Meet the buyer: Clair Albone, Argos

Meet the buyer: Clair Albone, Argos

With 550 high end, finished jewellery manufacturers, designers, loose gemstones and retail services suppliers, International Jewellery London is the ideal location for retailers and buyers to meet existing partners and find new collections.

Many buyers return year-on-year, including Argos’ jewellery buyer Clair Albone.

Here, she discusses the Argos customer’s love of yellow gold, the questions she asks herself before making a buying decision and the importance of IJL for discovering new trends…

Q: When you’re looking for new brands for Argos what are the three most important things you look for or consider before making a choice?

CA: We ask ourselves three questions:
1. Is it something our customer will love (i.e. style, price)?
2. Does it offer great value for the quality and style?
3. Will the brand help us to create our vision of a market leading brand proposition for our customers?

Q: As Argos is a digital first business, do you ever have to stop and consider how a product will look online or how it can be marketed on social media?

CA: Always. Some products simply do not photograph as well as they look in real life and this can really have an impact. However working with the catalogue as well as online this is a dimension that we are more than used to.

Having the digital channel gives us great benefits in supporting a much better customer journey. It enables us to tell the brand story as we have lots of great images, richer content, 3D images and even video – the digital marketing opportunities are much broader than in print.

Q: How do you focus your time at trade shows, do you do your research beforehand and only visit select brands or ‘shop around’?

CA: It’s a bit of both! We know who we want to see at the show as it’s a great opportunity to catch up on new trends. While there we will also take time to browse the show to see who else is there and admire new products.

Q: What has been your experience of IJL to date – is it a good place to meet new brands and make buying decisions?

CA: Over the years IJL has been a great experience as it’s a fantastic opportunity to see the latest products and to get inspiration.

Q: Will you be coming to this year’s IJL and are there any product areas or brands that you are interested in looking at?

CA: Absolutely. We always have the dates of the important shows in our diaries; Hong Kong, Vegas and IJL. We have some exciting changes coming up as part of our brand strategy and will see key brands that fit with that strategy.

Q: Have you noticed any trends among your customers recently, perhaps a particular style or gemstone that’s growing in popularity?

CA: Our customers love yellow gold so it’s great to see this as an emerging trend in the market along with rose gold which is also proving popular. Gemstones in general are well-liked as our customers do like a bit of colour. With our focus on digital we are seeing our web-site traffic increase as customers look for familiar as well as new and exciting brands.

Q: What are your impressions of the jewellery industry at the moment, are there any issues that you are trying to address or challenges that are causing you to make changes?

CA: Customers expectations have changed. Now, convenience and speed of delivery are key and Argos is the market leader so we ensure our customers expectations are met.


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