1. Future Trends & Innovations
Growing Prominence of Male Jewellery
Singapore Jewelfest, Asia’s most prestigious luxury jewellery affair is an avenue where local and international brands exhibit their finest jewellery collections. Over the years, there has been increasing prominence of male jewellery in the fest with more male jewellery lines and brands emerging as men begin to embrace jewellery as a fashion choice.
For example, this year, local competitor GoldHeart jewellery presented it’s first ever dedicated men’s collection during the fest. The collection, Blu Valore, was launched exclusively for men, which consists of a collection of exquisite rings, bracelets and pendants made from sapphire pave and white diamonds.
The new generation of male vanity coupled with the growing affluence of the Asian market means that these days, more males are willing to invest in their time and money on their appearance. They strive to be well groomed and wish to demonstrate their fashion sophistication and identity, therefore, see the value of investing in a good piece of jewellery.
From the survey results in assignment 2b), our team has identified that a large portion of the customer segment that purchase Tiffany are males. However, they do not purchase it for themselves, but for others, despite that Tiffany offers male products. Yet, many are interested in purchasing it for themselves. In addition, an astounding 87% of our survey respondents did not know that Tiffany sold male products. This indicates that Tiffany’s male collection has poor visibility, is lackluster and risks being outshoned by other male jewellery lines and brands that are gaining pace in the competitive arena.
Emergence of Asian Designers
Collections rolled out by jewelers are largely influenced by fashion trends.
Mr Michel Wong, president of the Hong Kong International Jewellery Designers Association, which collaborated with the Singapore Jewelfest, commented that as a result of Asia becoming more affluent, consumers are highly enthusiastic in purchasing designer jewellery as they view it as a form of art. Their insatiable appetite is satisfied by the rising emergence of Asian designers who are able to entice them with more exquisite pieces with bigger and better quality diamonds complemented with oriental elements such as dragons and chinese characters.
As a result, it is important to note that the Asia’s jewellery trends may depart from the trend in the western counterparts. Therefore, the challenge for Tiffany is to strengthen the brand in times of raging competition and reinnovate its products to stay relevant, while staying true to its classic style and values.
Tiffany & Co.’s Website
The digital age has greatly increased the exposure of brands and products and altered the purchasing behavior of consumers. They see digital platforms as a mean of gathering information anytime before and after purchase. It is vital to create a digital experience that is relevant, user-friendly, interactive and engaging for visitors of the website. A positive digital experience will help the website visitors create strong, unique and favourable associations about the brand.
One of the most important digital touch point would be Tiffany’s main website. Tiffany does not have a dedicated website for Singapore viewers but an international website. However, it does not offer specific information in cases where a customer is only interested to know the collections and range offered in the Singapore outlets. The website displays products that are generally offered internationally.
2. Inconsistency in Overall Store Experience
The next gap we identified would be the inconsistency in Tiffany’s brand image and its retail store experience here in Singapore. We believe that all touchpoints in a consumer’s purchase behaviour are relevant and important in achieving a favorable impression of the brand. As Tiffany & Co. Singapore does not have an e-sales platform – it mainly provides basic information of its products online, consumers in Singapore would have to patronize its brick-and-mortar stores in order to purchase its products. This makes the retail store touchpoint extremely crucial in building a favorable brand image, establishing a stronger brand positioning in consumers’ minds, and encouraging repeat patronization.
We visited the Tiffany & Co. stores in Singapore and selected 4 major factors to determine what makes up the “overall store experience”. They are: 1) In-store layout, 2) ambience/environment, 3) customer service, and 4) homogeneity with Tiffany & Co. International. We included the last factor as we feel that the most successful retail brands are those who usually provide a consistent impression of their brands in every part of the world. This not only helps consumers identify more strongly with the brand, but it also provides assurance and dependability.
1. In-store layout
The visibility of the mens’ products should be improved, instead of just being situated at one lonely corner attended by no one. In addition, as the store layout can be quite puzzling (we did not know where to go to find what), Tiffany can place a small store map on a marble slab on the wall just in front, or by the side of the entrance to help consumers find what they want. They can also consider placing one of their customer service staff near the entrance to be the “usher”, directing incoming guests to where they want to go.
Tiffany can try to appeal to as many of the 5 sensory experiences – sight, smell, hearing, touch, and taste. For example, it could decorate its store walls with more nolstagic photographs capturing special moments of celebrations and love; and provide a more classic uniform to refine the look of its employees, in order to appeal to the “sight” sense. It could also play some light bossa-nova background music to appeal to the “hearing” sense. To appeal to the “smell” sense, Tiffany can adopt scent marketing, in which it could create its own special store fragrance. This can eventually even be adopted in its other stores worldwide. To appeal to “touch”, Tiffany can provide private cushioned booths in its diamond gallery level. Lastly, to appeal to the “taste” sense, Tiffany can serve tea and cookies to its guests at the diamond gallery level of the store. This can be done in the private cushioned booths.
3. Customer service
Tiffany should have at least one customer service staff positioned at each segment and behind each counter, to ensure that the store looks spaciously segmented and organized, instead of having more staff crowding at the more patronized area of the store (the sterling silver necklace and charm bracelets counters). In addition, instead of the plain black ensemble and unkempt hair (for the female customer service employees), Tiffany should introduce the concept of “internal Tiffany ambassadors”, in which its frontline employees should be properly attired in a classic suit with a touch of the Tiffany identity (black blazer and black pants for men with a Robin Blue pocket scarf; black blazer and skirt for women with a Robin Blue scarf tied loosely around the neck) and with their hair well-kept (cut short and professional for men; tied up properly in a neat bun or ponytail for females).
