5 ideas to launch your jewelry store into the future
For magazines and out of pure interest, I regularly dive into the world of retail. A now rapidly changing world, after decades of minor changes. Is it the Millennial changing the game or the technological developments that seem to spin out of control sometimes.
However much one reads, it is almost impossible to stay up to date and informed about the latest developments. How is the jewelry retail changing? What will it mean and will it all come true? What do you need to do? And what if you just continue to give the best service possible? In this blog, I will try to give an idea for jewelry retailers on how to go to the next step.
I love jewelry retail!
I love retail. I always did! I have worked for many years in retail, selling anything from shoes to beauty products with a story. From office supplies to books and from fashion jewelry to fine jewelry. It doesn’t matter if you ever worked in retail to know a thing or two about it. We all are customers too. We know the stores where that one guy works that always seems to go that extra mile and the store you wish you could do without as no one really seems to care about you being their client.
We all know what feels good and what doesn’t. But retail is a complex business. And many events changed the game for good. Where it will all be heading, no one really knows. One thing only is sure; thinking it will all pass and not affect your business, is the worst option.
An idea of how jewelry retail might look like, is it suitable for your store?
In this blog, I want you to allow yourself to open up to the idea of how the future of jewelry might look. It’s based on my opinion and what I know and have read. I like to give you some ideas to open your mind and vision and see why I give the tips that I give in this blog. Not for every jewelry retail store, but for many...those who aren’t high-end nor budget stores. The majority of today, that seem not having the brightest outlook, according to most reports.
So bear with me, take my hand and let’s leap into the future!
Adding value, being relevant
Those who work in jewelry, we kind of live and breath jewelry. I know I did, selling jewelry in Italy and the Netherlands in a store and to other jewelers. You too might run or work in a jewelry store, run a brand, run a factory or a workshop. Your days are filled with jewelry and your mind is filled with all you know about the jewelry you sell. Now let’s make a giant step and look a little at the developments in marketing. Marketing was all about sending a message into the world and that was practically it. Here is my product. Look how great, wonderful, solve all your problems, magnificent or life-changing our product is.
And it may seem to you that many still advertise that way, but things have definitely changed. Today, marketing is about creating content that is relevant to your client. It’s more than that, but the base is that; being relevant. Marketing is also about being seen, heard and adding value ( the relevant part ) to your client's life. How? Well, good marketers try to establish WHERE the people they see as their target market, is found. And then they create content that engages the public, captures their attention and get their message across. They inspire, they inform and they solve problems.
Take Nike as an example
Easier said than done. But think about Nike. Creating video content about women who are starting out in sports. We do not just see flashy, inspiring slow motion frames of impossibly fit women, but we see girls and women in a very normal setting. They created a kind of story with multiple episodes. Now, I haven’t watched it for a while, but I would love to see Nike stretch a little further.
Not all of us are young, slim and fit. Some of us are busy moms, others caretakers, some of us have overweight, are struggling with a disease etc. These are your everyday people, that long or need to get in shape. And they struggle to find the motivation and the time for themselves.
If Nike got that and moved from the slim cute young people to you and me…what might that mean for their business? How can they make it even more relevant? By giving me hope, inspiration, and tips and produce great stuff that makes me feel already more fit just by wearing it.
* the videos were called Margot vs Lily.
Carrying all the same brands is one of the sins of modern jewelry retailers?
Let’s take it back to the jewelry business. It kind of saddens me to see how our industry struggles. But then again, I also notice a lot of jewelry stores carrying all the same brands. It’s like that drawing of sheep in a meadow. A few brands have success and all the sheep come and eat from that same grass. It may be for a short time an option, but in the long run, you can’t compete with e-commerce stores, offering discount prices for exactly those brands that you all carry.
Stepping out of the box
So how to think differently?
I hear you. It is not easy. And I know it isn’t. But one of the predictions about the future of jewelry retail is that many of the independent stores will get bought, to form larger chain stores. Is this what you want? Would that be great, or do you long for something different?
It has not been about the client for a long time. I know you all think it was, certainly I did. too! You bought the merchandise, invested in great window displays, cleaned the store, trained your staff. This is not just a hard business, but also a very costly business. And retailers, oh my, they had to adapt over and over again and are still worried about where it will lead them to.
E-commerce? Social Media? What if that is not ‘your thing?’
What people really think about visiting a jewelry retailer
There is more than one idea. My own head explodes at times, with ideas about stores and I know all too well that many of these ideas aren’t practical. Some are crazy and some are worthless, but in a sea of ideas, there is simply more possible to have a nice one! (don’t ever hesitate to brainstorm ideas with others, who knows what gem might pop up!)
First I will share how I got some of the ideas I want to share today. Some time ago, I started to ask people, very randomly, about how they experience a jewelry store. Some were absolutely positive, but what I got most was this:
the people working there dress and act in a way I find rather intimidating.
I don’t feel I can really wander and enjoy the experience, without someone breathing in my neck
I don’t know what to buy there, even though, I do kind of like jewelry.
