factor to your customers.
Sizing, cleaning, and repair services present an opportunity to showcase your craftsmanship and expertise, which helps build trust with your clients.
Jewellery is frequently gifted to commemorate a special occasion or achievement, to serve as a token of love, or to express one’s personal style. The client who purchased a watch at your store doesn’t want to bring it just anywhere if it needs an adjustment or polish; they want you to help them because they trust you. Customers appreciate knowing their special item is safe and in good hands—and that the brand they purchased it from cares about more than their wallet.
The trust a customer has in a brand manifests itself in a variety of ways. More than a ‘nice to have,’ this established relationship frequently drives return on investment (ROI) and repeat business.
Consider the following:
When a customer comes into your store, make the experience about more than the transaction: walk them through the process of how you cared for their item and educate them on how they can continue to care for it at home. Providing an exceptional level of care for a piece brought in by a client demonstrates respect, which further establishes a customer relationship built on trust. In a world that is becoming increasingly automated, shoppers often feel as though they are a number rather than an individual. Adding personal touches to your services allows you to provide the human touch many consumers crave.
As the industry focus shifts to prioritize increased efficiency and lower labour costs in manufacturing, many industry professionals note that design often suffers. While there will always be a demand for trendy basic pieces, when consumers come across the same cookie-cutter item in every store, competitive edge becomes nothing more than price.
In light of these changes in manufacturing, many small business owners have prioritized customer service. This, however, has also had consequence; superior customer service has evolved from a value-add to a common expectation.
None of this is to say you should not focus on customer service, nor steer clear of trending styles. It simply means you must find an additional edge to stand apart from the competition and offer a superior shopping experience.
Those who keep a close eye on industry trends tend to make note of the same thing: consumers want unique designs. Expand your product offerings beyond trending basics to include one-of-a-kind pieces, such as jewellery created by local designers, hand-made work, or customized items. After all, it can be challenging for independent designers to find success in the direct-to-consumer jewellery space, and this creates partnership opportunities for business owners and/or manufacturers. If you are in the position to expand your business to include new designers, begin by researching online or attending networking events and trade shows to forge mutually beneficial unions with independent artists.
Likewise, offering personalized jewellery is another accessible way to satisfy your customers’ desire for the unique. Birthstone or monogrammed items have maintained their popularity, and search engine optimization (SEO) tools are able to confirm the keywords consumers are searching for and what items are trending at any particular time.
Investing in engraving tools can help streamline your personalization services. When choosing between a machine and hand-wielded equipment, consider the added value that comes with engraving by hand. Even if you are capitalizing on a popular trend, such as monogrammed items, craftsmanship and thoughtful attention to detail will further set your work apart from machine-manufactured pieces.
While quality customer service is a must, a design-first approach that prioritizes both craftsmanship and attention to detail can do wonders in elevating your brand from the rest.
Today’s consumers want to support brands that are authentic—this is especially true of millennials, who represent a fast-growing demographic of jewellery buyers. Indeed, in regards to purchasing, consumers in this age bracket look at price, quality, and convenience, but, more than anything, they seek relatability and connection. From ethically sourced materials, to honesty and integrity, to unique pieces, millennial shoppers tend to gravitate towards brands that promote the values and ideals with which they personally identify.
Consider the following:
Demonstrate your authenticity through transparency; share the story of the pieces you carry and the factors that make them unique; share where the materials were sourced, the designer’s story, the meaning behind the piece, and any other thoughtful details.
You have the formula for how to outshine your competitors and create a memorable shopping experience: offer convenience, build trust, be design-driven, and prioritize authenticity. Begin by looking at every aspect of your business, from the pieces in your store to the relationships you have built with your customers, and ask yourself how you can grow and improve your personalized services.
Heather Hamilton writes content for Lightspeed POS to help independent retailers and restaurateurs stay competitive and run a smarter business. For more information, visit www.lightspeedhq.com.
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