Professional Jeweler Archive: What Happens When a Store's Gender Mix Shifts?

September 2001


What Happens When a Store's Gender Mix Shifts?

A former bastion of no-frills efficiency transforms its stores to appeal to women with emotional messages. If it works with photos, imagine what you can do with jewelry

How will the jewelry industry look if the trend of women buying for themselves gets as big as some experts predict? A look at the MotoPhoto photo-finishing chain might be instructive.

Like the jewelry industry, one-hour film developers such as MotoPhoto have a history of making a majority of sales to men. When the company was founded a quarter century ago, research showed men made up 65% of the customer base. So the company went with the basics: Functional, efficient little kiosks, often located in shopping-center parking lots where customers could drop off and pick up orders quickly.

Photo Play

Recent research, however, showed women now account for 60% of patrons, so company executives decreed the stores needed a more feminine image. The result is colorful stores filled with lifestyle graphics, products grouped for quick shopping and hanging signs that highlight distinct areas.

Other signs serve as solutions for selling, says Ron Mohney, MotoPhoto’s director of design and construction. “We try to have signs that support why you would use certain products, and we change those on a regular basis,” says Mohney. Above the checkout, for example, MotoPhoto’s new slogan, “Focus on life … we’ll worry about your pictures,” subtly plays on the commonly expressed observation that women have too much to do.

“In catering to women, we hope to evoke a more keepsake, heartfelt sort of emotional need,” designer Scott Jeffrey tells Display & Design Ideas magazine. “Overall, we wanted to build a place where customers can come and get their memories. By using a sky graphic, we wanted to imply that their imagination is the limit.”

Expanded Services

A MotoPhoto store is divided into an Imagination Center, where customers can use digital imaging technology; a portrait studio, which also provides passport photos; and a customer-service area with a photo-finishing lab.

The Imagination Center’s accessible environment has a user-friendly kiosk that allows customers to copy photographs or transform images into posters, computer screensavers or other products. The center is featured prominently in each store.

This user-friendly, interactive layout is one you might consider when redoing your store to capture the attention of the burgeoning number of women who don’t always wait for the men in their lives to buy jewelry and timepieces for them.

– by Mark E. Dixon

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications