Your Image is defined as others perception of you, not your perception of yourself.
Let's go back to the times when the image of a Jeweller was very high. Customers trusted jewellers, and in the pecking order of retailers, jewellers were at the top. Image was automatically one of integrity, a price tag showed the price the item was sold for. Only jewellers knew about and sold diamonds, gold, silver and watches. In short, a very high image was automatically accorded to jewellers.
Today it's different. Diamonds have become a commodity. Jewellers are no longer the only knowledge base in town about diamonds, gold and silver. The new knowledge base is the Internet. Gold and silver are being sold in every second store in town. The XY generation have the time and alarm on their smartphone, so watches as a percent of sales, for most jewellers, are no longer as strong as they were and so it goes on.
Successful Jewellers have recognised the changed rules of retail and have set out to create an image they want to be seen as. If you have not already planned and created the image you want for your store, it is vital you do this.
First, let me set out the basis for determining an image. The first step is knowing your customer demographics. All humans fall into one of five categories.
These include people who have multi-millions and can afford to spend $100,000 and more on jewellery without blinking. In your market place, they will represent 1% to 7% of your population. There are Achievers who do not have any wealth, for example, Mother Teresa, Gandhi, Mandela, but for this article, we will refer to high-Income Achievers.
These are the people who aspire to become Achievers. They max their credit cards to show their wealth. They will represent 5 - 15% of your population.
In most developed countries this group represent a very high percentage (up to 70%) of the population. They belong to groups, clubs and follow the crowd. Some jewellers actively market to this segment. They are appealing directly to the subconscious of the Belongers.
4 - Socially Conscious
This group is driven by ideals more so than wealth. They will represent upwards 5% of your customer base. They typically do not spend much on jewellery.
5 -Financially Dependent
This unfortunate group rely on welfare, cannot afford a high level of spending on jewellery. They may range between 5 - 20% of your population. They also typically do not spend much on jewellery.
We all fall into one of the above five groups. While we can display traits of more than one group, we are pigeonholed into just one group. For example, Bill Gates is without a doubt in group 1 but gives millions away to the unprivileged so shows traits of group 4, however, he could not afford to do this unless he was first wealthy, so group 1 he belongs to.
The percentage split of the five groups differs from area to area. Your split will differ from just five to ten miles down the road.
So, you say, what has all this got to do with my store’s image? Well, it has a lot to do with how you should create your image to appeal to the customers you want in your store.
Let me illustrate with just a few of many case studies I have done over the years.
Case study 1
I have two clients in the same city, only 2 kilometres apart. Jeweller A has an average sale of just under $600 doing around $2.2m per year in sales while Jeweller B has an average sale of $2,700 doing just under $10m per year. Both sell around 3,700 items per year… that's right the same number of items! So why such a huge difference in average sale when they share the same customer base. My study revealed Jeweller A had unconsciously evolved an image of appealing to the Belongers, while Jeweller B had made a conscious decision to capture the Achievers and Emulators market, and has successfully done so. Both have a perception of their own image as being very good, but Jeweller A while having a good business has missed the boat when it comes to considering Image. He is still trading on the old days of his excellent reputation, but Jeweller B decision to set an image to attract Achievers and Emulators worked.
Case study 2
A client called me concerned he had hit a ceiling with his sales despite all efforts. I flew to his city and saw the reason within 5 minutes of reaching his store. His windows displays were as good as I have seen, with very upmarket jewellery displayed very tastefully. Walking into his store I faced a short tower cabinet with the option to walk left or right. The tower displayed just a half dozen items, again well displayed, but each item had a price tag of over $10,000. This store would have done very well in an area with a higher percentage of Achievers and Emulators, but the fact was, a very high percentage of his market was belongers due to the military bases around him. In examining his advertising (copies of newspaper adverts, TV commercials and website) it became very apparent he was pitching to a very narrow market while not appealing to his large market. We set about a change to appeal to his majority market, the Belongers. It took over 12 months of a changing marketing campaign to get his image in line with his major market.
Case study 3
A two store client who has a main street and a mall store in the same town was just not getting their share of diamond ring sales in the Mall store. When I walked into the mall to find out why I found five jewellers. Looking at each jewellers windows and a glance in the door gave me the perception that jewellers 1, 2, 4 and 5 all sold general jewellery, or typically chain store discounted gold, silver and watches. My perception was jeweller 3 sold diamond rings. The problem was, my client was not jeweler 3. What dominated my client's windows were Pandora, a low-end silver brand and low-end fashion watches. All three brands provided large, attractive window marketing signage, plus in-store signage and furniture. Sure there was a diamond ring display in a window, but it was totally lost by the brand signage. Looking into the store from the front door told much the same story. One of the salespeople said, "They call us the Pandora store" which was great if that was the image the client wanted. This was a clear case of the customers’ perception being 180 degrees away from the client’s perception.
I could quote many more case studies, but suffice to say a lot of jewellers have not thought about their image, so more often than not a jewellers image has evolved, rather than been planned.
Looking at the jewellery industry as a whole there are many different images. Not one size fits all. First, you clearly need to understand your customer demographics and determine your target market. Today more than ever this is a necessity. It's very hard to be seen as the $40 bead shop while at the same time be seen as the place to go to buy Diamond Rings.
Some questions to consider:
Do you have a clearly defined image you want to be seen as?
Does your image fit your customer base?
How do you create an image?
It takes a coordinated effort of:-
Store Policies. Warranties, exchange, refunds etc.
To wrap this article up. I know you are busy with your day to day workload, but take time to sit down with your staff and get them to write down "how do you think the people in this town perceive us". Recently I was in a client’s store and was advised by a staff member that her daughter (in her late twenties) and daughters friends never shopped in this store as they felt it was for old people.
It's worth taking the time to reassess your image to ensure it's in keeping up with the times. Make sure you involve the younger generation in your think tank.
Good luck with planning your store image to attract the customers that you have the best chance of selling to.