May 22, 2022 – An article on CNN’s website triggered a distant memory. It must have been almost three decades ago, but I remember it very well. It was one of my first visits to the US and to the Tucson shows. My dear colleague Cheryl Kremkow – at that time Editor of Chief of Modern Jeweler magazine (another distinguished industry publication that succumbed to the 2008 crisis and the digital onslaught) took me to “Trader Joe.”
I was born and bred in the Netherlands but have lived in Israel since the early 1980s. At Trader Joe, I was awestruck by the original and attractive way food and drink were marketed and presented. Here was a grocery chain that understood the needs and cravings of the young generation! It was an adventure to go through the store.
“He was a grocery outsider who was able to see things differently,” said Benjamin Lorr, author of “The Secret Life of Groceries: The Dark Miracle of the American Supermarket,” in the article. “He wanted to tap into this idea that food was exploration, that food was travel and adventure.” And: ” ‘Its greatest departure from the norm wasn’t its size or its decor,’ Coulombe said. ‘It was our commitment to product knowledge, something which was totally foreign to the mass-merchant culture, and our turning our backs to branded merchandise.'”
In other words, Joe Coulombe realized who his target audience was. It was all about the customer journey, and he fully cashed in on it, much earlier than other food and drink retailers.
In her latest column for National Jeweler, PR Adviser Lilian Raji invited her target audience – retail jewelers -to walk her through the customer journey in their retail jewelry stores.
To begin, she asked the retailers to answer a few questions, starting with: “Why should someone buy from you?” Other questions were:
- What are your company’s greatest strengths?
- What motivates you to keep going with the company?
- What must change to become a leader in the marketplace?
- How are your company’s products different than others?
While she directed her column at retail jewelers, these are basic questions (part of a 12-page questionnaire that she demands her clients fill out!) that diamond manufacturers, wholesalers, and dealers also need to consider. Who will want to buy from you and why?
In her work, Raji doesn’t cut her clients any slack. To paraphrase her: “If you can’t give me an original reason as to why I should buy your product, why should a potential customer bother?” I’d advise you to read the article and keep an eye out for her following columns!
In several news items listed in this edition of the WINC, the recurring question is: Will lab-grown diamonds (LGDs) try to take away market share from diamonds following the consumers’ fear and rejection of diamonds of Russian origin?
Once again, the diamond industry and trade are led back to the question that was asked at the time conflict diamonds became an issue more than two decades ago: how can we respond to the changing demands of the consumer market and ensure diamonds remain high on the list of the consumers’ discretionary dollar spending?
The Intersessional of the Kimberley Process (KP) is coming up next month in Botswana. It is – almost – unthinkable that Russia’s war against Ukraine and the violation of human rights there, and in other parts of the world where diamond production are an essential part of the economy, will not come up for discussion.
Unfortunately, the outcome of next month’s discussions at the Intersessional is known in advance, as the usual suspects can be expected to veto any resolutions that seek to denounce the war in Ukraine or broaden the definition of KP’s mission, thus perpetuating the deadlock the KP has been subject to in the past years.
But imagine the possible fall-out and the public outrage.
Will we see a repeat of the RJC scenario? If so, will key KP members resign and throw the organization in disarray? And what will the NGOs do?
Alternatively, will all this finally lead to a restructuring of how the KP conducts its business and how decisions are made?
Time will tell.