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Sally Furrer: Stock for the Self-Purchaser

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In order to be successful with the female self purchaser, you need to understand how and why they shop and the product they want. They are females first, and shoppers second.

One of the problems with retail jewelry today is it is event- and gift-driven, it is centered around romance, and it is targeted to men. The consumer has been trained to think of jewelry as a special occasion purchase, and not an everyday purchase, or self-purchase.

The result is that women can hesitate to spend money on jewelry, even though they just spent $500 on shoes. We need to encourage women to reward and accessorize themselves with fine jewelry.

The most important thing is to carry designs that will fit her everyday lifestyle, jewelry that she can wear with jeans, at the grocery and to the office.

I would focus your assortments on colored gems and pearls, with diamond accents.

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It is extremely important that the jewelry be in the $50 to $2,000 sweet spot. Every woman has a dollar threshold where she feels the need to discuss it with her husband or prefers that he purchase it.

Merchandise collections based on a look and feel, not by designer or product category since women shop by design primarily.

In apparel style today, things coordinate loosely but do not match exactly. Keep that in mind when creating assortments: Do not feature sets of earrings, pendants, bracelets. Vignettes of complementary jewelry are a great time saver because you have done the coordination work for her.

It is extremely important that the jewelry be in the $50 to $2,000 sweet spot. Every woman has a dollar threshold where she feels the need to discuss it with her husband or prefers that he purchase it.

Your colored gemstone jewelry should be influenced by the seasonal color palette (check out www.pantone.com). Grays have been hot for several seasons now — are you carrying gray pearls, or gray moonstones so a woman can match her jewelry to her wardrobe? Women tend to connect with jewelry designed by women for women. I also find that women designers tend to incorporate versatility into their designs.

When you are displaying your product, use trendy colors and hues in the cases that can be changed quarterly. Your inventory may not all be new, but by changing the presentation you can keep it looking fresh. Also, don’t forget your windows — women will spend more time browsing windows than men — and it can be the deciding point of whether to enter.

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The female self-purchaser is seeking fashion-driven, unique and creative designs, with affordable pricing, inventively presented, during an enjoyable shopping experience. If you can provide these things you will capture dollars that she is currently spending on costume jewelry, online or on TV shopping networks. You can attract and satisfy this powerful demographic!

About the Author

Sally Furrer is a merchandising consultant with 20-plus years of jewelry industry experience. E-mail her at [email protected], or visit http://sallyfurrerconsulting.com. Meet Sally at The SMART Jewelry Show, at Chicago’s Navy Pier from April 21-23, 2012. To register, go to smartjewelryshow.com/register

This story originally appeared in the March 2011 edition of INSTORE

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