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Monday, July 27, 2020

Marketing in the New Normal: Stay Visible, Stay Active

By Rick Areneman, President & CEO of the Harmon Group

People have changed the way they shop. That doesn’t mean they’ve stopped buying.

I was running errands today—taking envelopes to the printer, meeting with my accountant about 2019 taxes, picking up product samples from my retoucher (we’re all still working remotely). I stopped for lunch at a drive-through fast food spot, something I wouldn’t have done before the pandemic, and parked in the lot to eat.

I was facing a strip mall and couldn’t help but observe the shoppers entering the stores. It was very interesting. As you would expect, business was down. But for those who did shop, even though they spent very little time in the stores, to a person they came out with a purchase. They didn’t walk down the mall and go door to door; they entered one store only, made their purchase, and left.

It dawned on me that these weren’t shoppers; these were buyers. They knew what they wanted, and in some cases must have arranged the pickup because of the short time they spent in the store. It was obvious that these “buyers” had pre-determined what they wanted or needed and where they were going to buy it. Could this be today’s new norm?

After that observation, I made a number of calls throughout the day to my fourteen-year-old niece, my eighty-year-old retired friend, and everyone in-between to get their opinion. Currently, they’re all shopping online, and are either having their purchases delivered or are picking them up in-store.

As a marketer, I asked them if they will go back to the way they shopped previously when things get better, and the answers surprised me. Overall, they said they will eventually spend more time in stores, again, but will also continue to shop this way. Online shopping is now part of their established shopping protocol for practically all aspects of their life.

While this is a very un-scientific study, The New York Times published an article in May where several high-end retailers were interviewed. The consensus was that foot traffic will decline by double digits, and that the day of the window-shopping browser are over—at least for the foreseeable future.

What does this mean to a retail jeweler? Yes, you must have a well-executed website, and yes, your product images and videos must be of very high quality, because this is all your customers have to go by when shopping on online. But the most important takeaway is that you must stay visible. This goes well beyond your website. You must be active on social media in a way that will capture the attention of buyers in your market. This means being informative, entertaining, and, fun.

You need to maintain a presence through other marketing media as well, such as out-of-home, direct mail, or local broadcast. I have always been an advocate of sending personal notes to your customers, and using handwritten messages to empathize with them, show concern, and let them know you are thinking of them. You don’t have to spend as much on marketing as you have during the good times, but you absolutely must stay active and visible. In this environment, the store that meets its customers where they are will be the winners as things return to the new normal.

This is our current reality and I don’t see it changing any time soon. You should expect fewer total sales which means far more buyers than shoppers. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; your gross revenue could match or even exceed last year, even with fewer people physically coming in-store. If you stay visible, you will experience much more activity through your online media.

Now is the time to rethink your customer interaction and experience. Set-up private appointments and demonstrate the lengths you are going to keep customers safe, comfortable, and happy. Call your customers on their birthdays and sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to them (and send them a special note and coupon). It might seem corny, but right now it’s effective. If you do your marketing right, you will come out of this intact. If you don’t, you could be looking at a GOB sale in your future.

About Rick Areneman
As CEO, Rick takes the reins on strategic planning, business development, and all the tedious minutia of running a company. He enjoys attending industry shows and guesting on webinars, giving seminars and talks on current marketing trends and presenting innovative solutions to solve marketing dilemmas.

About The Harmon Group
The Harmon Group is a full-service marketing and advertising agency based in Nashville, Tennessee. Harmon Group is know for developing creative and strategic marketing plans customized to suit the unique needs of individual businesses, be they B2B or B2C operations. For more information, please visit:

Friday, July 03, 2020

Spotlight on Jewelers Supporting Jewelers: Metal Pressions of Savannah, Gives Back with Retail Partners

Spotlight on Jewelers Supporting Jewelers:  Metal Pressions of Savannah, Gives Back with Retail Partners  Andreas and Elisha of Metal Pressions copy-70
Spotlight on Jewelers Supporting Jewelers:  Metal Pressions of Savannah, Gives Back with Retail Partners

