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Commentary: The Business

May You Live a Long and Digital Life

Jewelers who ignore the shifting retail landscape do so at their own peril.

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SOME JEWELRY STORES out there are breathing their last breath. Their sales and revenue begin to decay, their marketing efforts become less effective, and eventually they become a shell of their former business or just close.

These are the stores that in many cases, whether through a lack of understanding or slow adaption, have not embraced today’s online reality. Soon they will be overtaken by more aggressive, focused jewelers who understand the impact of the digital revolution on consumer shopping.

The number of jewelry retailers continues to decline. There can be many reasons why an independent can falter, but failing to understand current consumer trends and behavior shouldn’t be one of them. Retail is all about consumers and their habits. If there is one word that has been on the lips of every marketer in the past five-plus years, it’s digital. The rapid growth of digital marketing since 2008 has been the biggest marketing disrupter in decades.

The opportunities in digital marketing seem endless, and they’re evolving every day. Smart store owners brought in professionals to manage this mounting and changing workload, then went back to doing what they did best: running a jewelry store. Unfortunately, some, seeing no reason to change what had always worked, continued down the same marketing path that had worked for them for decades. Perhaps their decision is rooted in a lack of personal understanding of these new technologies, or even a fear of committing precious marketing dollars to what they see as unproven initiatives. Whatever the case, those who fail to adapt will eventually begin to see eroding market share.

Regardless of how well read or prestigious one’s local newspaper is, it is not the proper vehicle for segments like the bridal audience. Yet, day after day, many swear by it. Paying for premium placement in the yellow pages is, these days, an exercise in futility. But a number of retailers still do it.

My point isn’t to totally diminish the value of some of these traditional mediums, but to instead get you to rethink the audience and value of the tools you use.

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Online channels make it easier to quantify results, are often less-expensive and more highly scalable than the existing alternatives. In the end, it’s all about eyeballs. In many cases, attracting those eyeballs through digital media costs less than doing it through a billboard or a newspaper ad, so marketing dollars go much further. That’s not to say digital becomes the only option; there always should be a marketing mix. But if you ignore the reality, you can get stuck in the past.

Today, consumers expect to be able to browse inventory online, see pricing, read reviews and generally have a great experience online. Jewelry, like most retail markets, is ever-changing. Those who evolve with this new world will thrive, while those who don’t will slowly fade away.

Fruchtman Marketing is a full-service agency that specializes in the jewelry industry and works with many of the country’s finest jewelry retailers, manufacturers, designers and trade groups. The company has presented seminars at the most prominent trade shows, including JCK Las Vegas, IJO and The Centurion Jewelry Show, and contributes to top industry publications. Visit the jewelry marketing experts at fruchtman.com

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