Piercing Pagoda rebranding — with name change, store expansion

Marianne Wilson
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Piercing Pagoda is updating its 50-year-old brand and looking to inline mall locations for growth. 

The jewelry and piercing retailer, a division of Signet Jewelers, is debuting a new brand name, Banter by Piercing Pagoda.  The retailer plans to roll out the updated moniker to its more than 500 U.S. locations, as well as its digital and social media channels. It also will expand its newest service — facial and nose piercings — to more of its outposts. 

Currently, about one-fifth of the chain’s existing locations are testing the new Banter by Piercing Pagoda name. The new name is designed to reflect the personal relationship the retailer has with both its new and long-held customers, its innovative customer experiences and omnichannel growth strategy, the company said.

Banter by Piercing Pagoda plans to open up to 100 locations in its current fiscal year. In a departure from its traditional kiosk model (the company is the nation’s largest specialty kiosk retailer), the openings will include tech-enabled inline stores that provide an enhanced shopping experience. The store layout will include a lounge area designated for piercing that allows for a more private experience and smart mirrors to virtually try on product in select locations.

Going beyond the kiosk model gives consumers who want to get pierced more privacy than a mall hallway does, Kecia Caffie, president of Banter by Piercing Pagoda, said in a report by Bloomberg. 

“Ultimately we want Banter by Piercing Pagoda to be a place where they can come and have an experience,” Caffie said. 

Banter by Piercing Pagoda caters to the tech-savvy Gen Z and millennial customer, who is passionate about jewelry and fashion – and lets their style tell their story. The brand had its strongest quarter ever in the first quarter of fiscal 2021 and posted its sixth consecutive year of positive same-store sales growth in fiscal 2020. It has more than 135 stores on track to deliver $1 million in sales.

The brand is also redoubling efforts to provide customers an enhanced mobile experience. Last year, Piercing Pagoda delivered approximately 140% year-over-year online growth, with mobile phones playing a critical role. Its updated website design is optimized to augment the mobile user's experience, while still ensuring an enjoyable desktop experience. It lets consumers book appointments and will eventually have the capability to do virtual try-ons, according to the Bloomberg report.

Banter by Piercing Pagoda also offers virtual piercing follow-up appointments and virtual styling sessions.

[Read More: CSA Exclusive: Piercing Pagoda expanding as demand rise]

Complementing its new name, Bantar by Piercing Pagoda is launching a new marketing campaign that will spotlight bold, diverse models who epitomize self-expression and pride. 

"Our new Banter by Piercing Pagoda name is full of energy, invoking the excitement of playful conversation, like the adrenaline of a new piercing or piece of jewelry. Caffie stated in a release. "Our customers are fiercely individual, creative people who inspire us to reject labels and celebrate our unique identities each day." 

The Piercing Pagoda revamp is part of Signet’s broader “Path to Brilliance” growth and transformation strategy. Earlier this year, it acquired  Rocksbox, a jewelry rental subscription platform that allows its monthly members to rent exclusive and designer jewelry styles via its online platform.

Signet operates approximately 2,800 stores primarily under the name brands of Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared, H. Samuel, Ernest Jones, Peoples, Piercing Pagoda, and and the jewelry subscription service, Rocksbox.