Experiential Marketing Across Bricks and Clicks 12/28/2016
The practice of selling jewelry is being reinvented by e-commerce giants who, given their non-luxury roots and data-driven strategies, have mastered the high-tech marketing techniques from virtual selling to modeling and redirection/retargeting. They have made enormous gains and compete for a growing share of luxury spending, not as purveyors of luxury products and experiences, but as merchants and statisticians.
The ART of selling jewelry, however, still eludes this generation of online retail giants, which is why many are doing a 180-degree turn, and opening brick and mortar stores – often in the form of “Pop-Up shops” to translate their virtual experiences into the real world. But it takes more than simply opening a store to effectively engage the jewelry customer.
The PRACTICE of selling jewelry is about fulfilling a consumer need. The ART of selling jewelry is about creating an emotion-based need where one did not necessarily exist. The ART of selling jewelry is still relationship-based, because without the relationship, it’s impossible to get personal, to discover the drivers that will create the emotion-based need and ultimate bond. High-performance customer-engagement was, is, and continues to be, the true differentiator of excellence in luxury selling. In fact, the reasons our industry achieved great success over the past few decades all intersect over one simple aspect of the retail process that is now under renewed scrutiny, because now survival depends on it: Storytelling.
We all know cases of tremendous sales associates who carried a store on his or her shoulders; or one who caused great long term damage by leaving and taking away the client book. The ones who consistently delivered expertise, empathy, trustworthiness and employed high emotional intelligence to make clients feel special and drive long term loyalty.
But contrary to the popular adage, what is old, is NOT new again, unless transformed. Transformed by the very thing we feared would destroy our businesses in the first place: technology. Our original fears that technology would eventually destroy the in-person nature of jewelry retail were not unfounded, but they were misplaced. Because, ultimately, technology is democratic, and will only destroy those who refuse to engage or use it wisely.
So, in the era of engagement and touchpoints, the super sales associate is more important than ever to your success, but he or she is not just required to be an excellent sales professional, have knowledge, empathy and that “sparkle.” This new version of the top sales person must excel in all of that, PLUS have command of the new communication channels the consumer is using; they must be socially enabled, digitally savvy, and able to fine tune messaging to fit a broader range of luxury consumers who expect more emotional and social fulfillment out of their purchases, and for whom the consumption of luxury is a social experiment infused with shades of acceptance and refusal, pride and shame, desire and disdain, need and denial.
About the Authors
Pam Levine and Andrea Hansen are long time jewelry professionals and consultants, founders of Levine Luxury Branding and LuxeIntelligence respectively, with combined decades of expertise in the areas of retail and brand design, business development, communications, branding, messaging and sales training. They share a passion for the industry and a deep commitment to helping jewelers navigate the transition into a new experience-based era of luxury selling, and renewed focus on the future of jewelry retail and consumer engagement.
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