Editor’s View: Are jewellers underestimating the millennial consumer?

For the March issue of Professional Jeweller I sent our office assistant on a secret mission to visit jewellers and see how they react to questions on ethics and transparency.

As part of that mission, Emma had to tell jewellers she was looking for a diamond necklace on a gold chain to mark a special occasion.

While the findings of this report have already been published, and can be read in the March edition, what I want to touch on is a theme that emerged during Emma’s visit to different jewellers in the UK — not all members of staff are taking millennials seriously.

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In more than one store Emma felt like she was being looked down on, while others went as far as to point her in the direction of lower priced items in the store.

While this was just a sample of some stores in certain locations in the country, it got me thinking, are jewellers underestimating the millennial consumer?

The term ‘millennials’ is a bit of a buzzword that’s talked about a lot at industry events, but are jewellers really taking note of who they are and what they want?

It’s important to remember millennials are born between 1981 and 1996, so this year they are shoppers aged 22-37.

Yes, millennials were bought up with the internet, and many will admit to frequently buying clothes on ASOS and everything from a DVD to a Kindle on Amazon, but they aren’t ignoring the high streets, and when it comes to jewellery they are just as likely to want to touch, feel and try on a product before purchasing as the generation before them.

Furthermore, people in this age group are likely to be on the ladder of a career that pays quite well, and while statistics show fewer people are getting married, the average age of those walking down the aisle in the UK is 32. It’s millennials!

So we now know a bit more about who they are, but what do they want? Well ultimately they want to be taken seriously. Their familiarity with having the world at their fingertips makes them savvy-shoppers. They do their research, and often walk into a store with an idea of what they want, which is why it is more important than ever for staff to be equipped to talk through each and every product in store.

People buy from people, and its your shop floor staff who can make or break a sale. Why wouldn’t you want to invest in those on the frontline and make sure they are confident, happy, and enthusiastic about selling the items in your window?

When it comes to millennial consumers, knowledge is king, and they want an in-store customer service that beats what they can get online.

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