Black cats, Friday the 13th, or walking under a ladder may produce negative outcomes. On the other hand, an itchy palm, a four-leaf clover, or a heads-up penny can inspire something favorable, depending on who you ask. Either way, all are examples of superstitions. What are some that you believe?
I recently stumbled upon an article that made me reconsider the role of superstitions as they relate to jewelry marketing. In “Understanding superstition could get you a great deal on an engagement ring,” the author provides consumers with advice about how they might be able to score a bargain by using logic and capitalizing on other people’s emotion-driven superstitions.
But I’m more interested in how jewelry retailers can provide better products and services based on their potential customers’ most stubborn (and often inevitable) convictions. In this post, I’d like to make you aware how some customers’ superstitions might impact their willingness to buy your jewelry.
Researcher Anne Bowers studied nearly 15,000 rings on eBay and then conducted her own experiment with a simple engagement ring that she auctioned in three separate listings, with different histories.
In one description, she stated, “Due to a divorce, I am auctioning this gorgeous .70 carat diamond ring…Since my ex and I split up I don’t wear it anymore, but someone else should!” In another she claimed “I am still happily married—I am selling the ring because I prefer to wear only a wedding band because I work with my hands.” In the third, the “seller” was simply a store with an overstock of new rings.
The ring from the “divorce” sold for $550, while the ring from the “marriage” sold for $740, and the ring from the “store” sold for $820. Are you surprised? I certainly wasn’t. We attach so much emotional weight to jewelry that an accompanying negative history might affect a ring’s value as much physical damage to it.
If you’re a jewelry retailer selling products that contain recycled or pre-owned elements, always emphasize a story that will overpower the superstition. These days, environmentally-conscious consumers are seeking jewelry made from recycled elements like reclaimed diamonds and repurposed gold and platinum.
Though it’s important for you to disclose the recycled nature of these materials, you don’t have to focus on “ghost” part of the story. Instead, stress the environmental benefits rather than dwelling on the energy from owners past.
Innovative bridal jewelry retailer Brilliant Earth is the first Google search result for “recycled diamonds and gold,” and the copywriting on their Recycled Gold information page is…brilliant: “Dirty gold mining has a history of civil war, labor abuses, and environmental devastation.” They’re able to turn the reader’s attention away from the emotional baggage of recycled gold by directing the focus on the history of the gold mining industry.
But superstitions don’t just apply to pre-owned jewelry.
Pay attention to numbers. In 2013, the Harvard Business Review published an interesting piece about “bad-luck numbers” and how they might cause a customer to have second-thoughts about purchasing an item from your business. Avoid “cursed” numbers like 13 and 666 in pricing, addresses, product descriptions, and phone numbers.
Designate your own lucky charm. You don’t literally need to sell charms in order to try this tactic. Maybe one of your pieces means something special to you or was inspired by a unique moment in your life. Pass that energy along to your customers by setting that piece apart with its own story.
I always remember a bead store I once visited outside of Chicago, where the owner sold astrology-inspired beaded jewelry. Each piece was hand-infused with an intention during a very specific time of day, according to astrological charts, which the owner had studied.
Encourage the customer feel like it’s “meant to be.” I’m personally more inclined to make a purchase, especially an impulse purchase, when I feel like it’s “meant to be,” or that the item has found me in some way.
The right side of my brain knows that this is silly. Rationally, I know the “meant to be” feeling is a result of a welcoming and personalized shopping experience. The retailer has gone to great lengths to understand the target customer and to tailor every aspect of that shopping experience to what that customer would enjoy and appreciate. Think about how you can make your customer feel like she + your jewelry = something she can’t possibly ignore.
Whether or not you’re superstitious, you have to respect and honor the fact that many people do believe in superstitions. Have you encountered superstitious customers, and what have you done to counter their fears and hesitations?
Featured photo by Chris Yarzab