How to Survive and Prosper in the Current Crisis and Beyond
It’s said that every crisis is also an opportunity. That’s never truer than today. Many small businesses have closed their doors with reopening dates just beginning to appear on the horizon. Retail jewelers, because of the “stay at home” directives, have closed their doors and are hurting for business.
But remember if crisis equals opportunity, on-line selling may just be that opportunity. Amid the rapid transformation of our society, new directions are emerging. Although we’re physically distancing from one another, we’re connecting more virtually. Technology has risen to such a level that most forms of communication can be done while “socially distancing.’
It’s said necessity is the mother of invention. Because retail stores have been closed, buying and selling has switched seamlessly, and it has occurred overnight to online business. Amazon, for example, is currently the largest retailer in the world. They have hired 100,000 new employees to keep up with the explosion of demand. The virus is the catalyst. It has allowed standard physical transactions of buying and selling to morph into a virtual experience.
Here are some ideas you can implement:
· Contact your customers, by phone, email or text. Tell them you’ve moved online and will continue to operate online even after you have reopened. You can switch easily enough. . Make sure your website e-commerce enabled. If it’s not, now’s the time to add that capability. Make it easy for your customers to buy from you online. Be sure your best-selling and newest inventory images are included. You need good photos, including pieces on models, and detailed descriptions including dimensions, materials and prices. Your website should be seamless and easy to navigate. Checkout should be fast and simple. Consider free shipping and easy returns. Research and compare similar websites to see what the competition is doing.
· Keep in touch! Continue to contact your customers, sending them emails and pictures. But instead of meeting with them face to face, you can Facetime or video chat with them. Send regular e-newsletters. In many cases, long-standing connections with customers are already forged. Continuing to connect with customers online is not a radical transformation, but a subtle shift, a continuum. If done proactively—and intelligently--this shift can be minimal.
· Don’t assume people aren’t buying or not buying “luxury” items. People are vigorously buying online, ordering meals and having food delivered, and when they venture out, essentially wiping out inventory in large box stores like Walmart.
· Online jewelry auctions report brisk sales. People still celebrate birthdays, anniversaries, graduations. Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. Offer opportunities for your customers to connect with you and you with them. They may be looking for something beautiful just for a pick me up.
· Up your social media game. Now’s the time to connect with your customers through Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest and YouTube. Regular, entertaining posts with great photos are a must. When customers visit your Facebook page, they shouldn’t see your last post was from a year ago! If this seems overwhelming, try partnering with some of your vendors and designers who are well established and can help you. They may offer many great programs such as live events and stories, online contests, and IGTV (Instagram TV) as well as e-newsletter blasts you can share with your customers to help market inventory. You may be able to link directly to their websites so easily and quickly offer their complete inventory to your clients.
· Stay positive. There’s plenty of doom and gloom around. Be the ray of sunshine. The current crisis is an opportunity to explore the virtual world and enter into it. Those that are able to take the plunge will be successful. And their success will help in the flourishing of the economy, providing a smooth transition as we weather the passing of this wave and emerge with immunity, on the other side.
· Contact Mia to learn more about the new Jewel Couture Online Partner program for retailers. firstname.lastname@example.org. Mia provides inventory, branding and powerful online presence to help retailers connect with and sell to their customers through a rich program of social media engagement personally targeted to your clients, including Instagram and Facebook, live events and contests and powerful, proven e-newsletter campaigns. Retailers can choose from a range of options.
Remember, people also want to support the economy, especially small businesses. Let them know you’re here for them and will continue to be!
Provided to The Retail Jeweler by Mia by Jewel Couture
This article was originally featured in the latest issue of The Retail Jeweler, available online now. The Retail Jeweler’s June issue will only be distributed as a digital flipbook. To read the full issue, please visit: theretailjeweler.com/flipbook.