Monday, 27 February 2012

Painted Cows

After landing at the Calgary International Airport, I drove past a painted cow.  It was a life-sized cow like dozens of others that were put on display around Calgary.  I don’t know the specifics of the art organization or the charity, but I do know that a challenge was issued for people to paint and decorate the identical blank cows in unique ways.  Every one turned-out to have a distinct theme, different color scheme and promoted some cause or sponsor.  I saw the silhouette of a cow.  Then I saw bright prime colors.  I never got close enough to investigate the theme or the sponsor as I hurried away from the airport.

So it goes with jewellery stores.  A person walking down the street or mall looks upon your store and recognizes through the silhouette that you are a vendor of jewellery.  But then they begin to recognize the differences between you and other jewellers.  They see colors, displays, counter-cards, and people dressed in a certain way.  If they like what they initially see, they may actually look at your product.

From the superficial trappings that mark you as a jewellery store to the colors, textures, lighting, dress-code and millwork that begin to whet their appetite, you set the stage for customer expectations.  Those expectations will mentally be compared to your presentation of the product.  If the expectations are met, then there is a clear path to making a sale.  If they expect one thing and you demonstrate another, they will be distracted by the incongruity.

The movie preview promises an action-packed suspense thriller.  The movie actually takes-on a more subtle story line and a relaxed pace.  It may be a great movie but because you were expecting something else, you feel like the producers tricked you into buying a ticket.

I think Ben Moss has done one of the best jobs of creating an accurate silhouette with their bright stores and colorful murals.  They don’t have dark-stained hardwood millwork and curved glass cabinets.  I’m sure they could afford such luxurious settings, but it would send the wrong message.  Keep this in mind if you are planning on remodeling. 

Until then, make sure that you take advantage of dress-codes, service and sales presentations.  Don’t try to be ultra-funky and modern if you have classic, conservative jewellery to show.  If you boast the finest products and a rich history, your repair service had better be top-notch too.  Don’t try to be overly formal if you’ve brought-in a bunch of clearance merchandise to supplement your half-off sale. 

Think of your customer experience as the paint on that cow.  What colors and shapes are required to artistically reflect the experience that awaits them inside?

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