By Jim Ackerman, The Marketing Coach to the jewelry industry
So, the world has closed up shop and whether you’ve stayed open or not, odds are you have more time on your hands than you’d like. What to do with it?
Spend this unexpected gift of time to shift your focus to working ON your business, instead of the normal challenge of being inadvertently caught up working IN your business.
IN the business activities include selling, buying, scheduling employees, bench work, paying bills, collections, appraisals, running reports, training, etc. It’s the stuff that keeps the place running – as it is – day after day.
ON the business activities boil down to two things… innovation and marketing. The late, great industrialist Peter Drucker famously said these are the only two legitimate functions of business. “The rest,” he said, “are expense.”
Let’s begin with innovation. If ever there was a time to innovate, now is it. For those who see the current health crisis as an opportunity as much as a threat, the way you innovate may revolutionize your business and give you a marked advantage over the competition moving forward.
How many of the big chain stores, for example, will institute a Virtual Shopping Experience for the customers? I’d venture to say none. These big chains rely on systems to keep them going. And changing their systems is tantamount to changing the course of The Titanic to miss the iceberg. Can’t be done. They don’t have the in-house talent to bring something like this off, and they couldn’t acquire the equipment, skills and talent fast enough to implement chain-wide in a hurry, even if they wanted to.
But YOU CAN!
When I talk about a Virtual Shopping Experience, I’m not just talking about sending people to an e-commerce capable website. I’m talking about setting up a program for doing LIVE sales presentations via video, to clients watching from their homes – or wherever they’re accessing their mobile device.
I won’t go into the details here. That’s for you to figure out. That’s what I mean when I say INNOVATION.
How else can you innovate? How about setting up joint venture alliances with other, non-competing businesses. Have local restaurants give a FREE gift card to your store, for anybody who orders a take-out meal. Or conduct auction-like sales via Facebook Live. You could institute a Shop-In service where you take the product to the buyer, instead of making them come into your store. Or maybe you just let people know you’re still open, but you’re limiting the total number of people allowed in your store to no more than 10. If you get that many, you’ll close the doors until at least one person leaves, before you allow another to enter.
I’m sure I’m just scratching the surface. Use your imagination… INNOVATE.
And once you do… MARKET!
All the innovation in the world does you no good unless you let people know about it. The world WILL NOT beat a path to your door just because you build a better mousetrap. But they will if they KNOW about it, and it’s up to you to tell them. That’s where advertising comes in.
You can talk about your innovations via traditional or digital media. You may need to drive people to a landing page (NOT your regular website homepage). You can do that either traditionally or digitally, but it may be the best way possible to explain all you have to offer in these trying times.
I recommend a blend of both traditional media like radio, print, direct mail and TV, along with digital methods like Google Ads and Facebook Ads. But both should drive people to the landing page and the landing page should fully explain your innovations and provide an offer for them to either buy, or take the next step in the buying process.
Hurting? Put as many of the innovations I’ve talked about in play as fast as you can, then get the word out. They may not be able to go to the movies, bars, restaurants or ball games; they may not be able to buy toilet paper. But they CAN buy jewelry, and it’s your job to relieve them of their anxiety – and their money – by helping them do exactly that.
About Jim Ackerman
Jim Ackerman is known at The Marketing Coach to the jewelry industry and has addressed jewelry retailers at the nations biggest marketing events, including JA New York, JCK, The Atlanta Jewelry Show and others. Jim Ackerman also provides jewelers with a strategic look at their marketing, through his well-known Marketing Fitness Check-up, which he is providing to Retail Jeweler readers FREE (A $397.00 value);
click here for complimentary access.