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Eileen McClelland

Your Goal? Create Experiences For Shoppers Of All Ages

It isn’t as hard as you’d think.

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FOR INSTORE’S BIG STORY in March about how to find new groups of potential customers, several Brain Squadders told me about their efforts to reach young customers, and mentioned the importance of bracelets and charm collecting.

Consultant Kate Peterson, CEO of Performance Concepts, suggested offering a charm bracelet with a crown or with beads in school colors to the prom queen at local high schools. “That is the girl that every other girl wants to be, and she’s wearing a piece of jewelry that is going to become a requested piece of jewelry,” says Kate Peterson of Performance Concepts. Beads are easiest because they are easiest to customize to the school. And you’ll get their parents’ business, too.

One effort I learned about too late to include in the March article was Borsheims’ collaboration with local Girl Scouts.
Last month, Girl Scouts joined jewelers and jewelry experts at Borsheims in Omaha for a collaborative art experience, part of artVenture, a fundraiser for the Girl Scouts of Nebraska.

At Borsheims, girls from the citywide Girl Scouts Advisory Group, a leadership group for girls in grades six through 12, worked to create two Pandora charm bracelets for the raffle portion of the gala.

Karen VanHaitsma, Senior Jeweler, spoke to the girls about what a jeweler does, how she became interested in jewelry design and what an average day as a jeweler looks like.

Then the girls worked with Borsheims’ Pandora specialists, selecting charms for the bracelets that they felt best represented the Girl Scouts, projects they are working on, or a significant event in their lives. The two finished bracelets will be auctioned off at the artVenture event in late March.

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Organizers reported that the girls had a great time at Borsheims, learning about jewelry while eating cookies and designing their bracelets. Each girl was also able to take home a Pandora bracelet of their own with a “Seeing Stars” charm on it, as Borsheims encouraged them to continue shooting for the stars.

In addition to cultivating an interest in jewelry in future customers, events like this ease the intimidation factor sometimes associated with jewelry stores for people of all ages.

Benjamin Smithee of the Smithee Group, who will be a speaker at the SMART Jewelry Store in Chicago in April, says since there is “no reason fundamentally to have a retail store,” in a digital age, retailers in any industry must do everything they can to create experiences in their stores.

But jewelry stores face additional challenges in making the experience pleasant and special.

"We’ve made the jewelry store unpleasant by design,” Smithee contends. "We created this vault where the consumer comes in, is under surveillance with a security guard at the door, — and we expect them to relax? There are certain fundamental things we can’t get away from – safety, security, value – but in every other aspect of the experience, create experiences for the consumer.

"Every Saturday or Sunday I would have a ladies’ mimosa day, and bring in a designer, every single week without fail. Because how much does orange juice and a bottle of cheap Champagne cost?"

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Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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