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How to Make Jewelry Your Customers Want to Buy

Sometimes, jewelry brands are so committed to their vision that they lose sight of what customers want. While it’s true that a jewelry brand must find the right customers, usually the right customers know even better than the brand what’s most in demand and what the market needs.

Have you ever seen Vans sneakers, which are popular among skaters? One of the Vans styles in particular, with a checkerboard design, has become an iconic look. According to this article, “In the late ‘70s, Steve Van Doren, son of Vans founder Paul Van Doren, noticed that teenage skaters were coloring the rubber midsole of their shoe with black pens to create a checkerboard look.”

Inspired by what the brand’s target customers were already doing, Steve decided to develop the idea further and incorporated the checkerboard into the shoe design. After some time, the look became synonymous with the brand, and it still holds meaning today. The best thing about the checkerboard look is that, even while it represents a certain moment in time and culture, it’s still timeless and fashionable decades later.

Jewelry business owners can learn a thing or two from Vans and the brand’s development of a checkerboard style. On one hand, many jewelry business owners create or source attractive jewelry designs that, in theory, should be wildly successful. Then they wonder, “Why isn’t anyone buying our beautiful and innovative products?” The truth is that sometimes what the jewelry business owner thinks is desirable isn’t always desired by the target customer. Unlike Vans, most jewelry business owners aren’t often letting customer trends, habits, and preferences guide their product development process.

What we’ve seen with many jewelry brands is that market research is usually conducted after the products have been developed. Then, the jewelry brand finds the appropriate customers for the products. However, what if jewelry brands decided to flip this way of doing market research on its head, and they focused first on serving the underserved markets by developing products specifically for them?

After all, selling fine jewelry – or any luxury item – is all about creating relationships with customers, who are buying into a complete story and lifestyle. In creating products, a jewelry brand should be envisioning the types of long-term relationships they’d like to form and sustain.
Instead of forcing a certain type of jewelry style or design on the customer, consider spending more time with your ideal customer and figuring out what she truly wants or what she hasn’t even realized she wants.

You won’t really know what your customer wants until you spend time with the customer. What are her fashion frustrations and pain points? What makes her move from “that’s cute” to “here’s my credit card”? Ask her. One of the best things about social media is that you have access to influencers and real people who are potentially included in your target customer demographic. Start by doing some informal research. What are these customers wearing in their day-to-day lives, and how are they adapting accessories to make the accessories work for them? If they all seem to be moving quickly from one activity to another, then you may want to consider making transitional jewelry that can be worn during a workout or for date night. If they tend to keep their accessories simple, then you may want to dream up a new take on minimalist jewelry.

If you’re already an established jewelry brand that wants to get more in touch with your customer base, then you may want to consider developing a capsule collection with a top social media fashion or lifestyle influencer. Major brands like Express and Nordstrom are already taking this approach, partnering with influencers like Olivia Culpo and Blair Eadie. Working in collaboration with the influencer, the brand can come up with new, relevant designs. This approach to product development has two major benefits: 1) it taps into exactly what the target demographic wants, since the influencer is serving as an ambassador for the demographic, and 2) it exposes the product to everyone in that influencer’s network.

If you already have a network of customer contacts, then you can also consider developing a survey, which will allow you to poll your customers about what they already like about your brand and what they would like to see in the future. You can also avoid asking anything about your products and instead quiz your customers about their fashion pain points and current fashion affinities. To boost participation in a survey, you can enter all survey takers in a drawing to win a free piece of jewelry.

All in all, I’ve seen too many jewelry brands move forward with ideas that are good in theory but haven’t been tested on real-life customers. A piece of jewelry can still be beautiful but not covetable, and it can still be award-winning but not worth the money to a customer. Know your customers first and foremost, and they will guide your way to success.