My nephew is a bright kid. He can type over 100 words a minute just by using his thumbs! And, he often calls me for advice. Yesterday, he called me with an odd question. “Where do I get a cashier’s check?” Apparently, he was trying to rent an apartment in New York City, and the landlord wanted the first month’s rent, security, etc. in a cashier’s check. “I asked the cashier at my regular Starbucks for one, and she just looked at me funny!”
I told him he could pick one up at his local bank.
“I have no idea where that is,” he replied. I asked him where he deposits his paycheck.
“I don’t. It gets deposited automatically for me.”
“So, where do you go to get spending cash?” At this point, I could see where the conversation was going, and I was beginning to feel like a very old man and a banking relic.
Every Friday since I can remember, I’ve deposited my paycheck at my local bank, and withdrew some cash for the week. Even as a kid, I remember riding my bike into town every week to deposit a small portion of my allowance in a passbook savings account. If I recall, it was called The Dime Savings Bank. I wonder what they would say if you tried to deposit a dime there today.
I’m sure the banks are happy in this world of ATMs and direct deposit. They need less real estate and fewer tellers. And most people, other than me, are simply spending less time standing in line.
But I enjoy the personal connection I have with my favorite teller, and the quick hello and small joke I get from the branch manager. I feel comfortable there, and naturally, they get my business. My nephew, on the other hand, couldn’t even tell me the name of his bank without looking at his ATM card. Not a lot of brand loyalty being developed there, and this bank won’t even have a toe in the door when he is ready to shop for a mortgage.
As jewelers, its one thing to have a warm and inviting store, with a friendly and knowledgeable sales staff. And, its easy to ignore kids like my nephew who have probably never set foot inside a jewelry store. But someday he’ll be shopping for an engagement ring, and he won’t even know where to begin looking.
If I were a retail jeweler, I wouldn’t know how to develop brand awareness among the twenty-somethings in my market. But I do know where I’d turn for solid advice. The 24 Karat Club has members who are experts in merchandising, marketing, publicity, and a host of other areas that would enable you to develop a plan of action. Members are selected for their experience and commitment to serve the jewelry industry. Any member would welcome your contact to discuss this or any other issue that they can be helpful with. You might even ask about scholarship money that may be available for advertising and marketing courses. For a list of our members, please visit our web-site, www.The24KaratClub.org.
I’ll probably never change my banking habits, and my nephew will probably never understand why. But if we want him and his generation to drop by the store when they are ready for that first big purchase, we better figure out a way to get him to look up from his phone as he walks by the store. Otherwise, they’ll come by the jewelry store about as often as they go to the bank.
Howard Kelrick is President of Finger Mate and a board member of The 24 Karat Club, SEUS. Finger Mate manufactures and installs expandable ring shanks and sells to retail jewelers throughout North America. Contact Howard at 954-458-2700 or e-mail Howard@FingerMate.com.