In the course of researching the topic of “The New Rules of Sales” — the “Big Story” for April’s INSTORE — I learned about a new store in Sarasota, FL, that features innovative store design and customer service to create a relaxed selling environment.
At the 7,000-square-foot Diamond Vault, which opened in February, the process of discovery begins when customers first walk in the door. They are greeted by a concierge, who offers a beverage and helps direct them to the appropriate person or area in the store — i.e. service/repair, vintage/estate jewelry, engagement rings, fine jewelry, etc. This approach can cut down on the “just looking” response since the concierge isn’t directly trying to sell them something. At the Diamond Vault, the concierge, who is a graduate gemologist, is equipped with a computer, a phone and the expertise to answer customer-service questions, no matter how technical they may be.
Once inside, customers can’t miss the 13-foot Diamond Wall. The wall can showcase up to 250 diamonds in a matrix of varying size, shape, weight, color and clarity, which allows customers to see a large selection of diamonds side-by-side for a better comparison. All of the diamonds on the wall are available for purchase either as loose stones or for custom settings. The area facing the wall has 800 engagement ring mountings on display.
“It makes it easy to discover something yourself,” Michael Chokr says. “Our product sells itself and the environment is conducive to shopping but not being sold to.” Customers may select a diamond from the wall for closer examination under a microscope in one of the private consultation rooms.
During the first week the store was open the Chokrs sold three diamonds from the wall to Gen-Y engagement-ring shoppers.