When the nuptial couple are looking to cut costs,don’t let the ring be one of them. In 2014, grooms spent an average of $5,978 on engagement rings, according to TheKnot.com. Your store-branded credit card can offer them better financing rates — and the ability to buy the diamond of their dreams — than the giant cards can, say card service companies. “Since the private-label credit card can only be used at the retailer, it makes customers more loyal to the store where they applied and makes for more frequent shoppers,” says Janis Tarter of Citi Retail Services. “And typically, cardholders spend more than those without a private-label credit card.” Weddings are only the beginning of store card uses: Loyalty programs, card-use promotions and cardholder events all bring buyers back to your store.


Credit Cards

 


 

Points to Consider

What resources does the partnership offer? According to a study of shoppers planning to make a purchase of $500-plus, nearly 29 percent research finance options online, says Muhammad Haider of Synchrony Financial. “Con-sumers are using digital tools to research, shop, apply for, use and manage their credit account.” (Synchrony Financial is presenting its “path to purchase” findings at The SMART Jewelry Show in Chicago.)

What will it cost you? “Depending upon the jeweler’s average ticket and frequency of repeat business, a private label program may offer a very low interchange for standard revolving sales and promotional discounts that are actually less than what merchants are paying on Visa, MasterCard and Amex transactions,” says Art Couch of TD Retail Card Services.

Is there a loyalty program? Loyalty programs can be tied into spending on the store’s card. Rewards are typically sent to participants in the form of gift certificates that drive customers back into the store, Couch says. 

Ergonomics. The top-of-the-line Testerossa, for example, is curved so you have a natural line of sight to the stone. — Danny Kessler, co-owner, Sy Kessler Sales, Dallas, TX

What technology is required? The move to chip technology in general credit cards requires merchants to change their equipment, Couch notes. “These changes are not currently required for store cards, given their limited functionality.”

What promotional offers are available? Private-label credit card programs can offer special financing and flexible payments. “For example — many promotional offers allow consumers to avoid paying interest if the balance is paid in full within the promotional period,” Haider says 

What training is available? “The jeweler can build the use of the private-label card at the store through store associate credit training, which can highlight the benefits of the private label credit card; (and by) exclusive cardholder offers through direct mail, email and in-store signage,” says Janis Tarter of Citi Retail Services.

Are you a member of the American Gem Society? The AGS Platinum Select card is available through Wells Fargo Financial National Bank. This business tool provides members with sales alternatives designed to increase customer loyalty and sales.


Sako Ghazarian

Retailer Take

Sako Ghazarian
Owner, Howard Fine Jewelers, Sterling Heights, MI

  • “The greatest advantage is obvious — it’s our brand advertisement right in their wallet, and whenever they reach for a credit card they see it. It’s a reminder that they can find that gift here.”
  • “You have to be careful to remember that it is not a piece of identification. We always ask the person for proper identification, so we don’t have a stolen card being used.”
  • “Our card is handled through Synchrony.” Synchrony runs special rates on promotions four times a year. These can include reduced rates on the six-month and 12-month deferred interest promotions.
  • “They also offer spiffs to our staff for signing up new people and that’s an incentive to the staff.”
  • “It has added to our business. What if a customer is maxed out on credit because he or she has made a major purchase? Our own card isn’t tied to that, so it’s not a problem for them here.”
  • “We’ve had our own card for probably 30 years, since the mid-’80s.” The company originally was General Electric and had a few different name changes — i.e. GE Money Luxury —and in 2015 spun off from GE to be Synchrony Financial. All GE cards are still accepted by Synchrony. 
Vendors

Citi Retail Services
citiretailservices.com/
cardsjewelry


Synchrony Financial
synchronyfinancial.com/luxury

TD Retail Card Services
tdrcs.com

Wells Fargo
retailservices.
wellsfargo.com/wfja


This article originally appeared in the March 2016 edition of INSTORE.



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