As Tiffany is a global brand, it is important that its stores worldwide are presented in a somewhat similar fashion. Consumers should expect class, luxury, and perhaps even more of the iconic Robin Blue colours in the stores. Why is it that building an overall consistency in retail stores worldwide important? We know for a fact that Apple is ranked #2 in Interbrand’s global brands – and we largely attribute this to its consistency in its overall store experience. From the United Kingdom to Korea, consumers can expect a uniform and consistent Apple store experience at every outlet they visit. The store layout, ambience and employees’ knowledge and service attitudes are extremely similar. There is little or no discrepancy in the individual stores worldwide. Similarly, in order for Tiffany to ensure its position remains at #73 or better in its Interbrand rankings, it should aim to provide consumers with a consistent store experience worldwide. Tiffany & Co. Singapore could perhaps model itself after its flagship store in New York, Soho, that has a predominantly Tiffany theme.
Overall, we feel that if Tiffany were to improve its overall store experience, it could eventually shift towards becoming a destination store (e.g. like Abercrombie and Fitch), where consumers specially visit the store for the sake of experiencing it. Furthermore, due to the influx of foreign visitors to Singapore in the past few years due to the construction of the integrated resorts and introduction of more low-cost carriers, Tiffany could leverage on its established brand name and attract a larger market share (not just the local Singaporeans) to patronize its store.
3. Creating a Tiffany Community
At present, Tiffany has embarked on a campaign for true love. Tiffany has made use of various social media platforms (such as a microsite, Twitter and Instagram) to engage brand users, and also attract non brand users, in hopes of attracting to the brand. The “What Makes True Love” campaign encourages users to take photos of moments that showcase love, or alternatively, what love means to them.
The What Makes True Love website showcases real-life videos and stories about how couples met and fell in love. To further create an environment that encapsulates the lifestyle that Tiffany wants to promote, romantic movie and song suggestions were added to the website.
While the pictures posted so far limits true love to mostly love between couples, it is a starting point for Tiffany. However, in the long run, it might become difficult for Tiffany to break out of this mould. Majority of consumers already associate the brand with engagements and weddings, and local consumers in Singapore are mostly unaware of their other product range.
While Tiffany is actively trying to engage their consumers through this campaign, it seems that the campaign is able to resonate better with Westerners. In Singapore, there is little awarenss about the campaign, with only the website’s address (whatmakestruelove.com) appearing at the bottom of Tiffany’s promotional material. Thus, there is a need for Tiffany to increase awareness and visibility about this new innitiative of theirs. Additionally, Singaporeans, and Asians in generally, are less open about displaying their emotions and feelings of affection in public. While there has been a cultural shift in recent years and we see the general public being more affectionate, there is still work that needs to be done in order to allow the “What makes true love” campaign truly resonate with Tiffany’s Singaporean community.
Another area of the campaign that Tiffany can improve on would be to fully utilize the Instagram app, where users can follow the brand on their mobile phones, and browse through these photos on the go. The use of Instagram has been increased drastically and more Singaporeans are using this mobile application. At present, users who want to upload true love photos via instagram have to tag their photos, and wait for Tiffany to approve them. As this takes time, users might lose interest over time, or forget that they have uploaded the photo. By using Instagram directly, Tiffany and cut down on this waiting process and further engage users by tagging them, so that users can share the photos with friends, and simultaneously like the photos of others too.
While the above suggestion may allow for more interactivity, as mentioned, there is a need to adapt the campaign to suit the local Singaore context. This will allow for greater interactivity and also help to build and sustain a local brand community, where users can compare products, and share their Tiffany experiences with one another. Because consumers are in the same region, they will be better able to understand each other, and build up rapport. It is vital that Tiffany thinks local. Once a proper interactive local communinity has been established, Tiffany and then bring this community global.
Finally, Tiffany should interact more with their consumers. They can maybe post discussion questions. For example, Tiffany could get users to descrive what true love means to them, and even share special moments of love in the Tiffany community. Advice can be dished out, and suggestions given.
Long Distance Relationship
Another aspect in which Tiffany can expand on in addition to their current campaign, is to maybe highlight long distance relationships. They can use this to build onto their “What Makes True Love” campaign, and perhaps show that “Love Knows No Boundaries”.
Some suggestions to this would be implementing international deliveries of their products. For example, one can order a Tiffany product for his or her significant other who is living or studying abroad. This product would then be deliver to said person’s doorstep, together with a postcard. This would help create special moments, which customers would most definitely hold dear to their hearts and reminisce upon in the years to come.
This would help build emotional bonds to the brand. And also serve as another mean for Tiffany to step on their current efforts. Of course such services would be available to everyone, after all, love encompasses a broad category. It could be a husband sending a gift to his wife, a father working overseas sending presents to his children and much more.
4. Competitive Reactions
At present, JannPaul has launched an innitiative in which they provide advice to customers is helping them come up with customized engagement rings or wedding bands. In addition, JannPaul selects several designs to be on sale. The whole process is recorded and put on their brand’s blog to allow customers to view the creation process.
By interacting witht their customers and allowing them to co-create rings, JannPauls creates an emotional link with their customers as this is something unique to them only. The customers not only get their designs made, but they also get to be involved in the creation process, which is a novelty to them.
Through this, JannPaul actively engages their customers, and creates lifetime bonds with them. In comparison with Tiffany, while Tiffany has the What Makes True Love microsite, there needs to be more actions taken to further create lasting connections to the brand, and not just temporary bonds.
With so many up and coming, as well as well established brands, there is a strong urgency for Tiffany to continually evolve while sticking true to what has worked so well for them the past 175 years. While the brand is deeply embeded in the American culture, there is a lot of more work to be done here in Singapore. Tiffany needs to cut through the clutter of local jewelers, and also internationally renowned jewelers present in Singapore.