GIA Resources Give Retailers an Edge in Customer Education
July 27, 2018
Hand in hand, a couple opens the door and walks into a jewelry store. The sparkle in their eyes is as bright as the gems in the display case they approach. It’s clear they are serious – about each other and the jewelry.
The engagement ring – or other special occasion jewelry – buying process is one that jewelry retailers see every day in stores around the world
For many consumers, the experience is exciting, magical and breathtaking, but it can also be overwhelming. This gives retailers an opportunity to guide their customers through the process by sharing knowledge about beautiful diamonds and colored gems so they are informed and confident in their purchase.
GIA's Retailer Support Program provides retailers with the tools to do just that. It offers a variety of resources – many available at no cost – so retailers can easily share and explain information about diamonds, gemstones and GIA reports with their customers. Since its 2007 inception, thousands of retailers have joined. The number of participating retailers has grown steadily, increasing by 30 percent in 2017 alone.
“The Retailer Support Program makes it easy for retailers around the world to educate consumers and their staff on the 4Cs of diamond quality and the value of a grading report, as well as the quality factors of sapphire, ruby, emerald, pearl and many other beautiful gems,” says Tali Nay, GIA Retailer Support Program manager.
Nay, a GIA Graduate Gemologist, says the program supports GIA’s public-benefit mission by helping ensure that consumers who purchase diamonds and gemstones are knowledgeable and confident.
Retailer Lookup: Connecting Consumers and Retailers
The program includes GIA’s Retailer Lookup, a free listing service for any retailer who offers GIA-graded diamonds or has GIA-trained employees. The Retailer Lookup lets consumers search for retailers by city or postal code and provides them with addresses, store hours and directions to registered stores.Retailers are quick to recognize the Retailer Lookup’s ability to drive traffic to their stores. “The Retailer Lookup is a valuable tool – it has opened up our customer network and helped us connect with those looking for a jeweler with our high standards, focus on quality and transparency,” said Jonathan Goldberg, president and CEO of Kimberfire in Toronto, Canada. “We are very excited about the potential for this tool to help us reach new customers and grow our brand.” Consumer interest in the tool has increased dramatically in the last few years. “So far in 2018, we’ve seen a 60 percent increase in the number of consumers using the Retailer Lookup to find retailers, which demonstrates the appeal of GIA reports and expertise,” Nay says.
Counter Tools for Retailers Around the World
Available in English, Simplified Chinese and Japanese, the retailer.GIA.edu website houses a collection of resources, including point-of-sale materials – such as counter cards, signage and brochures – and digital downloads. All printed materials can be ordered online, some in up to 18 different languages, and delivered directly to the store, with free global shipping for a limited time.The GIA counter cards and brochures are a great “quick reference” for sales staff, says Dan Claesson, master jeweler at Studio Jewelers in Lakeland, Florida. They make it easy to explain the 4Cs, says Jivan Yeramian, custom jewelry designer and owner of Jivan Collection in Montreal, Canada. “The most beneficial tools (for us) are definitely the counter display tools – the diamond sorting pad and the 4Cs counter display,” he says. “As someone who has worked mostly behind a jeweler’s bench in an atelier, the GIA tools definitely helped me earn more credibility and it also provided me with knowledge. Both of these things now help me with sales. “Being able to better describe my work is very helpful when it comes to marketing (my business).”
Interactive Customer Education Online and In Store
Many consumers start their shopping online and the Retailer Support Program’s digital resources help retailers educate consumers behind the counter and on the screen. Free videos, images, logos, training modules and interactive digital downloads are available for use in the retailer’s advertising, websites and social media pages.“In our store and our website, we use the interactive 4Cs tool,” says Claesson of Studio Jewelers. In addition to offering an informative, educational experience to help customers learn about the 4Cs of diamond quality, Claesson says it’s also a great tool for training staff. “They do not hesitate to use it to educate customers because it is hard to make a mistake selling a GIA-graded diamond and using GIA's tools.”
Colored Gems and Pearls: A Rainbow of Colorful Resources
When it comes to colored gemstones and pearls, there are distinct quality factors for consumers to learn. The Retailer Support Program includes brochures, counter tools and other downloads to address many of the common questions customers have about colored gems – and can also inspire them with the rich and varied hues that can be found.“We’ve done a lot recently to expand our portfolio of tools and resources that focus on colored stones,” Nay says. “On the digital end, we launched a series of free birthstone images that can be used on retailer websites to promote seasonal sales. And our new 48-page book, “The Passion of Colored Gemstones,” features lore, quality factors, and geographical source information for 18 of the most popular colored gemstones. It’s a beautiful book that retailers are using for everything from in-store reference to customer giveaways.” Linda Horrell, owner of MarBill Diamonds and Jewelry in Belle Vernon, Pennsylvania, says they have recently been using the new colored stone books the most. She says customers of the independent, family owned store – which has been in business for 54 years – really love the book. “The newest colored stone books are always on our colored stone showcase and are given to our customers on almost a daily basis,” she says. “It gives me the opportunity to talk to and educate the consumer who is interested in color.” Horrell says that MarBill hands out the GemKids Posters to local children who are interested in rocks and gems. “I also refer them to the GemKids website,” she says.
Helping Retailers Help Consumers
For many retailers, offering education on diamonds and colored gems helps customers feel assured and gives them the added confidence to make the purchase. And with the expanding portfolio of retailer materials – including the newest addition, the 4Cs Interactive Counter Tool – there is always something new for retailers to try out.“We sell more GIA-graded diamonds because of the confidence instilled in the customer and our staff,” Claesson says.
Kristin A. Aldridge, a contributing writer, is a graduate of GIA’s Pearls and Accredited Jewelry Professional programs.