For jewellers looking to be the crème de la crème, events play an important role in bonding with local communities, engaging with new and potential customers in a less formal setting, and letting shoppers know more about the name above the door.
It is no well-kept secret that a well-executed event can reap wonders for a retail jewellery business, whether for financial gain or PR purposes.
But while there’s a lot to be gained by hosting an event, there’s a host of pitfalls that jewellers appear to be making time and time again.
On a mission to find out the keys to success, Professional Jeweller caught up with Lloyd Blakey, founder and creative director of display specialists Innovare Designs, who shares with us his tried and tested dos and don’ts for putting on a experiential event.
At the very core of putting on a jewellery event is creating an experience, says Blakey, who previously claimed that customers are won over by ‘Instagramable moments’ that they can share with friends.
“Events should be all about delighting, connecting and learning about your customers. It’s an opportunity to continue your own brand story,” shares Blakey. Whilst Innovare doesn’t specifically organise and manage events for its clients, it does always consider flexibility in its store space planning to ensure in-house events can be well-serviced.
Beyond enchanting your audience with social media-ready moments, one of the crucial goals of any event should be reaching an audience. Building a local client base is one of the most important things a retailer can do. After all, tourists will come and go, but if you build a relationship with a customer from the city centre you will have more opportunities to invite them in store, and make them aware of upcoming events and new product launches. Blakey tells Professional Jeweller that jewellers have the potential to really engage with their local communities through events, as long as they know who they are speaking to.
Not all events are for all customers, and they should be marketed accordingly in ordered to have the desired effect. “You will have specific events for specific customers but make sure you open your invitation out more widely whenever you can — it’s a great way of acquiring and getting to know new customers,” the Innovare Designs founder reveals.
In order to create an event that fully engages a targeted audiences with its splendour, jewellery retailers must have a clear vision from day dot.
Blakey explains that before a jeweller not only welcomes a customer through the doors of an event, but even before invitations are sent out, everyone must be crystal clear about what the event is setting out to achieve, otherwise it is impossible to quantify whether it is actually a success. Be it financial or PR-based, each event should be setting out to accomplish something.
“It’s all about delivering on a clear goal — your measure of success will therefore vary,” he warns. “It’s important right from the start to decide how you will judge the effectiveness of your event(s). Whilst the bottom line profitability will always be part of your effectiveness measure, the good will and PR you can achieve via a well-run event is harder to measure.
“We’d always recommend getting quantitative or ’softer’ qualitative feedback from customers either on the night or following-up by phone. And make sure that whatever questions you ask are consistent, so that you can compare the feedback and actionable not just yes and no answers which tell you nothing.” Beyond the tick list that can guide jewellers towards event success, Blakey also underlines some areas that could use some TLC.
The entrepreneur explains that often some of the less successful events he has seen were not as triumphant as a result of poor planning and event management. While a well-executed event holds the potential to unlock business growth, it is important to keep in mind that, unless properly committed to, they can be a wasted investment of both time and money.
Another pitfall can be the location. With some jewellers representing a number of different brands, it may not always be possible to host in store.
For companies looking to take their events out of store, Blakey suggests: “Make sure it fits your brand values; don’t cut corners on a cheaper venue if it doesn’t represent who you are.
“You obviously need to consider the comfort of your customers’ space, seating, refreshments but also make sure you have a good staff: customer ratio so that you can give customers the attention they deserve and capture all their valuable comments and feedback.”
But no matter what the approach, Blakey shares the one event must that trumps the rest. He shares: “Don’t forget to ask your customers what type of events they would like to attend. By understanding what they want and servicing their needs you will be well on the way to your next effective event.”