Columns Why Video Could Kill the Brick-and-Mortar Star (If You Don’t Use It) Connecting with clients in a pandemic environment requires facility with video conferencing. Published 9 months ago on June 14, 2020 By Andrea Hill Instore June 2020 Issue Share Tweet I’VE BEEN READING to my grandchildren through video conferencing. No, it didn’t start with the coronavirus. My business requires me to travel internationally much of the time (or at least it did), and video has always been a way for me to stay connected with the kids. Here is something I learned: One can maintain emotional proximity using digital devices. I keep hearing retailers say, “You can’t build relationships over the internet. The internet will never replace the in-person experience at retail.” It’s true that the in-person experience offers benefits that online cannot. But I fear that clinging to this old saw will prevent retailers from recovery. As we head into what is likely to be an extended period of social distancing and possibly rolling quarantines, retail owners who are depending on foot traffic to pay the bills are likely to be disappointed. The time to invest in online skills for not only selling, but also service and relationship-building, is now. There are many things you can do to build emotional proximity from a distance. Today, let’s talk about your video conferencing strategy. It’s not sufficient to simply have video conferencing available as a tool. You must proactively incorporate video conversations into your regular communications with customers. If it’s not easy — if someone has to wait for you to send them a link, and you have to log into the system and remember how to find your link before you can send it — the moment will disappear. Get comfortable with your video system. Practice launching and joining calls with your team until you can initiate a video call as easily as you start or answer a phone call. Keep the link handy, and any time you are speaking with a customer, offer to do a video call “right now.” Push the link from your mobile device to them using an SMS message, and transition instantly from a voice call to a face call. Advertisement Be sure to contract with a video conferencing system that offers an Always On feature. I use a system that is open on my computer all day and can be monitored from my smartphone when I’m away. If someone wants a quick video chat, they knock on the virtual room, and I answer. Unless you’re already a by-appointment-only retailer, your customers expect to be able to shop whenever the urge hits them. An always on video conferencing feature makes that possible. Consumers have been moving most of their shopping and browsing behavior online for several years now. Even before the coronavirus, a large number of consumers only entered stores to conclude the sale. You can expect that behavior to accelerate, as consumers look to reduce the amount of time exposed to others. Your website must be robust enough to support that shopping behavior. But that’s not the only way to engage a distance shopper. Using your video conferencing system, you can also share your screen, share images of jewelry you have in stock, or co-browse the internet to look at options from your favored suppliers. Even better, attach a second camera to your setup to share live jewelry while you chat with your customer. In-person retail is undoubtedly superior to online as a means of connecting with your customers. But as consumers weigh the trade-offs between exposure and shopping, many of them will opt for digital connections. Make sure you’re ready to support them, and keep your retail relationships growing. Related Topics: digital marketingFeaturedMarketing click to Comment(Comment) Up Next Dear Supplier Rep: Here’s How to Earn a Retailer’s Business Don't Miss To Beat Online Sellers, Build A Relationship With Your Customer. Here’s How. Andrea Hill Andrea Hill is owner of Hill Management Group, with three brands serving the jewelry industry. Learn more at hill-management.com. Continue Reading Advertisement SPONSORED VIDEO Wilkerson Testimonials Retirement Made Easy with Wilkerson The store was a landmark in Topeka, Kansas, but after 80 years in business, it was time for Briman’s Leading Jewelers to close up shop. Third generation jeweler and owner Rob Briman says the decision wasn’t easy, but the sale that followed was — all thanks to Wilkerson. Briman had decided a year prior to the summer 2020 sale that he wanted to retire. With a pandemic in full force, he had plenty of questions and concerns. “We had no real way to know if we were going to be successful or have a failure on our hands,” says Briman. “We didn’t know what to expect.” But with Wilkerson in charge, the experience was “fantastic” and now there’s plenty of time for relaxing and enjoying a more secure retirement. “I would recommend Wilkerson to any retailer considering a going-out-of-business sale,” says Briman. “They’ll help you reach your financial goal. Our experience was a tremendous success.” You may like 3 Tips to Becoming the Most Resilient Jewelry Store Owner You Know My Diamond Price Predictions for 2021 … And How You Can Capitalize How to Find Creative Gems in the Trash Promoted Headlines Digital Warrior: A Conversation with GemFind’s Alex Fetanat GemFind A Sales Meeting Platform for The 21st Century The Plumb Club With Average Retails of $250, This Is One Brand You Won’t Want to Miss! Chic Pistachio Advertisement Latest Trending Videos Press Releases10 hours ago Gembridge Announces Global Industry Ambassador Network Press Releases11 hours ago Christopher Designs Celebrates 40th Anniversary Press Releases2 days ago GJEPC Signs MoU with eBay Press Releases2 days ago Joseph Varjabedian Passed Away Due to COVID-19 Headlines2 days ago Signet to Raise Its Minimum Wage to $15/Hour Fun5 days ago 54 Funny Memes That Will Make You Say ‘Yup, That’s Life in Retail!’ Headlines3 weeks ago $5.8M in Fake Rolexes Seized in Cincinnati Photo Gallery3 weeks ago 19 Celebrities Show Off Their Stunning Engagement Rings [Updated] Headlines2 weeks ago Hawaii Jewelry Sellers Carjacked, Robbed of $200,000+ in Merchandise Headlines4 weeks ago Kendra Scott Steps Down as CEO of Jewelry Company She Founded Sponsored Content4 days ago Digital Warrior: A Conversation with GemFind’s Alex Fetanat Jimmy Degroot1 week ago Video: Sharpen Your Bridal Jewelry Presentations Sponsored Content1 week ago With Average Retails of $250, This Is One Brand You Won’t Want to Miss! Jimmy Degroot2 weeks ago Video: Maximize on the Opportunities That 2020 Brought the Jewelry Industry Category Spotlight3 weeks ago New Display Materials Help Merchandise GIA-Graded Diamond and Gemstones Advertisement Advertisement SubscribeBULLETINS INSTORE helps you become a better jeweler with the biggest daily news headlines and useful tips. (Mailed 5x per week.) Latest Comments Most Popular Fun5 days ago 54 Funny Memes That Will Make You Say ‘Yup, That’s Life in Retail!’ Headlines1 week ago Paris Hilton’s Engagement Ring May Be Worth $1M+ Headlines1 week ago $5.2M in Fake Cartier Jewelry Seized in Kentucky Headlines3 days ago Bergio Acquires Online Jewelry Retailer Aphrodite’s Benchmarks1 week ago These Jewelry Retailers Grab Shoppers’ Interest with Inventive Displays Hot Sellers1 week ago These Were the Top-Selling Jewelry Brands and Categories in January, According To Our Brain Squad Columns4 days ago 3 Tips to Becoming the Most Resilient Jewelry Store Owner You Know Sponsored Content1 week ago With Average Retails of $250, This Is One Brand You Won’t Want to Miss!