I love the beginning of summer – the days you make the transition from jackets and jumpers to sandals and singlets. It fills me with a renewed vigour and makes me want to update my wardrobe with something fresh from all my favourite stores.
They’re my favourite stores for a reason: they attract me with exciting product, bold visual merchandising, sexy ad campaigns and windows that scream: “Shop here!”
They’re easy to find, too – shining like gems over the lifeless displays and beige colour schemes of the many jewellery stores – some still displaying the same out-dated, finger-smeared pieces I saw last month. Like other like-minded shoppers, I walk on by, unimpressed by another store choosing conservatism over current chic.
A recent US market research study of 1,346 self-purchasing women conducted by the Jewelry Consumer Opinion Council found that 65 per cent of respondents will buy new shoes for themselves between two and five times a year and 12 per cent will exceed that. In the same survey, 45 per cent respondents said they would purchase a new outfit two to five times per year, and 29 per cent said they would exceed that
Yet, when asked how many times they would purchase coloured gemstone or cultured pearl jewellery for themselves in a typical year, 23 per cent of these women said just once, and a further 23 per cent said not at all.
The report concluded that the demographic of self-purchasing women is “largely under-exploited and ignored by the broad spectrum of the industry”.
Is this because the jewellery industry can be slower to embrace and merchandise fresh trends? Do jewellery retailers feel safer treading the same path each season?
Imagine how many more sales jewellers could make if they continually refreshed their product offering. Store staples like gold and diamonds will always sell, but up-to-date fashion jewellery will sell faster, especially if displayed imaginatively.
There are suppliers and designers in this industry daring not only to invent their own exciting collections, but also to set their own trends, developing labels that boast their own brand identity and signature style. If the entire trade went to the same extent as these fashion champions to catapult their product and brand into super-stardom, the industry would attract trend addicts by the bus-load.
Customers do care for trends. They seek products at shopping destinations that spark their desire to buy, their hearts quickening each time they approach a new window – alas, this doesn’t happen enough for jewellery shoppers.
Fashion retailer Sportsgirl was recently commended in the prestigious UK Retail Interior Awards for its “super-flagship” store in Bourke Street, Melbourne. This was a first for an Australian retailer but it didn’t surprise me. I’m a long-time Sportsgirl fan who continually pops-in to see what’s new and, let me say, it’s a true destination.
The last time I checked, a dazzling window display was crammed with a dozen life-sized fabric dolls brightly-painted in the latest street-wear and accessories; an in-store DJ played boppy dance tunes; and enlarged product images all left me inspired to buy. Given the tremendous buzz, it’s little wonder the place is always packed with people. Shopping is one of the great Australian pastimes because of the excitement and wonderment that stores like this provide.
Destination jewellery retailers who position their business as a component of the fashion industry, delivering fresh, tasty product, sticky marketing that projects a sexy image, and a super-addictive in-store experience, could just be the next best thing.