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Kathleen Cutler

Care About Your Online Customers As Much As Your In-Store Customers? Then Act Like It

Serving your online clients requires a human touch.




I MAGINE THIS: A customer walks into your store wanting to see a specific art deco platinum diamond engagement ring they saw online. You pull it out of the case and place in front of the customer. You tell them the price. And then you put the ring back in the case and walk away.

If you do this, would you expect a sale? Of course not.

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But this is exactly how many treat their online customers. A website is passive. It’s a showroom with no expert present to offer guidance. And when we respond to a customer’s online inquiry with only basic information, it’s like turning our back on them.

So, when a customer contacts you by email or through Facebook Messenger or Instagram, treat them like you would someone in your store. If you aren’t getting many inquiries, update your website with live chat or a popup where people can ask questions.

Here’s how to make your online communication customer-friendly:

1. Keep track of your leads. Don’t just respond to an inquiry; look to secure a new customer. By entering the specifics from an inquiry into your database, you have the information to build a relationship.


2. Follow up. Sales don’t just happen. Reconnect with an interested, online customer just like you would with an in-store one. Let them know you remember them and what they’re interested in.

3. Make it human. Your customers want to feel seen and heard, especially online. Make sure your online communication with customers reflects your understanding of their wants and needs.

4. Be prepared. Develop a template that will help you follow up in a prompt and personal way with a customer.

5. Be specific. In your follow-up email, don’t just relay information. Instead, reflect your appreciation for your customer’s taste: “Oh my gosh, what a beautiful art deco piece; it’s one of my favorites here in the shop. The aquamarine is just stunning. The original filigree is amazing and in such excellent condition.” Being specific demonstrates you know the piece, which builds trust with your customer.

6. Give them a reason to return. Help your customer identify other possibilities: “You might like this other art deco piece for price point A, and then this other art deco piece with a sapphire in it for different price point C.” Doing this establishes you as a trusted adviser.

7. Continue the connection. Let your customer know you are ready to be of service: “Feel free to email, message, or call me at (phone #) with any questions.” Remind them that they are communicating with a responsive human.


More and more, business is happening online. But don’t forget, building your clientele and making sales from online leads requires the human touch.

Kathleen Cutler, profit expert for high-end jewelry brands, focuses on helping jewelers understand how to convince younger, affluent audiences to buy, combining modern tech with retro-style relationship building. Kathleen has a degree from GIA and has coached 100-plus jewelers. Reach her at [email protected]



Wilkerson Testimonials | Sollberger’s

Going Out of Business Is an Emotional Journey. Wilkerson Is There to Make It Easier.

Jaki Cowan, the owner of Sollberger’s in Ridgeland, MS, decided the time was right to close up shop. The experience, she says, was like going into the great unknown. There were so many questions about the way to handle the store’s going-out-of-business sale. Luckily for Cowan, Wilkerson made the transition easier and managed everything, from marketing to markdowns.

“They think of everything that you don’t have the time to think of,” she says of the Wilkerson team that was assigned to manage the sale. And it was a total success, with financial goals met by Christmas with another sale month left to go.

Wilkerson even had a plan to manage things while Covid-19 restrictions were still in place. This included limiting the number of shoppers, masking and taking temperatures upon entrance. “We did everything we could to make the staff and public feel as safe as possible.”

Does she recommend Wilkerson to other retailers thinking of retiring, liquidating or selling excess merchandise? Absolutely. “If you are considering going out of business, it’s obviously an emotional journey. But truly rest assured that you’re in good hands with Wilkerson.”

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