There is no denying that consumer shopping habits are very different to even five years ago.
Gone are the days where customers would come in on a regular basis to see ‘what was new’. Instead, they are keeping up-to-date online and largely only hitting the shops when they are in the market to buy something.
This presents both opportunities and challenges for jewellers, so in a recent roundtable discussion held by Professional Jeweller key industry players discussed what can be done to drive consumer loyalty during more turbulent times.
For Craig Bolton, the executive director of Mappin & Webb and Goldsmiths, one-to-one relationships helps build loyalty.
Bolton shares: “We’ve noticed that one-to-one relationships between the client and the team member have become much more important than the name above the door. People appreciate you getting to know them, and I think they become loyal to individuals rather than businesses.”
He continues: “We encourage our teams to not always sell. Sometimes it is just about saying ‘happy birthday’ or ‘happy anniversary’, and keeping those touchpoints with the customers where we can. I have been staying in a new hotel in London and just after one day the guy on the door knows my name, and when I checked in yesterday I thought, ‘I am never going to stay anywhere else other than this hotel — this guy is amazing, how does he know me already?’ He’s not trying to sell to me, yet I will probably become loyal to that hotel because of him.”
The national sales manager of Klarna, a payment-provider that sponsored the roundtable, echoes Bolton’s theory.
Mark Whybrow says: “We’ve done a lot of research on what makes customers loyal and we’ve come up with this idea that ‘experience is the new loyalty’. Customers value the experience of going into store. Obviously the brand and the product is essential as well, but if consumers associate with the company – whether through emotional attachment or staff expertise – that’s what really keeps people coming back.”
At Swarovski, managing director for the UK & Ireland, Hayley Quinn, believes there is not a one size fits all solution. As such, it is important for each business to look into what the customer wants, and then try and deliver that better than anyone else.
She explains: “The difficulty for a retailer is that even the same customer, in different purchasing mind-sets, can require different things. Sometimes they know what they want, but they want it at the right price; other times they want to explore and be inspired; and sometimes they will have an idea in mind but will need you to go the extra mile. As retailers, how do you meet an infinite number of customer expectations for an infinite number of customers? That’s the challenge with loyalty. It isn’t one solution, and it isn’t the same solution for each customer on every occasion
“With that in mind, the solution isn’t what does the customer want? The solution is, what does your customer want? And then do it better than anyone else. You just have to be very clear about where your niche in the market is, and you have to do that better than anybody else because if you don’t somebody else will steal that business.”
Quinn also points out that the problem with putting all the emphasis on experience is that the likes of Amazon are the biggest players in the retail market, yet they offer very little experience.
With this in mind, for the owner of independent jewellery retailer, Fabulous, product is key. While you can offer the best customer service in the world, the likes of Amazon are taking a slice of the jewellery market with their lack of customer service,
Fabulous founder, Jo Stroud, explains: First and foremost I would say it is always about product. I genuinely think a customer won’t be loyal to you as a retailer or a brand unless they love the product.”
Read the full roundtable debate, sponsored by Klarne, HERE in the September 2019 issue of Professional Jeweller.