Regaining the Clock Niche
With attention to service, some jewelers work to sell more clocks
Too often a consumer enters a retail jewelry store to buy a fine clock
but leaves disappointed. With no clocks in stock, the jeweler loses a sale
and the customer leaves unsure about returning to what he once considered
a full-service jewelry store.
Retailers and manufacturers agree: consumers don't know where to buy
Visibility and Reputation
Many jewelry retailers feel clocks are more work than they can handle; most
of them say they don't have the personnel to explain, sell or service clocks.
However, retailers who maintain a fair-sized clock assortment report
strong add-on business with new customers and expanded opportunities for
a corporate-gift business. Even retailers with a small clock collection
report healthy corporate or wedding gift sales.
As a result, many well-known watch companies often those that
distribute only through jewelry stores have addressed this demand
by launching or expanding clock collections.
For many years, brands such as Howard Miller, Cartier, Tiffany, LaCross-McCormick,
Linden, Seiko, Bulova and Jaeger-LeCoultre have been among the largest fine
clock suppliers to fine jewelry stores. This year, brands including Coach,
Swiss Army, Breguet, Gucci, Wenger and Movado have added or increased their
clock collections. Particularly big this year is the travel alarm clock,which
many watch companies are introducing for the first time.
In the Niche of Time
Ironically, it was usually a sidewalk clock that beckoned the consumer into
fine jewelry stores in decades past. As many of these retailers pulled out
of the clock business, department stores or furniture stores, travel stores
and luggage stores split the business leaving consumers confused
and in need of a single source for fine clocks. This now-fractured market
opens up opportunities for independent jewelers.
The sidewalk clock doesn't always mean the jeweler carries fine clocks,
but perhaps, as some retailers suggest, the niche is just waiting for jewelers
to claim again.
by Michael Thompson
From U.S. clockmaker Howard Miller, the Michaels mantle clock is finished
in oak and has a Millennium inscription available only until the end of
this year. Suggested retail, $485.
Howard Miller, Zeeland, MI; (616) 772-9131.
Wenger's Standard Issue Travel Alarm clock features a self-standing
case, luminescent hands and ETA Swiss quartz movement. Retail, $165.
Wenger, Orangeburg, NY;(800) 431-2996, www.wengerna.com.
The Millennia desk clock has a multifunction dial with moonphase indicator
and month/day/date indicators. Suggested retail, $250.
Bulova, Woodside, NY; (718) 204-3534.
- Include clocks in your corporate gift and bridal packages.
- With fine clocks, emphasize service.
- Advertise "We sell clock keys." The key customer likely knows
- Be sure clocks in the store are working and on time.
- Place a light on wall clocks in the store or window during the evening.
This makes them easy to see from the sidewalk or road.
Source: Claude Guyot, Swiss Time, Portland, ME
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.