Pay attention jewelers! Consumer behavior is changing big time!
Times are changing. Well, that’s what we read everywhere, but times have always changed. Maybe it is the speed of technology today that gives us more and more the impression that times changes so fast. Our mobile device will look dated in two years’ time! Consumer behavior is changing just as rapidly. And it is a big challenge for every retailer to stay on track with these developments. And the newest challenges might be much bigger than the ones in the past years.
Internet sales are steadily growing over the past years and still show no sign of slowing down. The first companies on the internet were the mere e-commerce companies. Then came the dual channel, *clicks and bricks* so you like. But if you tried to have a e-commerce part of your shop you might also have experienced that maybe sales increased online but decreased in your shop. The internet simply cannibalized on your shop sales. Some e-commerce owners opened a brick store and that seemed a more successful combination, but over the past two years we see omni channel. Omni channel means something like integrating internet strategy into your overall strategy. Buying moments take place at home or outside the home, but these shops support both methods.
Rapid changing consumer behavior in the past months
Over the past months there is new consumer behavior that is developing really fast. And it brings some challenges for sure! In the U.S.; 40 % of all online buying moments took place INSIDE a store. In the U.K. this is also rising to a staggering 27%.
This means that people come to the store, like your wonderful jewelry store…take a look around (now your store is merely a showroom) and when they like something they will look on the internet and search for the LOWEST price. If this isn’t going on in your country yet (like in the Netherlands we have no recent data available just yet) it would be rather foolish to think it will not come to your own reality too and maybe sooner than you hope.
Now Walmart seems to be one of the first to support the new behavior AND fight against at the same time. How? By geo-fencing. No one can reach other websites within the store other than Walmart’s own. And they book real successes with this strategy.
People spending their spare time differently
There are some other developments too in consumer behavior: people spend their free time differently.
They spend time with the kids, outdoors, with friends, sports or just a mini holiday and so forth. Shopping seems to take less and less time in the choices people make in spending their own time. Shopping once has been created around the idea of necessity.That idea is now, with the internet available just about everywhere, an old one.
Buying online is just growing and growing
The other big development is that you cannot longer rely on things that made a difference before like: easy parking, great service etc. You will have to deal with people choosing to spend their time differently AND their changing behavior of buying on the internet. This means that retailers of brick stores really need to rethink their whole strategy and they can only do this by working together. And this is precisely where I see maybe even the biggest challenge.Small companies are often not really great at cooperation, too many different minds of small entrepreneurs. I saw it in the Netherlands, I heard about it in England and experienced it in Italy too.
New behavior means new challenges also for jewelers
So here you have your clients using internet and your shop as a showroom. Clients that rather spend time outdoor and with families and friends instead of shopping. Clients that no longer feel the urge and the need to go out for shopping (they can buy online at any hour and have it delivered to their doorstep within a day!). How are you going to cope with this new challenge?
From experience to inspirience?
Maybe experience was the big magic word over the past century and will remain important to some industries. But it has been proven that offering all kinds of fun things in a town center or shopping mall does not create more sales. Within your store the big words is inspiration. Inspirience as it is popularly named by some.
That means that your store could create things that directly inspire your clients in a way that leads to more sales. Think of workshops, think of valuation day, think of a course, think of a fashion show with your products.
You might rethink opening times (big issue in many countries of course) and you will need to think together of a geo-fencing, i-beakons and offerings directly ( on their mobile devices)to the consumers within your shop area.
New struggle for jewelers?
I can see what a huge challenge this is for the jewelry industry. There are still so many struggling to implement even a website, let alone an e-commerce part of their store. Some have done that here in the Netherlands and then along comes Bol.com (the local Amazon.com if you like) selling now jewelry too. With many of the same brands they carry and with much easier shipping and delivering conditions.
It asks a lot of your entrepreneurship, your longtime vision for your store, your courage and to check the reality of thefacts on your own market.
Cooperation and strategy
Maybe one of the answers will be that shops reunite more and more in areas that are easier to control than an inner city. A fashion mall, food malls, lifestyle malls? Will the mall be the only way to get shop owners on the same page and be able to deal with the real challenges of their business? Or is there another way?
No one knows yet what the future will hold, but I personally (and I might be very wrong) think that city centers will go to small niche stores and restaurants and coffee places and so on. The only way to accommodate all the needs to keep up with customer behavior is by forcing cooperation in a structure like a mall. That could look just as lovely even as the outlet centers do in Europe. Like these ones do.
How can you adapt?
Brands will open their own sales points and sell directly online too. In the future it is not unthinkable that we, as consumers will be able to see directly in a mirror how things will look on us and the aftersale service and guaranties will be a huge part of the success of internet stores, taking away the fear to buy jewelry online….So how can you adapt? What is the next step for any jewelry store? How soon is this reality part of your new challenge and how can you cooperate with others to ensure a healthy future?
Love this article? Then also you might also enjoy: 3 social media tips to start improving your jewelry business with!
Take a deep breath and embrace reality
Challenges are opportunities and people and times change, how you respond to this is up to you now! Take a deep breath and just embrace reality.....
The source of this article comes from Cor Molenaars analyzis of the retail and e-commerce market. You can find his site here.
- Categorie(s): Businessblog