A member of my family recently bought a piece of jewellery at a store called Secrets shhh, a new franchised retailer with stores all around Australia. The business offers cubic zirconium jewels (diamond simulants) in quality settings at a fraction of the cost of real diamond jewellery but I think they have a large marketing problem.
Although there are good savings to be made, it smacks of compromise at a time when people want to demonstrate a commitment. Most of us are stupid enough to believe that this means spending more than we can really afford.
A jewellery purchase is usually a symbol of love or commitment. These sorts of decisions are made in the limbic system of the brain. Rational decisions like saving money and notions of societal norms reside in the neocortex. For most people, a business proposition like the Secrets shhh one is going to cause cognitive dissonance. Equals purchase resistance.
It’s kind of the opposite to what you try to do in marketing. You want to align your business proposition with what the customers already believe. Then you try to inextricably link your brand name with the proposition.
Normal consumer purchase behaviour is to show off when you score a bargain. People are subconsciously seeking respect and relationship with others by offering someone what they perceive to be valuable information. “I have valuable knowledge. I am clever. I am willing to share my knowledge with you”.
Probably the best example of this in recent times is the eBay story. Initially some highly sought-after goods (mostly electronic goods) were sold very cheaply and “word-of-mouse” did the rest.
Word-of-mouth is critical. Secrets shhh do not have this working in their favour. An important component in word-of-mouth is making yourself look good. Few women will tell their friends about this store. If their husband funded the purchase they would make their husband look bad. If they funded it themselves they are proud of the bargain and they devalue their cleverness by making the bargain more common. Their closest friends may be told. Maybe.
After my relative and I discussed the purchase and the concept of the store I asked her if she would tell anyone about the store. “No,” she said. “No way.”
It’s an interesting case study.
I think they’ve got it wrong. I don’t think that anymore, having read the comments. Thanks commenters for fascinating input.