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Commentary: The Business

Here’s Why Disrupting Your Store Layout May Be Exactly What It Needs

The best jewelry stores experiment to improve the shopper’s journey.

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JEWELRY STORES ARE best known for their racetrack layouts around runs and islands of cases. The occasional tower display or recessed wall unit serves as a focal point to lure customers.

But today’s retail environments are changing to accommodate additional services and to provide experiential areas, and this disrupts the typical layout — a good thing! Jewelry retailers are adding lounge seating and consultation rooms for private conversations. Booth seating positioned along window walls and a beer/bubbly bar with stools also break up the usual long runs of cases. I love to see these experiential additions because they encourage customers to stay longer, allowing for the development of longer-term relationships.

Of course, these options assume there is space to create these experiences. And when there isn’t, more retailers are punching through walls to expand. It can feel magical to walk from one store into another (without leaving the building) and explore another department and/or service — like finding another little treasure.

Getting clever with a layout can also bring fun surprises to the shopper’s journey. Layouts that strategically locate focal points throughout the store encourage customers to move effortlessly throughout the entire space. In addition to towers or wall cases, I love to see a punctuation of tall floor sculptures or an interesting history timeline on the wall (but not just a simple series of framed photos and articles, please), an interactive flatscreen, or a suspended ceiling piece (light fixture, mobile). Jewelry is fashion that easily mingles with art and interior design, so anytime a jeweler can entice me with compatible fashionable elements, I’m jazzed.

Then there’s the question of transaction counters and sales associates’ desks. I don’t want to see “offices” on the selling floor, but when they’re designed to look like showcase cabinetry, then it somehow feels acceptable.

Some stores have staff floating the selling floor with iPads for all types of transactions. I like this mobile service, but I still need some sort of counter so I feel like it’s still a brick-and-mortar store, not a pop-up at the airport.

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I’m always impressed by staff in branded apparel with name tags. It sets a standard for the store’s professional team, and certainly makes it easy to identify them. Ultimately, customers should never be confused as to where to go to get help.

So take a walk around your store. Does the layout still work? Is there a way to add interesting focal points and/or a seating area? Changing the layout can inspire staff and make your customers, like me, feel more engaged.

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SPONSORED VIDEO

Moving Up — Not Out — with Wilkerson

Trish Parks has always wanted to be in the jewelry business and that passion has fueled her success. The original Corinth Jewelers opened in the Mississippi town of the same name in 2007. This year, Parks moved her business from its original strip mall location to a 10,000-square foot standalone store. To make room for fresh, new merchandise, she asked Wilkerson to organize a moving sale. “What I remember most about the sale is the outpouring excitement and appreciation from our customers,” says Parks. Would she recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers? “I would recommend Wilkerson because they came in, did what they were supposed to and made us all comfortable. And we met our goals.”

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