What is Your Store’s Story?

What is Your Store’s Story?

Atlanta–Whatever got or has kept you in the jewelry business makes a great foundation for building an experience at your store, a keynote speaker told attendees of the Atlanta Jewelry Show this weekend.

The March edition of AJS featured a number of speakers at part of its education program, including keynote addresses on Saturday and Sunday morning.

Mike Wittenstein, a managing partner at marketing company Storyminers, delivered the Saturday keynote, “Want to Beat the Big Guys? Use Storytelling As Your Strategy,” which focused on creating an experience in the retail environment rather than simply focusing on landing a sale.

Wittenstein stressed that all jewelers do the same thing–they sell jewelry–but what differentiates them is how they do it.

In the era of Yelp and Google reviews, it’s important to create an experience for customers that gets them to say something about you, rather than solely trying to say something to your customers, Wittenstein explained to the crowd who gathered to hear him on Saturday morning.

An experience, he said, gives people insight into who you are and how you do things, not simply what you sell.

The retailers in the audience were on board.

Trisha Kennedy of Kennedy’s Custom Jewelers in Blue Spring, Missouri said that her father, the store’s owner and a master watchmaker, kept a “treasure chest” of cool, discarded watch parts that he invited children to play with when they came to the store with their parents, often letting them take a piece home.

This illustrated Wittenstein’s ideas about showing people who you are as a company. Many people can repair a watch or sell jewelry, he said, but not everyone is going to provide a welcoming environment where the kids have something to do while parents shop.

This is exactly the type of experience that encourages customers to leave an online review about a business.

At Storyminers, Wittenstein focuses on helping businesses create their brand story.

For jewelers, he offered one simple question to determine their brand stories: “What took your breath away and got you into the business, or got you to stay in the business, when you first started?”

“Whatever lights your fire,” he said, “is what you build your store’s experience on.”

Carrie Jester of Jester Jewelers in Cincinnati talked about her grandparents, who started the store, and their passion for the business.

She told the audience that today, true to the store’s name, she and her staff focus on laughing a lot. They communicate joy.

They also hold wine tastings for customers and, occasionally, offer wine to calm the nerves of anxious engagement ring buyers.

Wittenstein advised retailers to go above and beyond in advising customers when shopping for engagement rings. He told retailers to ask about the planned proposals, share stories and ideas, and connect on a personal level.

“Teach them how you give a gift is as important as giving the gift,” he said.

Wittenstein also emphasized the importance of finding out what emotion matters to each customer, as it is emotion that ultimately will cause people to make decisions about buying luxury goods.

He told the jewelers that they are in “the business of making experiences, not selling jewelry.”

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