January 10, 2000
Just because it's the year 2000 and we spend hours each day in cyberspace, jewelers shouldn't forget the flesh, blood and hormonal realities of the jewelry business. Zales.com, which includes new features added this past fall, is an example of a Web site that stays in touch with those realities.
The site offers pages of profiles and illustrations of its watches and jewelry. Customers can sign up for a newsletter, create a personalized wish list, search Zales' ads for an item they remember from TV and read detailed information about diamonds, precious metals and watches. The site also includes customer service information, a store locator function and links to other Zale Corp. divisions.
Beyond such basics, however, features such as "Hint, hint" lend personality and fun to any retailer's Web site. "Hint, hint" makes it easy for women to say "I want this" in a way their significant others can't mistake. The consumer who knows what she likes can slap an image of the bauble on a virtual postcard and add a message from choices such as "Because I let you go golfing" or "So I'll never keep you waiting again!" Then she adds his e-mail address (which undoubtedly goes into Zales.com's memory banks) and sends it off to you-know-who. Not the largest U.S. jewelry retailer for nothing, Zales seems to have accepted the wisdom of Men Are from Mars; Women Are from Venus author John Gray, who recommends we accept gender-based differences as immutable and learn to work around them.
- by Mark E. Dixon