I feel a little embarrassed as I cannot spend really that much.
Just to have to open a door, or worse, see a guard at the door, is so intimidating.
In short, people feel often uncomfortable going to a jeweler.
That was never the intention of any jeweler, of course!. What happened? And all those lovely clients that really come back and give no signs of being uncomfortable?
It may not be felt so strongly by everyone, but I kind of recognized the problem. Every time, at a party, some gathering, in the schoolyard and so on, as soon as I told I worked in the jewelry industry, people gave me their opinions. They showed me what they wore and more often than not, they told me about the experience they had in store.
Creating experience does NOT mean carrying this year's hottest brands...
The experience a store offers, why do many of the people in our business think it is about carrying a load of this year’s hot brands?
My view is that for some (not all, high-end is definitely different and chain stores have definitely other challenges) of the jewelry retailers, just rethinking the whole store might be a great idea. What do clients love? What do people crave, why do they buy jewelry? Where do they get their inspiration from? What are they celebrating? Try to think a little less about wanting to please everyone and create, with the input of your investigations (that can be done whilst keeping your own store opened, or whilst you are contemplating about opening one) a store that is relevant to your client.
It is all too easy to listen, but hear only what you like to hear. So, if you can, allow someone who is not emotionally involved to read or listen too and see what they heard.
Maybe you get enthusiastic and dream now about opening a whole new store in a different area, but perhaps that isn’t as far as it needs to go. Look around you. Are others in your town or village struggling too? Are there empty stores? How much fun is it really to shop on your street? You have your own input, now go out and meet your neighbors. Even if they are competitors. And see what kind of wishes and dreams you have in common.
A great example has been described in the Monocle. It was about Frome, a small market town in Somerset, England. Just as so many of the towns today, it was suffering. Empty stores, businesses closing, young people going away, people buying more online or going elsewhere as the town offered an uninspired shopping experience. It’s never a miracle or one single thing that leads to success. It is usually the result of dreams and visions, followed by a lot of courage, investments of money, energy and time that makes things happening.
Frome Market, created by the Frome Independent. A non for profit organisation
In Frome today, you’ll find a great initiative; a market that offers all kind of local artists, for very little money, the possibility to expose their products, for craftsmen to sell their creations and for local producers to actually meet the people they would otherwise serve online. This market attracts a huge crowd and local businesses have flourished ever since. The city is now seen as hip and cool. A place that you can find a lot of interesting merchandise, instead of the uninspiring look of every high street in every town.
Why should a client visit you...really?
If a jeweler offers the same products as so many others do, the same brands and the same services that are easily found online at often better prices, why should any client visit them?
I would strongly recommend to work with more local goldsmiths and designers, or to go out to trade fairs and seek brands that are new, go to Bijhorcha, the design-and fashion jewelry fair in Paris and seek brands that offer great quality, but cost less because of materials used. Go for that smaller laboratory from Vicenza or Valenza and sell them, often so wonderful, jewelry. They do not have marketing budgets like Pandora, Ti Sento and others. But they offer you a great opportunity in storytelling. They offer you the chance to tell a different story.
Five ideas to help you get started
In case you can go out and buy something different, or even in case you simply don’t want to or can’t leave the brands you work with today, why not think about this:
Work with others, create something of value, like a how to...evening. Make a list of tips you and your colleagues of other stores, want to to give to clients. No idea how to? Make an inventory of your most asked questions and create your evening around those questions!
Offer your retail space for cultural events. Like a book presentation, or a speaker on philosophy or even language lessons. If the store is big enough, you might even do this during opening hours.
Create a bridal night. Offer your store as a space for a wedding planner, giving the audience all kind of tips. Or photography tips from a wedding photographer, or someone who knows all kinds of places to get married and gives an insight of the most fun or spectacular ones. Or, more traditional but nonetheless very relevant, invite a wedding store to not just show some dresses, but really make it a Q&A night. For sure, you will be getting questions too and now they know your store, it is easier to come and pick up the wedding rings from you!
Invite a designer or a brand. But make sure you add value for the client, not just for the brand. Don’t make it about the brand, but engage the audience. Tell a story, show the behind the scenes, allow people to do something interactive, make sure you hand out something special in the end so that people will return for evenings like this.
Invite a storyteller. Yes, a storyteller. He or she, will take your clients and tell stories about jewelry in an engaging way. As they are not employees, their messages are much more authentic and believable, than anything you’ll ever say. Simply because they are not directly connected to the store.
Create community, be of value to that community
These are just a few ideas, but what I try to get across is the message of engagement, of being relevant to others, including your beloved clients. Make it more local. Try to create a community within and around the store, meaningful to both you and the community in a broader sense. Try to think about what you stand for and go out and get that message across!
Again, this is not something for all stores and certainly, a lot of the ideas take energy and effort to arrange it all. But….shopping in a store is all about the experience now. Look at other stores, read all you can about creating an experience in retail and then take a deep breath and go for it!
Share your thoughts with us! I love to hear what you think! Either email us at info at bizzita.com or place your comment here below!