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If I Owned A Jewelry Store: Alan Gregerman

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If I Owned A Jewelry Store: Alan Gregerman

 

Alan Gregerman, Award-Winning Author and Innovation Consultant.

BY THE INDESIGN TEAM

Published in the May2012 issue

Ispend most of my time thinking about the hidden potential of businesses, so jewelry stores pose a fascinating challenge. While jewelry is not one of life’s essential needs, I am in awe of the fact that people have been wearing jewelry for roughly 100,000 years as a form of self-expression, a symbol of status or membership in a particular group or tribe, as a sign of devotion to a particular belief or a loved one, or even as protection from a world of threats including evil spirits. That’s quite impressive when compared with most other luxury items. So there must be something pretty darn compelling about jewelry and the value of adorning ourselves with something beautiful.

With that in mind, let me give you a somewhat different twist on how to be more valuable in a world of Tiffany’s, department stores and online retailers.

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First, I’d be passionate about jewelry and its ability to enhance lives, and I’d make sure that everyone who worked in my store was equally passionate.

To do this, I’d invest in our collective knowledge and regularly connect with local artists and experts who could make our love of jewelry come alive. I’d also help employees to find their particular area of interest and expertise, then challenge them to build and share their knowledge with customers and each other through in-store events, recommendations for customers, and articles for our store blog, Facebook and Twitter sites.

Second, I’d commit to being a trusted adviser to customers. Providing insight on how to look and feel great with jewelry would be a key part of the equation.

To do this, I’d try to learn as much as I could about each customer — not simply what they like in terms of jewelry, but also what matters to them in terms of their personal style, interests and the places where they find inspiration. Then I’d use this knowledge to find jewelry that resonates with them as a person instead of a shopper. And I’d commit to sending new ideas to them on a regular basis through calls, notes, and invitations to events in our store and around the community.

Third, I’d make my store come alive with new products, trends, artists, cool experts, insights, energy and possibilities that would bring people in on a regular basis to discover what’s hot. I’d make sure the design of my store and the products I’d be selling were way more engaging, colorful and constantly changing to express a world of ideas and possibilities in terms of jewelry, style and lifestyle. I’d even think of the store as a gateway to exploration, opening the door to the magic of jewelry across cultures and time so that customers could unlock new and compelling options that weren’t confined to static cases and displays. In this way, I’d give much greater context to the power and magic of jewelry.

Fourth, I’d focus on the “whole” customer and partner with other lifestyle brands related to fashion, the arts and personal wellbeing. These could include local designers and clothing stores, personal care shops and salons, day spas, fitness clubs and yoga studios, as well as leading art galleries, bookstores, restaurants, hotels and travel companies where curious and thoughtful people hang out.

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Other writers in this column have argued that nobody “needs” jewelry, and on one level I’d have to agree. Yet people have been wearing it for 100,000 years because in some way, it made them more complete. Your challenge is to understand your customers and that history better than anyone else, and to use that knowledge to create a remarkable future in which jewelry continues to matter.

ALAN GREGERMAN is a leading authority on innovation, differentiation and unlocking the genius in all of our employees. His latest book, SURROUNDED BY GENIUSES, challenges our thinking about brilliance, how to stand out from the pack and where brilliant ideas actually come from. Visit www.alangregerman.typepad.com or follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/agregerman.

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