Work on your business, not just in it
The jewelry industry has experienced some major changes and challenges over the past decade, and all signs point to that continuing. Consumers are being bombarded by increased retail and online options, seemingly forcing price wars and associated decreases in profit margins.
Fear of recession is causing a segment of the population to hold off on major jewelry purchases. Smart watches and mobile devices seem to be taking a greater share of the market. The list can go on and on.
But there’s no reason to throw up your hands and surrender. I have experienced such issues more times than I care to count over my five decade business career in both this, and other industries. It is important to understand that the challenges facing the jewelry industry are not necessarily a death sentence. There is much than can be done to keep your business healthy and strong while others around you meet their demise due to lack of positive action.
Here are some simple but important strategies to help you survive, and even thrive, during these daunting tribulations within our industry.
- Instead of focusing on retail sales which tend to be price sensitive and necessitate large, costly inventories to please as many buyers as possible, add and focus on an array of service and maintenance options. For example, Fast-Fix franchise owners nationwide offer watch battery warranties and annual rhodium-plating membership programs to differentiate themselves from the competition and foster customer loyalty. We have also added several non-traditional services to support morphing consumer desires over the years - one of the most recent being mobile device repairs - and seek out ways to leverage existing equipment and staff talents. One such example is utilizing their electronic laser to repair eyeglass frames. More services lead to more ways to benefit your customers, which in turn benefits your company.
- Rather than sitting behind the counter hoping for business to show up or running ads with coupons that may garner unprofitable business, step up community visibility and strategic partnerships with those who are in the best position to provide a consistent flow of referrals. Price becomes less of an issue when a trusted source provides a recommendation. And, just as importantly, those relationships need to be rewarded and reciprocated to keep them performing. You’d be surprised how effective a simple thank you card or box of donuts can be.
- Conduct an in-depth evaluation of your staff. Do they have the skills, and are they motivated, to cross sell or upsell when appropriate? Do they provide the level of customer service that will keep your brand top of mind and inspire a customer to post a five-star Google review? Are they sitting behind the counter checking Facebook on their cell phones, or engaging with prospective customers as they walk by? A secret shopper program can help you find out what you need to know, including that it may be time to make some changes in how you recruit, train, manage and motivate.
Much of the Fast-Fix success formula has evolved from over 30 years of experience across the United States so these best practices may feel overwhelming to independent jewelry business owners who don’t have the experience to do it all themselves. That’s probably why an increasing number of established independent jewelry business owners have been approaching Fast-Fix to see how they can avail themselves of the programs and support that the 150+ locations within the company’s national franchise network enjoy. It is in response to those requests that Fast-Fix has developed an easy, inexpensive brand conversion program which will allow business owners to work on their business, not just in it.
It is important to understand that the challenges facing the jewelry industry are also evident in many others; they are not necessarily a death sentence. There is much that can be done to keep your business healthy and strong while others around you meet their demise due to lack of positive action.