Wempe: The Era of Brand Awareness

Off-line and online, best sellers of yesterday and today, status symbols: how has the sector changed in recent times? We talk about it with Anja Heiden, CEO of Wempe's Jewelry Division

Wempe has 135 years of history. Looking only at the last 10 years, how has the market changed? In terms of the type of requests from the public but also from companies?
Strictly speaking, we can now look back on 142 years. The last 10 years have changed our jewelry industry a lot. The high brand awareness and affinity of the customers, in the watch sector the supremacy of a few globally coveted brands, the increase of globalization and international tourism in our cities, etc. The market has become more concentrated, many manufacturers and also jewelers without sufficient profile have had to close down. The jeweler is called upon to position himself strongly and credibly in order to reach the customers of the future. We are constantly working on the adjustment of our collections and marketing activities in order to increase our market share and meet the current wishes of our customers.

What is the biggest challenge facing the market today? and the greatest criticality of this international moment?
The biggest challenge is diversity. Local and international, north and south, brands and individual creations, offline and online. And above all, good management of marketing channels, because especially in the jewelry sector, the analog sector cannot be neglected despite all the growth in digital presence. This has not changed with Corona.

Best sellers of yesterday and today: what were and are and what do any changes tell us?
Customers have always striven for products of stable value, Corona has acted as a booster here and, above all, increased the share of sales with diamonds. Furthermore, the occasions for ‚Statement jewels‘ have decreased in the last few years and have now come to a complete standstill. Women want jewelry that accompanies them through their everyday life, as a business woman, as a mother, as a partner and friend. Our bestsellers today are Wempe-classics (diamond solitaires, diamondline bracelets, memory rings), products from our own BY KIM studio and Wempe casuals - wearable every day and easy to combine.

Are luxury watches still status symbols? Do they also exist among jewels?
Definitely yes! Luxury watches are status symbols and depending on the brand a good investment. They dominate the performance, as they serve both genders and are clearly recognizable by the brand logo. In the jewelry sector, the brands Cartier and partly Tiffanys have the same radiance.

Offline and online: two opposite solutions or which can be integrated? How have both of these realities changed in the last year 
We only see the combination of the two sales channels as promising. Our company pursues an omnichannel strategy in which all measures and campaigns run through both channels. Of course, online business has increased in 2020! As a jeweler with a good foothold in Germany, customers place sufficient trust in us to purchase high-quality jewelry online as well. We must pick up the customer where he stands!

How is your long-standing customers' proponity to purchase changing? After how long can a customer be defined as "historical"? Does this category still exist?
We do not sell food, but high-quality luxury products. Therefore, we do not see every customer annually, but regularly every 1-3 years. If a customer reaches a certain age, saturation may occur and consumption is finished. With us, a customer is only perceived as inactive if we have not had any contact for more than maybe 8 years.

Readjusting style and use of a "family jewel": a trend also due to the times? have you also noticed it among your customers?
Since we run our own studio, the service of reworking family jewelry and custom-made products has always been part of our strategy. With the rising price of gold and a return to family values, the number of processes has been increasing for years.

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