Founded by a husband and wife team, Andreas and Elisha Argentinis operate out of a picturesque workshop in laid-back Savannah GA. Metal Pressions is an artisan jewelry business that creates fine, personalized, hand-stamped jewelry. Their collection includes sterling silver and gold pendants, cuff bracelets, charms, rings and accessories like tie clips, cuff links and golf tools. All can be customized with hand-stamping, gemstones and custom engraving. Metal Pressions uses a proprietary design platform that allows 100% customization for every piece. For the past few years, Metal Pressions has created a partnership program that puts their proprietary design technology in retail jewelry stores across the US. This allows local jewelers to offer a completely customized jewelry experience to their customers.

Spotlight on Jewelers Supporting Jewelers:  Metal Pressions of Savannah, Gives Back with Retail Partners

“Early on, they realized that the shopping and design experience were just as important as the jewelry itself. Inspired by customer’s hand drawn sketches and detailed messages describing their perfect piece of personalized jewelry, they developed the world’s first true online jewelry design tool.” Andreas Argentinis, Metal Pressions Co-founder and President, explained, “After almost a decade of refining our product and online design tool, we started to bring the custom design experience to retail stores around the country .”

With the lockdown many retail stores are shuttered. The Metal Pressions program is the only digital offering these stores can offer their customers without a formal ecommerce platform in place. For select Metal Pressions partners, this collaboration keeps the lights on in the empty stores until the lockdown lifts.

Like so many companies, Metal Pressions has felt the impact of the shifting tides that the COVID-19 health crisis brought to small businesses and consumer brands. Taking charge of the circumstances, Argentinis rolled out a series of programs to give back to local communities while helping their retail partners stay engaged with their customers until doors open again.

Most notably, Metal Pressions has also created a Charms for Charity program where Partner Jewelers can create a charm that benefits the community with all of the net profits being donated to a local organization of their choice. Already the initiative raised significant relief for a local rotary club that provides for the very stressed first responders in the area.

Spotlight on Jewelers Supporting Jewelers:  Metal Pressions of Savannah, Gives Back with Retail Partners

The East End Challenge is the first in what Metal Pressions will be a series of Charms for Charity events that will benefit the frontline workers in their retail partner communities. Sponsored by Satnick Jewelers, Metal Pressions and The Rotary Club of Southold Long Island, the “East End Challenge” is the local Charms for Charity sales event where 100% of the net proceeds will go to local charities that support individuals and first responders directly affected by the COVID-19 crisis.

“Andreas reached out while I was shutdown to present the charity ideas. I just finished up the last two custom orders to ship. I was out of work with nothing to do. It’s disheartening to say the least,” commented Metal Pressions Partner Roger Satnick of Satnick Jewelers in Southold, Long Island. The Charms for Charity benefits their local Rotary club. “His idea got me excited. I’ve got a long road to recovery, but this charity initiative along with the Rotary Club of Southold has given me purpose in these difficult times and kept me involved and visible within my community.”

Using their retail partner network as a platform to give back, Metal Pressions has also launched online “Nominate a Nurse” Jewelry Design Parties where selected hosts bring friends together to design a custom piece of sterling silver jewelry (up to $200 value) to give to a healthcare or essential worker in their community. These virtual events happen about once a week through Metal Pressions' design platform with hosts selected through Metal Pressions’ customer and retail partner network.

Asked for his advice to jewelers at this time, Andreas responded with a sentiment of strength and marketing savvy: “Think micro not macro. If you are looking to leverage selling online or on social media to survive, you don’t need 1000 visitors or a million likes. You just need some seriously committed fans. Create fierce loyalty. Create a tribe. Create a family with your customers and some amazing things can happen, even in this twilight zone we are all adapting to.”

Retail Jewelers interested in becoming a Metal Pressions retail partner can contact Andreas at

For more information on Metal Pressions, please visit:

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