How To Differentiate A Jewellery Business

by Paul Simister on February 14, 2013

How to differentiate a jewellery business is another of my trade and industry focused guides to differentiation.

This is just an introduction to the issue of differentiating a jewellery business and not definitive. It’s intended to give you ideas if you are a jeweller who is struggling to find a clear position in your market and isn’t intended to replace working with me or another strategy consultant or coach.

Jewellery Business Or Jewelry Business

Let’s first deal with the spelling issue.

I’m based in the UK so for me it’s jewellery and jewellery business.

If you’re American, it’s jewelry and jewelry business.

Don’t blame me, blame Noah Webster for causing confusion.

What Is Jewellery?

According to Wikipedia…

“Jewellery or jewelry is a form of personal adornment, such as brooches, rings, necklaces, earrings, and bracelets.”

I’d also add watches to this list of items since many watches go far beyond the functional issue of telling the time.

It may contain jewels (gemstones) or precious metals or it may be a trinket with little intrinsic value but look pretty.

Why Do Men Buy Jewellery?

Retail guru and author Paco Underhill (in his book, Call of the Mall) says that jewellery has bought by men for women for three big reasons:

  • Keys to the front door – Engagement, anniversary, birthday – these are public statements of affection and intention.
  • Keys to the back door – Presents for mistresses and girlfriends that create very favourable impressions but avoid commitments.
  • Keys out of the doghouse – To say sorry and to make amends for bad behaviour. Jewellery is expensive and that means making a big sacrifice to buy it, a clear sign that the man is sorry.

Why Do Women Want Jewellery?

Jewellery helps a woman to feel even more attractive and more valued and loved by her husband or partner.

It helps to differentiate her from the other women she knows (and who her partner knows).

It also helps draw attention to and emphasise particular features.

Jewellery can also have sentimental meaning. A particular piece may have a far higher sentimental value than intrinsic value because of all the memories it has.

While women have worn some kind of jewellery across all cultures and time, certain associations are due to advertising. Diamond firm De Beers have done a fantastic job of linking diamonds to engagement rings with the slogan “a diamond is forever” and the desire for everlasting love and commitment.

Now that we’ve taken a quick look at the reasons for the demand for jewellery, let’s look at the main topic.

How To Differentiate A Jewellery Business

We’ll look at the seven big questions of business success and how they can be used to differentiate a jewellery business.

What’s important is that you create a distinct definition and feel for your business that sets it apart from your competitors in a way that adds value to the customer and creates an emotional or logical reason for deciding to buy from your business.

This isn’t about being different just to be different and the ways that your jewellery business are different need to make sense in a way that reinforces rather than offsets the customer value criteria.

Your aim is to qualify as a suitable supplier and then win preference.

This means you have to balance the general industry key success factors while providing factors of difference.

It involves managing a trade-off between what many customers want and what particular customers want so that you hit the marketing bullseye.

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1 – Using “Who” To Differentiate A Jewellery Business

I find “who” is a great question to start with when thinking about differentiating a business because it puts the focus on customer.

Suitable questions are:

  • Who is going to buy the jewellery? Is the business going to specialise in helping men make the right buying decisions?
  • Who is going to wear the jewellery? A business could specialise in men’s jewellery or women’s jewellery. perhaps there is some social/demographic factor that can be used to create a niche.
  • Who has designed or made the jewellery?
  • Who has worn the jewellery? Celebrity endorsements can create preference because of the desire to be like someone you admire. As a middle aged British man, I’m drawn to associations with James Bond so Omega watches have an appeal.

2 – Using “What” To Differentiate A Jewellery Business

The second question refers to what and this means that the jeweller can specialise in certain types of jewellery – engagement rings or necklaces – and build a reputation as a specialist.

Or certain types of components. The obvious are the metals – gold, silver, platinum – or the gemstones – diamonds, rubies, sapphires. I remember talking to the owner of a business that only sold pearls in the Jewellery Quarter in Birmingham.

A less obvious what is “what’s the story behind the jewellery?” Perhaps it’s my romantic soul but I find stories about products and businesses appealing. This can also link to differentiating by why.

3 – Using “Where” To Differentiate A Jewellery Business

Before the Internet, location used to be a key factor. Many businesses didn’t need to worry about differentiating themselves because their location in a small town meant that they were the only viable supplier.

Many towns were large enough to make one jewellery store profitable but not two.

The growth of the Internet, TV shopping channels and mail order and the increased specialisation that has enabled means that the “where” factor for differentiation has lost some of its local impact.

In larger towns, where remains an issue. There are advantages in both being well separated from competitors or being close to the competition. We all find it easier to buy when there is a small choice and we can make direct comparisons.

Where might relate to jewellery from a particular country or region which has a unique style.

4 – The “How” Factor For Differentiating A Jewellery Business

How can refer to how the business markets its jewellery to customers. An Internet business relying on search is very different from a retail store dependent on passing traffic or a jewellery business that promotes its products on the shopping channels on TV or through mail order.

How may refer to some unique process for making the jewellery or the components. perhaps everything is hand made and assembled.

5 – The “How Many” Factor For Differentiating A Jewellers

How many is all about using numbers to differentiate your business.

It may be about the stock range – more than 2,600 engagement rings, the largest selection for 200 miles.

It might be a factor in the jewellery itself – we only sell diamond jewellery with diamonds on at least one carat.

It might be about the number of items of a particular design – all our jewellery is unique, designed for you and only you. Our guarantee is that we will never create two identical pieces of jewellery.

Or it might be a small limited edition – only 25 of these necklaces will ever be made and sold.

6 – Using “Why” As A Factor Of Difference In Your Jewellery Business

It can be effective to link your business to a good cause to help differentiate the business and provide a unique reason for the customer to buy from you. It’s less obvious for a jewellers than other businesses – think charity Christmas cards – but any business can find some link.

Or perhaps the why is about why your business exists.

Someone ripped off by an immoral jewellery dealer might start a rival business and emphasise ethics and fair dealing.

7 – Using “How Much” To Create Customer Preference

The final way to differentiate yourself is to use price.

At it’s simplest level, we can see this as positioning along the customer value map.

If a reasonable sized town has one jewellery business doing very nicely with a mid range offering, it may attract attention from a competitor with shops in other regional towns. If it’s a well to do area, then a premium jewellery business might do well. Alternatively a budget jewellers might increase the overall market as price conscious customers can buy jewellery as well as other presents.

Alternatively this may be about creating customer preference by offering the lowest prices for the same pieces of jewellery. Purists may challenge whether this is a differentiation strategy and argue that it’s more about being the lowest cost supplier. My view is that low selling prices and the lowest buying prices don’t necessarily have to go together although economic viability will limit some options.

How To Differentiate A Jewellery Business

Many businesses struggle to find ways to differentiate themselves on their own, partly because the owners know their own businesses too well. They struggle to see what’s special about it.

The seven big questions shows that there are plenty of different dimensions to make your jewellery business different. At its core, differentiating a jewellery business is about looking at:

  • the business;
  • the customers – who they are and what they want and need; and
  • the competitors

Paul Simister is a business strategy coach who helps business owners to differentiate their businesses and develop winning strategies. Get your free copy of The Six Steps Profit Formula.

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