It’s difficult enough for an independent retail jeweller to survive today. Online sales are placing pressure on price-points and margins with their lower operating costs while large chains add to that pressure with their greater buying power. The Zales-Signet deal just created a new 800lb gorilla in the room for the retail jewellery business in the US. Their unrivalled ability to get the best deals from their suppliers makes it nearly impossible for an independent to beat them on price. In order to compete, the small jeweller needs to find things that can make them better than the big guys…and then take it up a notch or two.
Two areas that independent jewellers can have can have an advantage are repairs and custom. Unlike the items for sale in your showcase, shop work is not price sensitive. Customers will rarely shop around for the best price on a repair, they will go to someone they trust. They are about to leave their precious heirloom in your hands and probably don’t want to go with the lowest bidder.
Gaining that trust is important and requires educating your customer about every step of the process. This may be the first time they have been to a jeweller for a repair or a designer for custom. Don’t assume that they know what will be happening to their jewellery. Guide your customer on a quick tour of the journey the item is about to take. Don’t just tell them that you’ll size their ring and it and it will be ready Tuesday.
Instead, explain how their ring will be inspected under magnification for any hidden damage and that all stones will be checked and tightened. The shank will be cut and an appropriate amount of gold will be added or removed to make it the perfect size for her finger. Then the ring will have a day at the spa…a good deep cleaning and a buff-n-shine to make it look as new as when she first fell in love with it. All work is guaranteed for a year. The cost is only $XXX and I can have for you by Tuesday.
It works the same for custom. Fully explain each step from the initial sketch to the finished product. Highlight the steps involved for the techniques you’ll use. Whether it’s a wax and cast, CAD/CAM or hand fabricated; every process has many fascinating steps. Take the customer on a full tour of each of those steps.
There are many benefits to the educational approach to selling shop services. It establishes in your customer’s mind that you are a professional and really understand what you are doing. It makes them feel smart, they get to learn something new. By understanding the many steps and skills required to get quality results, the price becomes less important. And best of all…you get to raise your prices and the customer will be happy to pay it.