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Clienteling Is the Key to Repeating the Success of 2021

An active and engaged customer base can insulate jewelry retailers from any change in consumer mindset.




IT’S TRADE SHOW season again, and the big question on everyone’s mind is, “How do we repeat last year’s success?” Every retailer we know had some version of “2021 was our greatest year ever,” and they don’t want to relinquish that ground. The answer is elusive as circumstances are different across the country and by store. However, there are two key elements that seem to make sense on how to make lightning strike twice.

First, the biggest windfall from 2021 are the new customers that found our stores in record numbers. Retailers cannot squander this opportunity and can no longer allow clienteling to be a casual or inconsistent effort. Programmed outreach for inspections, birthdays and anniversaries are a must, especially her birthday as it is historically the number one jewelry purchase occasion.

Beyond that, however, we must get new customers engaged with the brand by building relationships with our staff. Savvy salespeople are reaching out for reasons other than purchase occasions and special events — they’re taking a sincere interest in their customers’ lives. They are sending notes of congratulations or best wishes for upcoming vacations without any expectation other than a thank you. They know that by creating an active and engaged customer base, they will have better control of their future should the consumer mindset change.


Second is coordinating sales activity with the clienteling program. When our staffs contact customers for inspection and service follow-ups, it creates traffic that many salespeople feel is a low percentage sales opportunity. It may be true, but our teams must make a consistent effort to show merchandise to these guests. Everyone has someone in their life who needs to hear a message of love, devotion and commitment, all sentiments that jewelry sends best.

Our salespeople must be experts at reminding customers that an unexpected gift at an unexpected time is the best way to tell someone how much they are loved. It is a powerful message that, if properly shared two to three times per day, will result in an extra transaction per week. When compounded across every sales associate, every week for a year, the results are impressive.

2022 holds much promise, and we are excited to see what happens. We are recommending that retailers build strategies and action plans that include these tactics to give them their best opportunity in the coming year.


Vince Rath owns Optimum Retail Solutions, a leadership development consultancy dedicated to the independent jeweler. For a free 30-minute consultation, call (801) 907-1650 or email



When There’s No Succession Plan, Call Wilkerson

Bob Wesley, owner of Robert C. Wesley Jewelers in Scottsdale, Ariz., was a third-generation jeweler. When it was time to enjoy life on the other side of the counter, he weighed his options. His lease was nearing renewal time and with no succession plan, he decided it was time to call Wilkerson. There was plenty of inventory to sell and at first, says Wesley, he thought he might try to manage a sale himself. But he’s glad he didn’t. “There’s no way I could have done this as well as Wilkerson,” he says. Wilkerson took responsibility for the entire event, with every detail — from advertising to accounting — done, dusted and managed by the Wilkerson team. “It’s the complete package,” he says of the Wilkerson method of helping jewelers to easily go on to the next phase of their lives. “There’s no way any retailer can duplicate what they’ve done.”

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