Merrick, NY—Bridal is generally regarded as a solid product category—a good thing, since it comprises a significant portion of business for most jewelers. But it also can be somewhat dependent on demographics for growth. In theory, the more people there are of marriageable age, the more bridal jewelry you should sell. But with the age of first marriages rising and an increasing number of couples simply living together and foregoing traditional marriage altogether, demographics aren’t always in the jeweler’s favor.
Recently, The Centurion spoke with Phillip Bosen of Bosen Associates, LLC. Bosen offers an array of consulting services to the retail jewelry trade and has extensive knowledge and experience marketing to the LGBT community. He sees huge opportunity here. So, are most jewelers working that market?
“Very few brick and mortar stores market to the LGBT community,” said Bosen. “I was involved with some grassroots marketing in Vermont and New Hampshire. We had great success among Lesbian women. A Google search turns up only a few jewelers that are actively marketing online, and even less that are doing so in a credible manner.”
Bosen also mentions that 3.7% of US adults identify with this group, giving the United States over nine million LGBT individuals (think the size of New Jersey). Currently, this market is underserved and there are ample opportunities for most jewelers.
Members of the LBGT community make great customers, says Bosen. “Their purchasing power and loyalty are huge,” says Bosen. “I find them to be much more loyal than other customers. And straight friends of LGBT people will shop with stores that treat their loved ones well.”
A 2013 survey by CMI titled Same-Sex Couples: Weddings and Engagements had some solid numbers on same-sex couples purchasing wedding bands. 88% of male same-sex couples bought two wedding bands and 90% of female same-sex couples bought two wedding bands.
Bosen sees many larger national brands actively targeting this demographic. “Apple, Amazon, Ben & Jerry’s, Starbucks, and the Gap,” said Bosen. There are big dollars at play in this marketplace and it’s possible to expand your bridal business into this market.
“Tiffany made a huge step by featuring two men in an ad but it isn't apparent that they have done much, if anything, to train the front line staff when selling to this market,” said Bosen.
The key to sales may well be training the front staff. Check The Centurion Sales Strategy Newsletter tomorrow for some pointers on training your staff. And be sure and look for Phillip Bosen’s class on this topic, coming to Select by Centurion and Centurion South Beach this fall.