The jewelry industry is a relatively small segment in the larger US economy. The Covid Pandemic has created a sense of concern and yes, perhaps even dread, among some members of the industry. The question is spoken in virtually every conversation, when will we return to a more normal business environment? Every phone conversation ends with the admonition to “stay safe.” This is an indication of the level of concern by members of the industry.
With all the concern being expressed, are you curious why business at retail has been surprisingly good? Some would even say, business has been surprisingly strong. The primary reason for this strength is the creative energy of those retailers and manufacturers who decided to do something other than complain about business.
The old saying: “Necessity is the mother of invention,” is so true and is the reason why retail jewelers and manufacturers have adapted to the Pandemic. Faced with a situation where customers are not traveling to the retailer’s store. What do you do? The reasons for buying have not changed. Wedding anniversaries continue. Weddings are now permitted. Birthdays happen every day. These are other indications of getting back to normal. Gift giving is back in vogue! How do you attract new customers? How do you get long time customers to return to your store?
The answer is Promotion and the use of technology. The Internet. Facebook. Zoom.
Instagram. Advertise. Promote. Use old technology too! Write notes reminding them of important upcoming dates. Talk to your customers. Call them. Invite them into the store by appointment. Explain your safety protocols. Emphasize how careful you are, because you understand their concerns.
Ask customers to participate in a product selection program. Show them three sets of 12 assortments you are considering to purchase. Ask them to rank the products in order of their interest. Tell them you are preparing to attend the annual trade show where you will select new products for the store. Their input will be invaluable to you.
Speaking of trade shows, Reed Exhibitions, announced a change of dates from their originally planned dates in May/June to August/September. This is an outgrowth of the Covid Pandemic.
Some in the industry have complained that moving the show to August/September will negatively impact the show because it is so late the in the season. However, going to a late August/early September time frame does have its advantages. You will get to see the actual new products and not just photographs. You can see and evaluate the quality and craftsmanship of the products when you see the products in the flesh.
As important, you can speak with the principals of the firms you visit and discuss matters of concern. You also have the opportunity of seeking out new vendors.
Also of note are the educational opportunities available at the show. These opportunities offer retail jewelers an opportunity to gain better insights into their business. Additionally, the opportunity to meet with jewelers from other parts of the country and discuss business is always of value.
The Retail Jeweler's New Issue Schedule to Accommodate Change in Show Dates
May/Jun – 2021: Reserve by April 9, 2021
July – (Pre-show issue) – 2021: Reserve by June 2, 2021
August – (Show issue) – 2021: Reserve by June 28, 2021
September – (Post show issue): Reserve by July 23, 2021