Professional Jeweler Archive: Tying the Knot

February 2005

The Store / Image


Tying the Knot

Gordon's new signature stores reach out to Gen Y couples getting hitched

BY MICHAEL THOMPSON


Armed with a new store concept and strategy, Gordon’s Jewelers hopes to win the respect and loyalty of betrothed Generation Y couples, attracting them with engagement and bridal jewelry and beginning a lifetime of patronage.

To earn customer loyalty, the 300-store division of the Zale Corp. began phasing in the new design at the first Gordon’s signature store, which opened in November in Westfield Shoppingtown, Annapolis, MD.

The Bridal Target

The company identified the bridal business, which already accounts for more than 40% of Gordon’s sales, as one core segment from which to set a strong foundation for the future.

One part of the Gordon’s strategy is to enhance the space devoted to selling bridal goods. The new 2,585 sq.-ft. store boasts a larger collection of bridal jewelry than other Gordon’s stores and dedicates one wall of showcases to the category. Sit-down bridal showcases and a diamond room are focal points.

The bridal area was designed to capture customers’ attention with a dropped lighted ceiling, soft plaster wall finishes, new graphics in silverleaf frames and top-of-counter lighting for a residential feel.

“The sit-down bridal cases and diamond viewing room reflect Gordon’s positioning as the relationship expert as well as our commitment to providing the best environment to assist customers with their fine jewelry purchases,” says Mary L. Forté, president and CEO of Zale Corp.

Know the Market

Because not all sales are bridal, the second major part of the new generation of Gordon’s stores involves how each is stocked with merchandise. Goods in each new store are chosen specifically for that market. In a process called “merchandise versioning,” the chain analyzes its stores and places them into small groups that tend to order similar items. This grouping will diversify the stores enough to account for more localized tastes and buying habits. It could create, for instance, a city with two Gordon’s stores that offer a different jewelry mix.

“Gordon’s Jewelers is differentiating itself from the competition through a tailored merchandise assortment that uses its distinct understanding of local differences,” says David Sternblitz, vice president and treasurer of Zale Corp. “This understanding of its customer combined with a larger, more developed bridal business creates an opportunity to establish a significant relationship with [him or her].”

Employees are being retrained to become “relationship experts” who essentially work like consultants. They will monitor customers’ needs more closely as they proceed through a wedding or other event for which they intend to buy jewelry.

Many of those events will be echoed in the increased use of emotion-laden graphic displays that showcase lifestyle images and highlight specific life celebrations.

With these changes in mind, Gordon’s expect to hear “I do” more often at its sales counters.

Frank Mroczka, president of Gordon’s Jewelers, and Mary L. Forté, president and CEO of Zale Corp., open the new Gordon’s signature store in Annapolis, MD. The store is designed to attract Gen Y bridal customers and retain their loyalty.
Inside the new signature Gordon’s store, wood details and Art Deco-inspired design enhance the expanded bridal selection and a private diamond viewing room. Soft lighting, cozy lamps, flowers and romantic photos make the whole atmosphere more comfortable for retro-loving Gen Y couples.

Copyright © 2005 by Bond Communications