March 4, 2004
Right-Hand Rings: Promo Plans for Year Two
During the MJSA Expo in New York City this week, the Diamond Promotion Service gave manufacturers an update on the progress of the right-hand ring, along with the Diamond Trading Co.'s promotional plans for the category in 2004. Robert L. May, senior partner/director of operations, and David Ramirez, regional director, offered these highlights:
Sucessful Planning: Retailers who enjoyed success with right-hand rings in 2003 thoroughly trained their staffs, promoted the category widely, targeted self-purchasing women as well as men looking for a gift of love, held special events and placed the rings in a position of prominence such as a center-of-store pedestal display. They avoided mixing old-fashioned styles with new styles, since that might discourage women who don't want rings that "look like Mom's." Successful retailers also worked with suppliers to identify which styles customers might like. They were able to create an inventory mix that worked in their markets.
Target Market: The target consumer has a household income of $100,000 and higher and the ring has sold well for both independents and chains.
Style Sales: The north-south configurations of right-hand rings have not sold as well as more traditional east-west band-style settings. This may be due to the newness of vertical styles to consumers rather than a dislike of the style, say the executives. The trade should continue to work on creative designs that go beyond tradition, to differentiate the ring from other band-style rings that women wear on their right hands.
Popular Designs: Among east-west styles, the bamboo-style ring, with its rows of horizontal bands, has been popular, as have geometric designs, squared shapes and bypasses.
Marketing Stategy: DTC plans to allot 25% of its worldwide marketing budget to the right-hand ring in 2004. "We're still working on making it a cultural imperative to own a right-hand ring," says May. The ads for the rings will probably feature aspirational styles to add excitement to the category and differentiate the rings from total-weight rings featuring smaller diamonds.
In other DTC promotional developments, May says the company is still mulling whether to include other types of diamond jewelry along with three-stone rings in its 2004 anniversary ad campaign ("DTC Plans Anniversary Push," Feb. 9, 2004). Retailers and manufacturers asked DTC to consider adding anniversary bands, bracelets and various stud styles in earrings and necklaces, as these also sell frequently for anniversaries. May suggests that retailers might want to build an anniversary display case in their stores, with three-stone rings at the center, and other types of diamond jewelry gifts surrounding the rings. He says the other styles might be the route to another diamond jewelry sale for women who already received a three-stone ring for an anniversary.
May says DTC's 2002 fancy-shape consumer ad campaign is on a back burner because promoting loose diamonds wasn't a direction the company wants to follow. He didn't rule out, however, using fancy shapes in diamond jewelry in other campaigns.
by Peggy Jo Donahue