By Bill Boyajian
The biggest question that most of us have when the dust settles and the Coronavirus pandemic is over is what our industry will look like in the near and longer-term future.
When we entered the 2020s, reporters were asking industry experts what the trade would look like in 50 years. Try five years. That’s more realistic.
Here are some things to consider as you plan ahead:
• Be courageous. Get rid of your fear and anxiety about the future. Hunker down and trench in. No one is going to feel sorry for you. Everyone is in your same position. Just get over it and get going. Each day that goes by without action is a day you’ve lost.
• Resilience is vital. It’s not the strongest or the biggest who will survive. It’s the most adaptable. If this concept is foreign to you, make it part of your daily strategy. Don’t quit unless you’re ready to go out. Be committed and get creative.
• Fill needs. Think in terms of needs. Great successes always come from filling important needs. They are seldom seen by everyone. Only the most innovative entrepreneurs see those needs and act upon them. Look for needs in your customer base. Ask yourself how you can fill those needs and add value to your clients. Then move quickly.
• Everything will be more digital. We know that the rise of online was significantly outpacing brick and mortar before the virus pandemic, but now we know it will grow at an even faster pace. That doesn’t foretell the end of traditional retail, but it does ignite the need to use digital and online marketing and selling more than ever before.
• Embrace technology. You have a Point of Sale system, but you don’t use it as much as you should. Critical data is at your fingertips, yet you seldom embrace it like you should and you use only a small portion of what’s available to you when you do.
• Dispose of your aged inventory. Much needed capital lies in products that don’t sell and won’t sell. They are old, under-performing, and not attractive to your customers. The way I know this – and the way you know this – is that they haven’t sold in years.
• Be honest with your best customers. What you can’t scrap or monetize easily, offer to your best clients at, or just below, your cost. Why not give them a benefit when you both need it the most?
• Cash is king. Weathering the storm and emerging out of it stronger and smarter is important. Having cash reserves builds confidence that you can make it through the tough times.
• Change always brings opportunity. If you have cash on hand, you can take advantage of opportunity, financial or otherwise, when others are hurting. This isn’t a devilish play. You are helping someone in trouble while benefitting by being financially solvent. It’s win-win, not win-lose.
• Clientele as never before. Traffic has been down for most jewelers each year. People are not shopping like they used to, and the pandemic will do one of two things: Sheltering in for weeks at a time could make them want to go out more, or, anxiety and caution might make them even more leery of venturing out. One thing we know, though, is that we have to clientele more because birthdays, anniversaries, love, emotion, and gift-giving aren’t going away.
• Convenience is the new mantra. How can you make it easier for your customer to buy from you? Send them products with your technology. Make sure your photos are spectacular. Sell with every vehicle and every avenue you have.
Big successes always come from many small successes. Take one of these ideas at a time and make each a goal. Delegate key aspects to your staff and hold them accountable to following through. Be assertive as an owner and manager, and work hard to enact change and positive momentum in your store. Be a leader people follow.
About the Author: Author, educator, speaker, and business consultant, Bill Boyajian was President of the prestigious Gemological Institute of America (GIA) from 1986-2006.