TOP FIVE: How can retailers engage with the local community to drive consumer loyalty?

It’s no longer good enough to simply open a new store and hope consumers will wander through the doors.

Here, retailers share top tips and ideas on how the industry can embed their business in the local community to engage with consumers and drive loyalty…

Support a local charity

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For many jewellery retailers, the best way to engage with the community in the areas they are located in is to choose a local charity to support. Of course, the retailer needs to have a genuine passion for this charity, but by choosing a local cause to support it’s a great way to engage with shoppers and give something back. As Fabulous Jewellers owner explains: “Every business has a responsibility to give something back. I think most of us now judge a business on so much more than its products and service. Its social consciousness, approach to its community, its ethics, and its overall way of doing business are now almost as important. For us, being part of charitable initiatives in the community has been a core part of what we do for the whole 12 years since we launched.” In the roundup of what retailers considered to be their greatest achievement of last year, many named the money they raised for charity as their biggest accolade.

 

Get Involved

Another way to meet local shoppers is to step out of the store and directly into the community. every town and city hosts various events throughout the year, why not put your business at the forefront? could you get involved in the christmas market, or the area’s business improvement district? there are various different ways to allow consumers to familiarise themselves with your business and staff. fabulous jewellers for instance gets involved with bath’s london fashion week, family-run warrenders gives talks on jewellery to local community groups, and nicholas wylde sponsors wedding events. “as an established family jewellers, being part of the local community is incredibly important to us,” shares warrenders store manager, John Kitchener. “Last year was our 70th anniversary and we marked the occasion with an evening of champagne and canapes in the royal box at epsom racecourse, which we thought was a the perfect way to give thanks to our customers.”

 

Customer Events

For those looking to meet with the community in store, customer events provide an excellent way to do so. These don’t have to just be limited to product launches, but can be themed around events going on in the community, important national calendar dates, or just because you want to create a buzz in store and entertain. Wongs Jewellers for instance hosts an annual part for Chinese New Year’s, and Daniella Drapers looks to use the store space to host cultural events. Other jeweller host charity events in store, for instance Jeremy France has successful been holding VIP evenings, while multiples allows the store managers to design events suitable for the community their branch resides. F Hinds sales development manager, Jeremy Hinds, shares: “We run in-store events which bring together local businesses. For example we run wedding events where managers are encouraged to contact local wedding suppliers such as cake bakers, photographers and dress shops to work together on producing an in-store event.”

 

Design Jewellery

The very jewellery retailers hold inside the store can also nod to the local community. Whether an independent with one boutique, or a retailer with more than one, it does not harm to hold exclusive stock in specific branches. Harriet Kelsall Bespoke Jewellery has just opened up its third boutique, and first in London, and has designed a pendant specifically for the Primrose Hill community, while Daniella Draper creates a charm specific for each location the retailer is located. Tustains recently partnered with jewellery designer Andrew Geoghegan on an exclusive collection inspired by Leamington Spa. Owner of the eponymous store, Daniella Draper, says: “The local community make up the core of our sales in our stores, so being part of the local community is very important to us. We design a charm that is representative of each area, i.e. Lincoln we have a Lincoln Imp charm, Cleethorpes a Cleethorpes Sea Shell, Beverley, the Yorkshire Rose and Bowness a Bowness Acorn charm, and we try to involve ourselves with local charities and good causes local to each of our shops.”

Marketing Matters

When it comes to local advertising, this is available in all different shapes, sizes and forms, and it is important for each jeweller to find out what works for them. For some, print is still very effective, with the likes of Fabulous Jewellers having great success with articles in local glossy magazines, while David Mellor finds radio advertising more effective. Head of sales and marketing, Amy Mellor shares: “In terms of local advertising, we have a regular advert being played on a local radio station, which we find to be the most effective method of advertising tried thus far, particularly using a jingle that gets stuck in one’s head.” Other harness the power of social media, collaborating with other local companies to host area-wide campaigns online. It’s also worth jewellers connecting with other local businesses on social media platforms, and engaging to maximise chances of reaching local customers.

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