Quick! You’ve only got 9 seconds!

How store design entices customers

With a lengthy background in retailing and store design, I’m always looking at how a store environment can be improved. And I’m always amazed at how storeowners forget to take a look at their stores from their customers’ viewpoint. With independent jewelers now competing against big box stores and the internet, it’s more important than ever that they create an EXPERIENCE that wows jewelry buyers and makes them want to return again and again!

Quick! You’ve got 9 seconds!

Most research says that you’ve got exactly nine seconds to engage a customer’s senses when she enters your store. If your store is a somber, vanilla-looking box, exactly which sense are you engaging? What physical reaction are you encouraging besides a yawn? Exactly.

But don’t despair; I’m here to give you some thoughts/ideas/pet peeves that can take you from clueless jeweler to relevant retailer.

Crank it up

Sound makes the world spend money, and there is ample science to back this up.  If your customers can overhear each other, they are a lot less likely to ask questions or to stay in the store very long. Does your store sound like a funeral home? Or, does it say, “Stay! Have fun and relax?” No, you don’t have to play rock and roll, but you should have something upbeat that also reflects your personal brand. For instance, if you do a lot of custom work with a target audience of millennials, play some indie music, preferably by local bands. Have a more traditional store with an older clientele? Feature upbeat jazz music. The truth is that the playlist matters less than the ambiance you create. So break out the stereo and pipe some tunes through the speakers.

Make it cozy
Is your store casual and inviting or stuffy and intimidating?  If it’s the latter, you can solve things pretty easily by creating a lounge area for customers to relax and sit down. Have water and soft drinks (or beer and splits of champagne!) in a small refrigerator for customers who just need a breather. Husbands with a cold drink in hand are less likely to grouse about hanging out in a jewelry store while their wives shop. And speaking of that… Have a full-length mirror around to give your customer a great view of herself with all her bling on. Let her have that moment!

A layout that sells

Those U-shaped layouts of the past just spin customers in and out of your store. Incorporate transition zones for different types of jewelry – create a bridal area, for instance, and a customization center, too. With discrete zones, you encourage customers to browse and discover everything you have to offer.

And when you plan the layout, keep in mind that most customers naturally turn to the right as they enter. So think carefully about what merchandise you position there for them to see. Perhaps that’s where you put your fantasy items or bridal. To create more space to explore, try pushing your cases against the walls, and remove the glass from the front to allow customers to touch the merchandise. This won’t work for high-end-live product, but it works great for less expensive items. Which brings me to the next big point…

Reach out and touch some bling

Today’s shoppers should be encouraged to touch the merchandise. Seriously. Research bears it out: The more they touch, the more comfortable they are with the item, the more likely they are to buy. Why do you think Apple has been so successful?

“What?? You want me to have merchandise on display for customers to touch??” you’re asking. Well, yes. It doesn’t have to be the high-price-point pieces. Put a monogram kit on the counter, or place a birthstone kit near the register. Besides being great impulse purchases, they’re unique opportunities for your customers to feel the jewelry.

What about bridal? If you’re like most independent jewelers, bridal is a crucial component of your business. But studies show that with consumers, there’s an unwritten five-ring rule. That means that they’ll ask to try on just five rings before they decide they’ve “bothered” you long enough. But with

bridal prototypes
, featuring beautiful designs cast in alloy and set with CZ, your customers can try on up to 160 rings without “bothering” you to take pieces from the case.

With an interactive ring display, you can show even non-alloy jewelry with confidence.


Color me engaged
Yes, color is easy to change, but the wrong colors can set the tone for a snooze fest; boring hues are the visual equivalent of a lullaby. If you have some money to spare, hire a commercial interior designer to advise you on the right wall colors. Consider adding some texture in the form of wall coverings. This small investment could completely change the look and feel of your store.

Keep it fresh
Adhere to the M&M merchandising philosophy. “M&M?” you ask. Yes! Movement is Money! Did your customers see the exact same merchandise in the exact same spot one month ago? If so, move it! Use a plan-o-gram with in-case displays and change things up weekly. Also, be sure to schedule all of your holiday themes at the beginning of the year and stick to the calendar.

Join the 21st century
Bring technology to your sales floor. Have iPads readily available with access to other merchandise you do not have in stock. Stuller Showcase is the perfect tool in helping you capture a sale when you don’t have something in your cases. You can show every Stuller product – with your mark-up! – creating virtual inventory. Partnered with 3C items, you can give your customers exactly what they want, often the very next day. There is no better way to secure a sale when you don’t have the physical product in your store.

Dress the part
This is a touchy subject for some, but one I think is so important.  Does the way your staff dresses say I am unapproachable and uptight? In today’s world, and especially among Millennials, professionalism does not equal a suit and tie. We are, after all, in the fashion industry, so let your employees express themselves in a tasteful way that reflects your store brand.

Really, store environment is the easiest ways to bring new life to your business. It’s also the most neglected. But now you know how to fix things. So roll up your sleeves, paint your walls, move your cases, and pipe in some tunes. Then stand back and watch your customers enjoy the EXPERIENCE of shopping (and buying) in your store.

What’s your design strategy? Have you employed some of these techniques? Or do you have some other cool ideas? Share them with us in the comments section.

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