The pandemic has unleashed a tsunami of challenges around the world, disrupting nearly every industry and forcing it to change the way it does business. In the jewelry industry, it’s forced stores closed, disrupted diamond mining and supply chains, and led to economic upheaval and uncertainty that has led to limited consumer spending. Despite the turmoil, the industry is agile and well poised to create a profitable holiday season – time that has historically been its most lucrative. And, according to a new report, the majority of U.S. consumers will not let trying times stop them from holiday spending.
Capturing buyers requires retailers to tweak their strategies and act promptly. Here are three tips to help tackle the challenges brought on by COVID-19 and appeal to buyers to create a profitable end of the year:
Prepare your inventory by acting quickly and buying strategically.
Despite the impact the pandemic has had on budgets, 73 percent of consumers surveyed said their holiday budget will stay the same or increase this year, and many will start shopping earlier than usual. If you don’t have the inventory they seek, they’ll look elsewhere.
Understandably, despite low inventory levels, many retailers may be reluctant to spend on restocking and plan to hold off until the last minute when they can be assured of demand. But, diamonds, especially high-quality stones, are scarce today and pricing continues to escalate to reflect demand, showing no signs of slowing. Retailers around the world are scrambling to access the dwindling supplies. Waiting to buy may leave you empty-handed or stuck with low-quality stones that are harder to sell.
What to buy? Research shows that gifts that are meaningful and hold their value will be at the top of wish lists. Think timeless classics that never go out of style – like diamond solitaire rings and earrings – and also something unique to set you apart from the competition. And, remember that quality always trumps trends.
Shore up your digital presence to appeal to online shoppers.
A new study showed that Black Friday will be a digital-first holiday this year, with more shoppers choosing to buy online than in person. It’s not surprising news. With social distancing measures in place, many shoppers want to avoid the crowds by staying home and buying from the safety and comfort of their sofa. In fact, up to 85 percent of consumers who have already shifted to buying more of their groceries and other retail products online than in-store say they will stick with online moving forward.
If your website isn’t optimized for this traffic, it’s time to invest in polishing your digital presence. Make sure it’s professional, easy to navigate, convenient for buyers to view your inventory and fast to click to purchase. Leverage technology to connect customers’ online and in-store experience with you, for instance using Zoom for virtual one-on-one appointments that enable you to better understand what they are looking for and showcase your offerings.
Leverage social media to build and engage a community of buyers.
It takes more than just retail signage to entice customers into your store or a web address to bring them to your site. Engaging with potential buyers via social media like Facebook and Instagram will help to raise awareness and solidify your position as an active member of the jewelry community. A solid social media strategy is always a good idea – shoppers are 29 percent more likely to make a purchase the same day when they use social media to help shop either before or during their trip – and especially helpful during times like these when buyers are spending more time online. It’s time to reach out and let your customers know that you are here for them and ready to help.
Be sure to also include a local component to your social media campaigns. Why focus on your immediate community when the entire world is chock full of potential buyers? During uncertainty, consumers are more willing to spend money locally from sellers they know and trust. Show you are committed to helping and value your community by giving back to it. Consider auctioning stale inventory on a Facebook Live Auction and donate the proceeds to local charities.
By acting with creativity, openness and agility, we can confront the challenges COVID-19 has unleashed on our businesses, and turn them into more effective ways of engaging with and selling to our communities. Consider it a jump start on modernizing our industry and helping to shape its future, and be sure you have a hand in it.