Professional Jeweler Archive: Fostering Loyalty

July 2003

Image


Fostering Loyalty

It isn't just ads. Product quality and customer relationships count too


You see some interesting things when you surf cable TV. I recently spotted a puzzled woman standing still next to her grocery cart. The problem? The peanut butter she wanted was missing from the shelf.

The program examined the impact brand names have on shopping patterns. Though surrounded by other brands of peanut butter, the woman moved them aside carelessly, searching behind, above and below for her favorite. Eventually, she decided to buy elsewhere. Asked what prompted her behavior, the shopper responded, “The others may be fine, but this is what I remember having when I was a kid. I feel good about using it.”

That brand made her feel something so positive she was willing to go out of her way to get it. That kind of relationship with a consumer isn’t forged solely by TV spots or print ads. Yes, a great commercial that evokes a strong emotional reaction is important in establishing a brand’s identity and may get first-time customers through the door. But if you want them to return, you have to provide the product and service they expect. For example:

  • Be discriminating about the look of your store and your product mix. Do they delight your customers?
  • Be selective about your staff. Do they forge a relationship with every customer? Do they offer refreshments? They should chitchat to learn something about customers, their families and their interests.
  • Make customers feel special every time they come in. Reward people for stopping by even when they don’t buy. Perhaps offer manicure gift certificates to women, enclosed in a card telling them: “Sorry we couldn’t pamper you with new jewelry. How about a new nail color?” Give car wash certificates to men shopping for their wives. It could read: “We won’t tell her you were here. Just say you got the car washed.”
  • Fine jewelry is an important, emotion-filled purchase, so treat it as such. When a couple come in to try on engagement rings, take their picture, frame it and send it with the following note: “Thanks for making us part of the picture. Cherish this moment forever.”
  • The more you know about your customers, the more personal you can be. If you know a couple’s wedding date, send a first-anniversary card. If you know when their son graduates, drop him a “nice job” e-mail. If you learn that many customers attend the same charity events, be there alongside them. Better yet, be a sponsor or donate a raffle item. Several of our clients buy cubic zirconia then donate them for sale to attendees. At the end of the evening, one number is announced, revealing the holder of a real diamond. Guests can bring their CZs to the store to be mounted at a special price – signaling the start of dozens of new relationships. Another jeweler passes out free bug spray at outdoor events. The label on the bottle reads: “We won’t bug you here. But when you’re ready for fine jewelry, drop in.”

Want customers to pass up all the other “peanut butter” jars on your shelf? Good advertising, coupled with strong relationship-building can go a long way to making you their “up-close and personal” choice.

– by Denise Meyer

Denise Meyer is creative director for Fruchtman Marketing, a full-service agency in Toledo, OH, representing independent jewelers throughout the U.S. Reach the agency by contacting Ellen Fruchtman at (419) 539-2770, ellen@fruchtman.com, www.fruchtman.com.

Copyright © 2003 by Bond Communications