THE HOLIDAY SHOPPING season may look and feel much different this year, but it remains one of the top selling periods for jewelers.
According to a fresh survey by PowerReviews, an overwhelming majority of U.S. consumers will not let uncertain market conditions stop them from spending this holiday season. Seventy-three percent say their holiday budget will stay the same or increase, and many will start shopping earlier than usual. Not surprisingly, there will be a significant shift to online shopping.
However, after months of business uncertainty due to COVID-19 and facing a scarce diamond market due to disruptions in diamond mining and supply chains, jewelers may be wondering how they’ll capture buyers to turn a profit this shopping season. Turns out, there’s opportunity to be had during trying times. Here’s how to seize it:
1) Don’t underestimate buyers.
While the pandemic has undoubtedly impacted budgets, retail sales are expected to rebound as consumers with disposable income turn to meaningful purchases other than travel. According to the DeBeers Group’s Diamond Insight Report, 46 percent of those surveyed say their jewellery spending is back to normal and 77 percent of those in a relationship now feel more inclined to give a significant gift to someone they love, compared with how they felt pre-pandemic. Couples who were putting off celebrations, such as engagements and anniversaries, may be revisiting them. And, those who had planned to get engaged next year may decide to live in the moment and do it now.
What’s more, the report said 70 percent of consumers have changed their shopping to opt for “timeless classics,” positioning diamonds as a gift of choice this holiday season. While there’s demand for diamonds, they are getting harder to find. Pricing on high-quality diamonds, specifically one-carats, are rising steadily and are currently priced about 12 percent higher than at the start of the year, according to a diamond trading platform, and they are likely to continue rising. Waiting until the last minute to secure inventory might mean you’ll pay more, come up empty handed, or you may have to sacrifice quality, selecting from less desirable and weaker items that aren’t accurately graded.
To fortify your inventory for the season, carefully assess it and have confidence when replenishing. Making bold buying decisions now will ensure you have what your customers want, keeping them from looking to your competitors.
2) Consider new ways of engaging with customers.
Without industry trade shows and in-person meetings, jewelers may feel stymied from doing business. While the pandemic has forced many out of business, it also provided the nudge that many in the jewelry businesses needed to modernize and digitalize their operations.
Even if your store is open for business and in-person customer interactions are back on the table, don’t revert to old ways of selling. Take a longer-term view and continue to grow your online business, offering multiple opportunities and touchpoints for buyers to experience your products and dedicated service. If you haven’t already, rise to new challenges in time to capture holiday shoppers. Many of our jewelers have reinvented the way they do business, revamping their websites and moving from in-store selling to offering virtual consultations via Zoom.
3) Take time to connect with your communities.
Shutdowns and slower business may have wreaked havoc on businesses, but, on the flip side, the slower pace has given many business owners time to explore and build relationships within their industry and wider communities. Not only does connecting with communities create stronger relationships, it also garners trust, a value your business is dependent upon.
For example, during the earlier months of the pandemic, we reached out to our retailers to let them know we’re in these tough times together. We encouraged them to leverage our resources and marketing assets to reach customers in new and often better ways. We’ve also initiated new partnerships to strengthen our business and our retailers’, for instance engaging with Podium to provide jewelers with modern messaging tools to improve the customer experience and bridge the gap between online and in-store retailings.
It’s also an ideal time to turn up the volume on online social communities, both to engage and garner support for local businesses and to give back to your communities. For instance, consider auctioning stale inventory on a Facebook Live Auction and donate the proceeds to local charities.
While 2020 undeniably delivered an onslaught of challenges and leaves us with some uncertainty about the future, jewelers who act with agility, creativity and speed can help to spread joy and end the year on a profitable note.