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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



Time for More “Me Time”? Time to Call Wilkerson

Rick White, owner of White’s & Co. Jewelry in Rogers, Ark., knew it was time to retire. Since the age of 18, jewelry had been his life. Now it was time to get that “me time” every retailer dreams about. So, he chose Wilkerson to manage his going-out-of-business sale. White says he’d done plenty of sales on his own, but this was different. “Wilkerson has been a very, very good experience. I’ve had the best salespeople in the history of jewelry,” he says. “I recommend Wilkerson because they are really the icon of the jewelry business and going-out-of-business sales. They’ve been doing it for decades. I just think they’re the best.”

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