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Commentary: The Business

Bobby Wilkerson: It’s OK to Admit Your Market Sensitivity

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Closing out goods is not a threat to your brand identity. It’s an admission to your customers that you’re hurting too. And that’s OK.

 

[dropcap cap=I]t didn’t take much to make lots of money in the past few years. You could throw cash at the stock market without tracking trends. Real estate prices seemed destined to rise forever. [/dropcap]

Now, we find ourselves facing a challenging time along with our counterparts in almost all areas of commerce. The issues are both obvious and obscure. The jewelry industry will continue to perform on two levels: the very modest end of the market and the very highest end. It’s the middle market that will be reactionary and cautious.

Depending on whom you listen to, we’re either in for a soft landing or an unprecedented crash.

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Perhaps the true answer lies in the middle, as most true answers do.

The uncertainty is in the price of gas and oil, the stock market’s ability to recover and the willingness of consumers to accept personal debt as a way of life.

Wealthier baby boomers — just over 30 percent of all Americans — are still expected to fuel recordbreaking demand for jewelry and other luxury items in the next decade. Further, Generation X-ers who had accumulated wealth from the stock market (and held on to some of it) could also generate notable demand for jewelry. Events that spur jewelry sales won’t stop. People will still get engaged, married, have anniversaries, birthdays. And even in a recession, people continue to give gifts.

This is a good time for reflection. Jewelers have an opportunity to begin the process of moving out inventory that has not turned. But, to do this, retail jewelers have to be realistic that closing out goods is not a threat to your brand identity — rather an admission that you want customers to take advantage of outrageous pricing during a time when they will appreciate every effort you make toward them.

Show the customer your vulnerability and sensitivity to the marketplace by reducing the cost of goods and sharing in the pain of the current conditions.

As strange as this sounds, now is the time to tell the customer, “We’re in this together.”

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[smalltext]Bobby Wilkerson is president of Wilkerson and Associates, a jewelry marketing event company. Contact him at [email protected][/smalltext]

 

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Hosting a going-out-of-business sale when the coronavirus pandemic hit wasn’t a part of Bob Smith’s game plan for his retirement. Smith, the owner of E.M. Smith Jewelers in Chillicothe, Ohio, says the governor closed the state mid-way through. But Smith chose Wilkerson, and Wilkerson handled it like a champ, says Smith. And when it was time for the state to reopen, the sale continued like nothing had ever happened. “I’d recommend Wilkerson,” he says. “They do business the way we do business.”

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