By Leslie McNamara, Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Workforce Development at Citi Retail Services
Italian Trade Agency

Brought To You By Citi Retail Services 

With traditional retailers now offering immensely innovative e-commerce experiences and brands that were born exclusively online now boasting impressive brick-and-mortar stores, retail is undoubtedly experiencing a significant transformation.

It’s clear customers enjoy both channels, depending on what they’re in the market for and their physical proximity to brick-and-mortar locations. But how does shopping for jewelry differ or align with the evolving retail industry at large? The answer: it largely bucks the trend.

According to a recent nationwide survey of 1,000 U.S. consumers commissioned by Citi Retail Services – one of North America’s largest providers of private label and co-brand credit cards for retailers – over two-thirds (68%) of those who have previously purchased jewelry have purchased most or all of their jewelry in-store, compared to just 12 percent online. Evidently, when it comes to jewelry, brick-and-mortar still shines bright.

All the Feels: Purchasing Jewelry is a Highly Tactile Experience

While online shopping is often believed to be more efficient from a timing perspective, there are a number of other considerations for shoppers in the market for jewelry specifically. Nearly half (44%) of shoppers prefer being able to try on jewelry in-person before purchasing, according to the survey. Whether the item is for themselves or someone else, selecting jewelry is a very personal decision, so handling the piece before buying it can often give customers more confidence in their purchase.

And in turn, when consumers have more confidence shopping in-store, they’re also comfortable spending more. The survey found that in-store, 40 percent of consumers have purchased a piece that cost at least $1,000 with the most expensive piece of jewelry averaging $2,269—that’s more than double the $1,099 average for online purchases. And interestingly, Gen Xers are more likely to shell out in-store for higher-ticket items than Boomers, averaging over $3,000 for their most expensive jewelry.

For retailers who already have or are building an online presence, it would be wise to consider including detailed descriptions, photos and sizing charts to product pages and providing easy access to expedited shipping to help customers gain more confidence when making online purchases.

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Shine Bright Like a Diamond: Financing and Complimentary Services Reign

Beyond having more control over their purchases, there are a number of other drivers motivating shoppers to go in store for jewelry purchases. Store services like complimentary cleanings (49%), financing options (28%), styling assistance (16%) and leasing or rental programs, such as borrowing for a short period of time (6%), were all noted by those surveyed as reasons to visit jewelers in-store.

In terms of financing options specifically, consumers indicated that they would be most likely to finance a jewelry purchase for major milestones including anniversaries (43%), weddings (34%), engagements (34%), graduations (15%) and new babies (12%). Further, Gen Xers are most likely to take advantage of financing options, with 34% indicating that they would use, compared to 26% for Boomers and 28% for Millennials.

Providing financing options in addition to other services like complimentary cleanings and styling assistance to customers offers jewelers a chance to increase foot traffic in their stores and potentially drive repeat sales. Also, ensuring your sales staff are well trained to liaise with customers and detail applicable services is key in developing and sustaining long-term relationships and increasing repeat sales in the process. And for jewelry dealers, that’s the holy grail.

Across the country, Citi Retail Services works with jewelry retailers to offer the Jewelers Reserve Card to their customers. By making purchasing easier for customers, the Jewelers Reserve program helps jewelry retailers build customer loyalty and repeat sales for their businesses. To find out more about the Jewelers Reserve program, visit

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