National Jeweler Network

Market Developments

Is your brand fostering long-term relationships?

By Diane Warga-Arias

October 29, 2013


Diane Warga-Arias, the Jewelry Activist, is a veteran industry communications authority whose postings can be read on www.JewelryActivist.com.

I want a love affair and a relationship from a luxury brand! Oh, the excitement of being seduced by great design or the sparkle of a flawless diamond! For that excitement to evolve into a relationship, a customer-focused brand does their best to get-to-know-me and shows that they care. Lots of brands know how to capitalize on an initial excitement and eventually deserve my following (for a time). But long lasting relationships requires on-going attention and excitement.

Great jewelry brands know how to move consumers from moments of delight to a longer-standing relationship … with regular communications, great service and conversations that are ongoing and engaging.  So, delight continues, brand loyalty may emerge, but too often surprises seem to disappear and the purchase cycle gets longer/slower.

“Surprise” is not the same as “delight”
We can be captivated by the anticipation of the unknown, as much as from the sparkle at hand and a dependable connection.  So, if a jewelry brands ceases to surprise … well, even a long-standing relationship can eventually fade away. Too many jewelry brands (both retail and designer brands) seem to think that once they captivate a woman’s attention and form a relationship, as evidenced by sales and a continuing conversation, they seem to stop trying to surprise.  Oh yes, they continue to send emails and pictures of jewelry that is aligned with what was purchased previously. They know about upcoming birthdays and anniversaries. They even send interesting and engaging stories or illustrations just because they are confident that we will like them. But, why do the surprises stop? Is Amazon the culprit? Does their brilliant Customer Relationship Management model not work for jewelry retailers? True, it is wonderful that no matter how long it has been since I visited Amazon, they instantly recognize me and even make suggestions. They anticipate my needs and wants and that ability should be an aspiration for every e-commerce site and every brick-and-mortar store!  But when it comes to jewelry I think women (including me) want even more. I want to be personally surprised!

There was a time when a woman only owned one or maybe two watches. Unless of course they were married to a man in the elite/affluent demographic, who continued to enjoy buying, collecting and giving watches. (They cannot imagine their wife not enjoying what they love, LOL!) Our industry has made inroads with Men’s Nights Out, making it easier for these men to buy jewelry that their wives/girlfriends desire. There was also a time when women wore either platinum or gold but they never mixed it up. Maybe it was easier to delight a woman with jewelry suggestions then? But, women continue to be entertained by fashion runways and red-carpets to see what’s new. We may not (yet) purchase that wild animal print, but we think about it. We may not yet want to own a color diamond ring but hmmm…

Call to action
Oh, the fun of someone that knows us well who also wants to tease and surprise us with an item of jewelry that is outside our comfort zone! So, calling all jewelry designers and retail brands: I would love to be surprised by you! Send me something that will spark my interest and I will share it with my followers. Better yet: surprise your customers!