Jewelry Retailers on the Art of Visual Merchandising

At the “Visual Merchandising 101: Creating Captivating Experiences to Engage Your Customers” panel during JCK Las Vegas, Jim Bretzel (director of operations, Kesslers Diamonds), Stephanie Major (marketing director, Parlé), and Melissa Quick (president, Steve Quick Jeweler) delved into the art of retail aesthetics.

The JCK Talks event, moderated by sales and branding consultant Anna Samsonova and held on May 30 at the Venetian, emphasized the idea that visual merchandising should be integrated into an overall brand strategy. It may mean extra funds, but “if you don’t put money into branding, you don’t stay current,” said Bretzel. Be resourceful: Could wood scraps from a local lumberyard make for eye-catching jewelry backdrops? What about your nephew’s Star Wars figures? (Yes—really!)

Palette might be your first focus, said Major. When she started at Parlé, she was perplexed by the company’s use of muted neutrals. “I said to the owners, ‘We’re a color house—let’s be colorful!’ We started playing around with display colors that would enhance the beauty of our gemstones.”

Parle cases
A beautifully styled case at Parlé

The best branding strategies, all agreed, engage customers on multiple sensory levels. In terms of scent, Bretzel said he relies on “a signature vanilla grapefruit scent” created for Kesslers by a bespoke fragrance company. For smaller spaces, Quick suggested Nest’s reed diffusers (her pick: Moroccan Amber).

The music you play in the store is also key. Bretzel uses playlists created by Soundtrack Your Brand (“We do upbeat, current music that’s a little louder,” he said). Quick personally curates an eclectic mix of songs and updates the selection quarterly. “Creativity of music is part of our brand,” she said.

Sips and nibbles can also be part of a store’s sensory appeal, the panelists said. Presenting jewelry that you have cleaned or repaired on a branded trinket tray with a couple of chocolates, offering freshly baked cookies, or pouring a signature cocktail (e.g., the Steve Quick 35, made with local, small-batch spirits, created in 2021 for the retailer’s 35th anniversary) are just a few ways to make your customers feel special—and ensure their return.

Top: Jim Bretzel, Stephanie Major, and Melissa Quick (photos by Camilla Sjodin)

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