By Jessica Vanderhouten, of Jewelers Mutual Insurance
We’ve all heard the catch phrase “don’t sweat the small stuff”, but in retail nothing could be further from the truth, especially this holiday season. Facing the busiest time of year and increased traffic, it’s easy to overlook what might be the most important brand initiative — the store experience.
The store experience is more important than ever. According to a 2016 report by Forrester Research, the brands that offer exceptional customer experiences bring in 5.7 times more revenue than their competitors1.
As a luxury retailer, the expectation of exceptional service is even greater to today’s consumer. It is the experience that will get customers talking about you. In an age where everyone can comment, like and share online, outstanding customer service defines your brand. It is the biggest differentiator and plays a key role in making this holiday season the most successful ever.
What can you do as a retailer to “wow” your customer in your store this holiday? Here are five tips:
1) Have a robust website
Although not an experience your customers will have in your store, a great website visit is an integral part of the purchase journey.
According to a survey conducted by Retail Dive, more than 65% of consumers conduct online product research before stepping foot in any store2. But, there is good news for retail jewelers. In a survey by TimeTrade, 85% of U.S. consumers prefer to buy in a physical store even if they can purchase the same product online.
2) Be personal
You’re not just selling a product; you’re selling something your customers loved one will treasure. Get to know the person across the counter and make a connection. To do this well, you need to make sure your staff is adequately trained. Providing outstanding customer service is the key to an enhanced store experience. Exceptional product knowledge instills confidence and provides the value of shopping with a local independent.
Beyond product knowledge, speak to them about services they may not be familiar with such as how to care for their jewelry. Include a complimentary Pearls of Wisdom brochure from Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group, which explains how to care for their jewelry. You can order free copies for your store by visiting http://info.jewelersmutual.com/order-jeweler-resources.
Explain your store benefits and mention the importance of insuring their new purchase.
3) Do something unexpected
Consider an inexpensive gift to give the customer as your holiday gift to them. Surprise them with the gift at your point of sale while the one they purchased is being wrapped.
Send cookies or a special treat to your top 100 customers.
During some of your busiest days and times, hire carolers to sing in your store to get everyone in the holiday mood.
Have a store (non-alcoholic) signature drink offered to every customer. Perhaps this is served in an engraved glass everyone can keep. Something special will be memorable.
4) Make sure you are adequately staffed
The key to a great store experience is to understand and respect your customers’ time. People want convenience.
Consider hiring temporary help during those busy last few weeks. Temporary help can be in charge of gift-wrapping; serving your customers a drink or snack; ringing up the sale; everything needed to ensure your customer isn’t waiting any longer than they should and is being tended to in a manner you would like yourself.
Remember, even if they aren’t directly involved in selling or bench work, everyone at your business should be properly trained on safety and security best practices.
5) Remember them after the sale
December is busy, but when traffic slows down a little in early January, every customer should receive a hand-written thank you note. If you are an owner, send a hand-signed letter welcoming them to your “family”.
In a world of everything digital, something hand-written will be noticed and appreciated.
Mark Devereaux, vice president of Sales for Jewelers Mutual, weighed in on the subject. “It’s time to recalibrate and reset expectations as we move into the new era of retail. Retail jewelers are in an enviable position,” stated Devereaux. “Jewelers sell emotion and something that will be treasured long after the sale. Couple that with an exceptional customer experience, and that’s the recipe for a successful holiday season,” he added.
Jewelers Mutual has several premium service programs to support storeowners in their quest to provide exceptional service. Simply contact a Jewelers Mutual sales manager at 800-336-5642, ext. 2118 or email firstname.lastname@example.org or complete a request form at http://jewelersmutual.com/customer-loyalty-programs-for-jewelers for information on programs you may be eligible for in your area.
About the author
Jessica VandenHouten, Brand Communications Manager at Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group, has helped earned Jewelers Mutual local and national recognition for its communications efforts including its blog, social media and media relations efforts. Through cross-channel marketing communications strategies, Jessica guides the marketing communications team to deliver on-brand messaging that facilitates business growth, enhances the customer experience and promotes loyalty to Jewelers Mutual products and services. Her integrated communications approach has been instrumental in bringing awareness to the jewelry insurance category and gaining recognition of the Jewelers Mutual brand throughout the jewelry industry and with jewelry-buying consumers.
1.Dicso, Jim, CEO, Sunday Sky (2017, October 19) Why Personalization is Key for Retail Customer Experiences Retrieved from https://www.retailcustomerexperience.com/blogs/why-personalization-is-key-for-retail-customer-experiences/.
2. Skrovan, Sandy (2017, May 17) Why Researching Online Shopping Offline is the New Norm Retrieved from https://www.retaildive.com/news/why-researching-online-shopping-offline-is-the-new-norm/442754/
3. Timetrade, 2017 State of Retail Survey Report, Retrieved from https://media.timetrade.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/29134355/TimeTrade_State_of_Retail_2017_Report.pdf