By Sukhi Jutla, co-founder and COO of MarketOrders
Now more than ever before, the current pandemic environment has made it clear that the jewellery industry needs to embrace omni channels to communicate with their customers. With so many jewellers heavily reliant on walk-in trade, this pandemic has forced many of those in the industry to think about how to operate in a world where social distancing means less customers in your store and lockdown means less footfall walking past your door.
The jewellery sector is resilient and even though we have seen fewer people venturing out it doesn’t mean they are buying less. In fact, recent shopping trends have shown consumers have moved online – to eCommerce. So how can the jewellery industry ensure they embrace this new way of doing business? Here are my top tips that every jewellery shop needs to think about:
The Rise of e-commerce
The jewellery sector has traditionally been an industry where customers want and expect a human touch. They want the assurance of speaking to someone who can help and guide their purchasing decisions. This is why trust is so key to customer relationships – they trust what you are telling them.
Customers want to feel assured they are buying the right item, that they understand the craftsmanship involved and what the items are comprised off. It very much is a considered purchase and, in many instances, an emotional purchase as well.
When customers are forced online, jewellers have little option but to follow the customers online. But this doesn’t mean that the interactions have to be clinical. Online offerings still leave a lot of space to be creative and still retain a human touch. It gives jewellers the freedom of unlimited shelf space to showcase new designs without the cost and insurance overheads of actually storing the items inhouse. Imagine being able to have an unlimited shelf space!
So now more than before, it is vital jewellers have an online store offering, with good quality images of products for sale as well as an easy user interface to allow the customer to view and purchase products online. Make the experience personal by using chatbots, powered by humans where possible, and ensure you have real time customer service on hand for any consumers perusing the site.
Other online tools also include having an email newsletter to communicate to your customers. You can send targeted emails and special offers to those who sign up on your email newsletter list. This will ensure that even if your physical store has to close you can still use email to stay in touch with your customers.
You may think that data is a word only used in big tech companies, but the reality is that every industry is now amassing huge amounts of data from online interactions and from our mobile phones. So why is this important to jewellers? Because data allows you to create deep insights and better understand your customer.
The more you can understand the needs of your customer, the more you can personalise the experience for them. That is what consumers are now looking for when shopping – a personalised experience. For example, my grocery store recently started a loyalty reward card. They sent me a number of special offers including a discount for pet food. Seeing as though I don’t have a pet, I didn’t use this offer, so they ‘understood’ my preferences and replaced it with a special offer for an item I shop for more often.
This is an example of using data to understand your customer’s needs. So, think about the data you already have and see what patterns or trends you can gain from them in order to serve your customers better.
The once conservative industry where sales are usually done in plush settings with well-groomed salespersons is now opening up to the world of social commerce. This is where retailers post items of their jewellery on social media where ‘likes’ and ‘shares’ can help to strengthen the brand image.
Employing bloggers and influencers can also help to shine the spotlight on your business. Customers who buy your items also share their purchases online giving greater credibility to the items and acting as a sort of viral ‘word of mouth’ which encourages more sales. In effect your customers now become your marketers and brand ambassadors.
Many people now look to social media rather than Google to find items they want, and social commerce is an incredible (and often free) way to leverage this action. It’s free to set up social accounts and paid targeting adverts can also be used for greater insights.
No longer is the product on its own enough to entice customers into your store. Jewellers now need to focus on creating engaging and educational content that helps customers to make informed buying decisions. Those succeeding in the ecommerce space are making use of this by creating educational blog posts about trending pieces of jewellery, education customers on how diamonds differ and investing in good quality images and videos to showcase their products. All of this can be done with free online tools and using your mobile phone to take good quality images.
Tackling inefficiencies in the jewellery supply chain
The current environment has also bought our attention to the robustness of our current supply chains. Many jewellers struggled to get the items they needed due to inefficiencies in this process. So how can we best tackle this going forward? Ensure you have a supply chain that is as local as possible, work with suppliers who offer credit terms and are good paymasters and also ensure you are not overly reliant on one supplier for your needs.
We live in an on-demand world where it is vital we can access the items we need and the supply chains in our industry need to embrace this agile nature if we are to thrive in this new world post-pandemic where ecommerce will become an ever greater part of our business models.