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"Better a diamond with a flaw than a pebble without." - Confucius

Nowadays you can buy anything practically anywhere. A few years ago in the middle of a trip through the jungle in Bali we met local youths selling Coke, and mineral water. In Tasmania we set off in a small fishing boat to look around the island, and it was natural that we could pay by credit card too. In several countries the stores are open almost non-stop, but even if they are not, you can purchase almost everything online. Not only high street fashion products but luxury brands are also available for order with a few clicks, and within a matter of days we can hold the latest pieces from the Resort/Pre-Spring Summer collection of a popular brand in our hands. Generations have grown up in this world where everything is always available everywhere. So can we have real appreciation if everything is so readily accessible?

Perhaps the stores where they have a different approach can experience a second Renaissance. The cafés, clothing stores, or even the specialist cheese shops where the vendor knows exactly how mature the specific customer likes their camembert can find their customer base once again.

Outstanding service, a beautiful environment and a highly trained staff have always gone hand-in-hand with the luxury market. However all this is not enough. The higher the number on the price tag, the more the customer wishes to know that they made the right decision and they wish to enjoy the shopping experience and feel that they received more…

A few weeks ago I went into the Les Ambassadeurs watch and jewellery store in Geneva and had a chat with Marketing & Communications Manager Philippe Meyer.

The store’s philosophy is very close to what I described above. Their customers not only visit Les Ambassadeurs because they carry 27 watch brands and 9 jewellery brands. The boutique’s management know perfectly well what pieces can rouse the interest of their own clientele, and are quick to source these items. The sales consultants have a wealth of knowledge about watches, and must keep this knowledge up to date – to be demonstrated by way of an annual examination. Everyone is a specialist in the few brands they are responsible for selling, and are continuously studying and training to be able to offer the latest information to the customers.  Naturally they provide many services to the customer whether they need repairs or to make a purchased watch more customized. They strive to establish a long term relationship based on trust.

The store invites tourbillon fans to the Espace Connaisseur – the exclusive top floor of Les Ambassadeurs several times a year, in order to have discussions on interesting topics with the grand masters of haute horlogerie. These events also serve the purpose of making personal interactions and experiences. Details about the events can be found here, listed according to the boutique location.

The store often holds joint events with the brands they carry; in February for example we can admire the jewellery of Graff diamonds at the refurbished store in St.Moritz. The company will turn 50 next year, and they are most likely to celebrate this significant anniversary in style…

The Les Ambassadeurs is clever at implementing the tools of the 21st century in their communication. Their biannual magazine is available in both print and online, both versions are extremely high standard and executed with a perfect sense of proportion.

The watchfinder function is soon renewed on the website, thus they will provide images and data about an even more diverse range of watches, in an easy-to-use and extremely well-organized manner. The aim of the new browser is to lend a helping hand in watch selection even for those customers who are not yet clear about every term in the field of fine watchmaking.

I can only speak for myself but perhaps the number of people who like shopping to be a real experience is increasing, and a growing number of customers wish to feel that they can truly trust the “ambassador” of a certain brand. And that they will gladly return to the store even when they are not necessarily looking for something to buy. Perhaps they just wish to see the Watch Prèmiere Exhibition, the temporary exhibition on the top floor, or to have a relaxing conversation after an interesting presentation…


Photo credits: Les Ambassadeurs, Loupiosity.com.
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