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Want to Sell a Diamond? Favor Speed Over Specificity

RDI Diamonds VP shares lessons learned during the pandemic.

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THE WORLD IS a very different place — the understatement of the century, I know, I know. In the world of diamonds, many changes have occurred in the past 7-8 months. So here I am to tell you what we’ve learned and letting you behind the curtain so you can see what we’re seeing.

A jewelry customer walks into two stores in Anytown, USA. Jeweler A calls into RDI to inquire about the loose inventory that we have on hand. After sharing, Jeweler A states, “I will talk to the customer and call you back,” or says, “That isn’t exactly what he asked for; I will let you know” — code for “I’m going to keep calling.” Jeweler B calls in and the requests are strikingly similar — they have a similar conversation with their account manager (a different one because we don’t assign territories) about availability, accept the best option or two and request the diamonds be sent overnight. Guess what happens? Jeweler B makes the sale.

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The lesson? The urgency and speed of service won the sale. Why? According to Retail Dive, The vast majority (87%) of shoppers begin product searches on digital channels, which is leading to the consumers believing they know what they want and are educated based on the content they see online. But at the end of the day, we cannot forget we are the experts, and if the customers only wanted a G SI2, they could find this option all over online or at many other retailers. We believe they want an expert and a relationship! If the consumer is giving you the opportunity, take a shot, be the expert, and order in diamonds for them. Be more flexible on size, quality, shape, and budget. Success favors the bold!

At RDI, we see the jewelers that are the most flexible and responsive doing exceptionally well. The most selective jewelers, those “looking for the perfect diamond” in the small box the client provided, are being left at the cash register altar, frequently falling short and missing the sale. Don’t be afraid to show them a different shape, quality or size. Bottom line: Show them SOMETHING! They are buying, it may as well be from you.

Customers also are not browsing long. In today’s COVID climate, a jewelry store visit is a destination trip. Long the most common blow-off line a customer used when approached by a retail associate was, “I’m just looking.” Those days are done. Customers appreciate local “mom and pop” stores more than ever. Customers come in and expect a professional experience. When someone comes in looking for a 1 carat G SI2, stop running to the safe and looking for a G SI2. Take a breath and build a relationship by asking questions about what they want and why they want it. They don’t need you if they truly knew what they needed. In that scenario, they could buy online or at the mall or down the street! What they truly need is a relationship with a trusted advisor who will look out for their best interest and who takes time and care in helping them select the perfect diamond ring.

Customers today want to buy, and they are, in droves! They bought engagement rings at the fastest rate during the months of July through October that RDI Diamonds has seen in over 28 years (and confirmed by Sherry Smith, director of business development at The Edge, and her VIBE report, which shows month after month of strong jewelry sales, primarily driven by diamonds)! Want to know how much quicker? A typical RDI call diamond sale, pre-pandemic, took 6-8 days to make. Now the average sale is taking 50% less time to close, between 3-4 days. That is a significant drop you should take note of.

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Lastly, competition is constantly evolving, but some things stay the same. For a bit of time, those with a store in the mall sat on the sidelines. Some owners stayed closed for extended periods (state mandated or not). Some stores never closed. Online sellers gained traction as a resource, but brick-and-mortar stores continue to lead. Jewelry clients want to see it, touch it, and experience it in person. We have seen that trend strengthen during the pandemic, not retreat. Know your value: You are a trusted, important member of your community. You bring people together, commemorate life memories and help set the foundation of future families in your community. That is something we should all be celebrating. We could all use some of that in the new normal.

Andrew Rickard – RDI Diamonds, Inc. Vice President of Operations

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When Tom Moses decided to close one of the two Moses Jewelers stores in western Pennsylvania, it was time to call in the experts. After reviewing two candidates, Moses, a co-owner of the 72 year-old business, decided to go with Wilkerson. The sale went better than expected. Concerned about running it during the pandemic, Moses says it might have helped the sale. “People wanted to get out, so there was pent-up demand,” he says. “Folks were not traveling so there was disposable income, and we don’t recall a single client commenting to us, feeling uncomfortable. It was busy in here!” And perhaps most importantly, Wilkerson was easy to deal with, he says, and Susan, their personal Wilkerson consultant, was knowledgeable, organized and “really good.” Now, the company can focus on their remaining location — without the hassle of carrying over merchandise that either wouldn’t fit or hadn’t sold. “The decision to hire Wilkerson was a good one,” says Moses.

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