Primary factors in determining customer buying decisions in the jewellery sector include customer confidence in the retailer together with the level and quality of customer service. The Group carries out quality control and staff training procedures and provides customer service facilities to help protect its reputation. During 2005/06 a customer satisfaction index for each store, based on customer feedback, was introduced in the US division. A similar index was tested in the UK division in 2007/08 and is expected to be rolled out to all stores in 2008/09 (Customer service and human resources for details of the processes by which the Group obtains an understanding of customer attitudes).
The ability to differentiate the Group’s stores from competitors by its branding, marketing and advertising programmes is a factor in attracting consumers. These programmes are therefore carefully tested and their success monitored by methods such as market research (See here and Marketing and advertising for more details).
The Diamond Trading Company (“DTC”), a subsidiary of De Beers Consolidated Mines Limited, promotes diamonds and diamond jewellery in the US. The level of support provided by the DTC and the success of the promotions influence the size of the total jewellery market in that country. As the DTC’s market share has significantly reduced it may change its approach from generic marketing support of diamonds to one more closely associated with its own efforts to develop a brand such as the “Forevermark”.