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Bridal & Engagement Trends

Capturing the bridal market

Engagement and wedding rings will always rule the bridal category, but there’s another crop of jewellery items vying for attention. Emily Mobbs reports on how to increase sales by targeting all members of the wedding party.
Weddings present great sale opportunities not only with brides and grooms, but also with the many friends and family attending the event. The 2013 Cost of Love survey, conducted by Australian consumer magazine Bride to Be, found that three out of four surveyed brides had already purchased or planned to purchase jewellery for their bridesmaids and attendants. 

The study also reported that nine out of 10 brides said they would buy jewellery for their wedding day and spend nearly $3,000. Grooms don’t appear to be missing out either, spending more than $1,000 on jewellery and accessories for themselves when they get married.

How can retailers ensure the bride and groom purchase all their wedding jewellery from their store, and how can they then also up-sell to the entire bridal party?

Various industry insiders were asked to weigh-in on ways in which retailers could make the most of this opportunity. The results are as follows:

Advice from the experts

When commenting on how retailers can make the most of potential wedding-related purchases, Jewellery Marketing Solutions co-founder Tony Argyle says they can’t sell what they don’t stock: “Having a range that fits the bill is crucial, and training staff to look for the opportunity is more crucial. Asking questions will confirm the customer is seeking this type of product and, in many cases, plant the seed that they should consider gifts for the bridesmaids and attendants. We’d recommend preparing a suggestion list of attendant gifts that can be handed out.”

Pandora Australia president David Allen agrees, adding that retailers need to ensure they offer classic, “wedding-friendly” jewellery pieces like earrings with pearls and diamonds in order to capitalise on the opportunity.

“Suggesting complementary or matching items is a must, particularly at the point of purchasing a wedding band,” Allen says.

Marissa Gouras, Georgini sales and marketing manager, believes jewellers can gain the upper hand on this trend by specifically marketing jewellery that fits within the wedding category.

“This communicates to the consumer that you can sell them the engagement ring as well as offering an affordable range of jewellery for the bridesmaids and others,” she says, adding, “Retailers can even up-sell during the purchase of an engagement ring by adding an incentive that encourages the bride to buy additional jewellery for herself or bridal party.”

Deidre Bolton, buyer and designer for Bolton Gems, believes women place particular importance on making sure that jewellery worn by a bridesmaid complements her dress. “Keep abreast of what is going on with colours in fashion as brides tend to follow whatever colour is hot at that time,” she advises.

Furthermore, Bolton Gems general manager Jaclyn Shoenmaker says cufflinks for groomsmen, and engagement presents like watches, hip flasks and champagne flutes, are items that have great sales potential.

Evidence from retailers

Judy Cameron, co-founder of Cameron’s Fine Jewellers in Swan Hill, regional Victoria, attests that people will often purchase jewellery pieces for participants in their wedding.

“Couples are definitely shopping for gifts for their bridal party, with cufflinks being a popular choice for the groomsmen and crystal earrings for bridesmaids,” she says.

The store specialises in custom-made pieces, including engagement and wedding rings, but also has a range of branded jewellery, and Cameron says that Swarovski jewellery has proven popular among brides and bridesmaids due to its affordability: “They [Swarovski] also have the most amazing toasting champagne glasses and crystal pens for signing the register.”

Cameron adds that customers will occasionally buy precious jewellery items, like gold and diamonds, for mothers in the wedding party.

NSW-based Hennings Jewellers, which has stores in Narellan, Campbelltown and Camden, is a retailer that has found success by offering a range of branded wedding jewellery. Managing director Craig Moore says they decided the chain needed to offer a specific range of jewellery targeted towards bridal customers after attending a large number of bridal shows.

Moore explains that the most popular lines for bridesmaid’s gifts and bridal jewellery are Georgini and Swarovski, both of which are displayed close to the store’s engagement and wedding rings.

Retailers should ensure they never miss an opportunity to up-sell by making sure staff know that an engagement ring or wedder is not the only piece of jewellery brides and grooms need to purchase for their big day.

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