By Erika Winters
We’ve all heard this before: If you have to ask, you can’t afford it. But with jewelry, the answer to “How much?” isn’t as cut-and-dried as shoppers imagine. And some jewelers would rather explain the value–the craftsmanship, the quality, and materials–of a piece to customers than let its price tag scare them away at first glance. So some stores hide their price tags to facilitate conversations with shoppers. But in this ridiculously fast-paced digital landscape, who has time for lengthy conversations? And how effective is this strategy today?
With online shopping, consumers can find prices with a quick tap on their mobile devices. They can compare pricing for similar items sold by other retailers and avoid any price intimidation they might experience in stores.
Online shopping has increased price transparency in myriad markets, but with jewelry, old practices are slower to evolve–and much of this results from the complicated value of jewelry itself. Jewelry is more than the sum of its materials. Who makes a piece and how that piece is made can greatly affect the price. And some designer jewelry retailers, like Brooklyn-based The Clay Pot, try to emphasize jewelry’s subjective value to its customers.
NPR’s Stacey Vanek Smith interviews The Clay Pot owner Tara Silberberg, which you can listen to below. According to Silberberg, The Clay Pot does not display price tags, but they may include price tags in store windows at their upcoming new location in Manhattan.
While the NPR interview gives many insights about why retailers sometimes hide price tags, the reader comments are particularly striking. Some readers expressed embarrassment at having to ask for a price, while others stated that they loathe being trapped in long conversations with sales associates. A few jewelers and a goldsmith chimed in with their thoughts on the cost of craftsmanship and the look of price tags in general. “Those pesky little white tags poking out can make it look sloppy – kind of like forgetting to tuck in the tag on your shirt.”
It’s clear that price tags–or lack thereof–affect a consumer’s perception of a jeweler. Listen to the NPR audio below.
Hat tip to National Jeweler for featuring this story on its 10X Blog.
On a mobile device? Click over to NPR to listen from your smartphone or tablet.