Monday, March 29, 2021

The State of the Jewelry Industry Today

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

Friday, May 01, 2020

A Letter to Retail Jewelers during COVID-19

By Rachel Dery, Director of Communication and Education
Roger Dery Gem Design for The Retail Jeweler.com

Dear Retail Jewelers,

This is certainly an uncertain time, isn’t it? Flashbacks of 2001 and 2008 and the years after coming to mind? Wondering if your savings will be enough to pay rent until quarantine ends, let alone pay your employees when you reopen until business rebounds? Are your employees like family and laying them off is the hardest thing you’ve ever done?

You, the neighborhood jeweler of your clients, have celebrated and mourned with them through Every. Single. Milestone. Of. Their. Lives. Milestones, joyous or tearful. This, the single greatest global catastrophe of our lifetimes, will be no different. While buying jewelry isn’t top of mind right now, learning new ways to be a neighbor is. You, the neighborhood jeweler of your clients, have a unique opportunity to share your humanity, your commonality with your clients during this sensitive time. You, the Retail Jeweler, will innovate and rise above. You always do, don’t you?

Feel tired? Discouraged? They do too. Perhaps, by listening, sharing, serving, and giving - the things you always do for your clients! - you can come out on the other side of COVID-19 as “My Jeweler, My Friend”…

You’re always the listening ear, aren’t you? It’s the blessing and curse of retail! This is the time to get even better at listening so that, after quarantine, your clients remember your response during COVID-19:

1. Call your clients just to check in, let them know you’re thinking about them, see what they need, listen to their fears, ask who they’re worried about, let them know you appreciate them, and be honest about your own struggles during quarantine!

2. There’s open space online right now to talk about non-quarantine topics that occupy time at home: how to clean your jewelry, how to organize your jewelry, how to keep your jewelry safe, Roger Dery’s discovering your Spirit Gem, exploring the world of colored gems, and whether to insure your jewelry! (check out The King’s Jewelers on Facebook) Encourage your clients to post their before and after pics or videos of cleaning, organizing, and discovering their Spirit Gem!

3. We’re all spending more time online than ever…because we have more time on our hands than ever! Make your online space a happy, welcoming conversation where your clients feel commonality and camaraderie.
· Ask your clients what they’re missing from non-quarantine life and share what your staff is missing. · Share each of your staff’s Spirit Gem Quiz results and ask your clients to share theirs back!
· Host Happy Hour with your jeweler every Friday night to celebrate making it through another week of quarantine!
· Share your (and your staff’s response) to the #getdressedanyway or #lockdowndressup movement and ask your clients to post and tag you back! (check out @noondaycollection on Instagram!)
· Calling all jewelry! Call upon your clients to post their jewelry and bring it out of the jewelry box when they #gotdresssedanyway or #lockdowndressup.
· Share the stories behind your family heirloom jewelry (or redesigned heirlooms!) and invite clients to share their own. (@stevequickjeweler is a great example!)

Throughout history, jewelers have marked the milestones of life. This is the time you’ll make sure your clients know you can’t WAIT to celebrate that next milestone with them, whatever and whenever it may be:

1. Your clients’ kids or grandkids are homeschooling right now and their parents need activities to keep them occupied! Share Roger Dery Gem Design’s Fun with Gems for Kids Activity Packets (grade-specific, downloadable, shareable, FREE) and Careers in the Jewelry Industry Quiz. Bonus: hold an online contest for sharing finished activities!

2. Offer to go grocery shopping and deliver groceries to your clients who are considered high risk.

3. Buy hand sanitizer or cleaning supplies and deliver it to your clients’ front porch with a handwritten note.

4. If it’s allowed in your state, offer to box, wrap, ship for free, and add a handwritten note for a special gift! A video appointment to shop proves your dedication to customer service.

Jewelers are always givers, aren’t they? If you’re able, even small gifts show your clients you’re in it for the long run with them.
1. Go local. Let clients know you will donate a portion of every gift card purchased during quarantine to your local food bank, No Kid Hungry, Meals on Wheels, COVID-19 Response Fund, etc. (Check out Cline Jewelers’ donation of $25 for every $100 gift card purchased)

2. Donate Globally: Gem Legacy has an emergency drive to feed 256 kids at high risk of malnutrition while East African school suspension leaves them without government sponsored lunch. You can feed a child for a month for just $25! Let your clients know you’re committed to giving back in your own industry.

Here’s to the you, the Retail Jeweler. A salute to your commitment to celebrating every milestone and your delight in the happiness of others. The world will celebrate again, and you will be there to make the moment sparkle as you always do.

For more information about Roger Dery Gem Design please visit rogerdery.com.

This editorial originally appeared on The Retail Jeweler's Blog. Read the original entry here.

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