July 24, 2018
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Yes, competition is everywhere for retailers, as we highlighted last month, but jewelry is still an in-person purchase for most consumers. JCK News Director Rob Bates discussed how to optimize both your online and instore experience in "State of Retail: Growing Segments," at the JCK Las Vegas Show. Let’s look at some of the best ideas to get customers from click to “brick.”

Search Is Everything

The importance for jewelry companies to have an online presence cannot be denied. Bates reported that 81% of consumers search online to research big ticket purchases but less than 10% actually buy their jewelry online. In fact, another survey showed that only 1/3 of consumers have bought jewelry online, however that had increased from 10% the previous year.

In-Store Is Still King

For jewelers, while you must have an online presence to capture customer interest, instore is still the primary channel to purchase. Blue Nile former CEO Harvey Canter stated, “Millennials are so experiential, so oriented to having an experience that the single biggest objection to buying online … is ‘I can’t see, touch and feel it.’” Younger consumers still love to shop at stores, and 62% of those surveyed said they prefer the “show, touch and feel” of the in-person shopping experience.

For the jewelry industry the instore experience is even more vital because:
  • Jewelry is a visual product
  • Jewelry is high-value product (it is nerve-wracking to have an expensive piece mailed to you)
  • Jewelry product is not standardized from one store to the next, like a pair of jeans or shoes from your favorite brand.
  • Jewelry requires some education. In fact, 50% of online diamond shoppers talk to customer support.

Emphasize Brick & Mortar Advantages

Therefore, the modern retail experience doesn’t need to be online-only. Instead, successful jewelry retailers need to emphasize and excel at the instore experience. The first element of this is to maximize the advantages of your instore experience:
  • Stress local roots and tie into the “buy local” movement
  • Salespeople must be knowledgeable. Rob stated a survey that revealed that 85% of shoppers surveyed think they know more than the sales associate.
  • Your service must stand out; offer drinks, refreshments, entertain customers.
  • Make it fun

“All of our business models are under threat. So what you have to do is offer a top customer service experience,” Rob explained.

Bring “Click to Brick”

Successful retailers listen and experiment. Your instore experience must evolve to reflect the way people shop today. Every decision you make surrounding instore customer experience should consider how to make it easier for people to shop and find exactly what they are looking for quickly. Here are some of the biggest current trends in driving online clicks into your physical store & keeping them there:

Ship to store
Allowing someone online to purchase and have the item picked up instore is a good option for high-value product like jewelry. Signet reported that 30% of the company’s online sales involve this.

Integrate online features into your store
  • Place QR codes near key pieces so customers can scan and get information stored on their phone or see product details.
  • Think about curating displays, in the same way successful websites segment products, so shoppers can quickly find what they want. Consider: a Staff Favorites showcase, seasonal trends, Top Sellers.

Integrate Social Media into Displays
Click to Brick can go both ways; retailers can utilize the online content they are generating from their website or social media accounts for their instore experience. It keeps people focused on the products in front of them versus looking up ratings and reviews online. Several retail chains have had success with this:
  • Nordstrom features “most pinned” items and spotlights their most popular on Pinterest
  • Best Buy now displays the average customer rating next to some products so people can still see in store how others rated it.
  • Amazon Books features online customer reviews next to featured book displays, and the store is structured to reflect the browsable segmenting its users love on Amazon.com.

Get into the Retailtainment game
To capture and keep your customers in store, retailers need to make the experience entertaining. You want to create experiences the customers that enter your store want to leave and share with others. Consider instore classes, concerts, or an instore art exhibit.

As Rob Bates emphasized: successful retailers listen and experiment, and great jewelers get customers. Any of these ideas can transform you to a great jeweler with great instore experience.
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