The most important things in life aren’t things!

Here are some things to bear in mind as we head into the fourth quarter of 2018.  I am going to refer to some extracts taken from Professional Jeweller October 2018

  a) Our industry is competing with the purchase of experiences rather than things.

  b) Black Friday is a thing, so prepare for it whether you like it or not!

  c) Make sure you know what your thing is. And work it. Hard!

Retail therapy vs experience

Another notable change is in how consumers are treating themselves. Recent reports have revealed that when it comes to non-essential purchases, shoppers around the UK would rather spend their money on experiences than things, something which the industry has been discussing heavily. “Consumer spending is changing and jewellery is competing not only with other products, but more and more with experiences and activities,” shares Unique & Co founder, Daniel Ozel, adding: “Consumer and, in particular, younger customers, prefer to spend money not only on products, but on holidays, experiences and activities.” In an exclusive interview with Professional Jeweller’s sister publication, WatchPro, the managing director of family-run jewellery retailer, Pragnell, said he believes experiences and holidays are actually the greatest competitors for the jewellery industry. Charlie Pragnell explains: “I think our greatest competitor for the watch and jewellery business is experiences and holidays because people are marking the moments in their lives with memories. Our job is to make sure that watches and jewellery are a better option because they don’t change while the memories of holidays can fade and change over time.” If people are favouring experiences over products, it’s more important than ever for jewellers to make shopping in their stores memorable. From making consumers feel at home, to doing something to make them feel special, experts suggest retailers need to go above and beyond to connect with consumers emotionally, and in turn, win over their business.

Don’t forget Black Friday

Like it or lump it, Black Friday is a big event for the retail industry, and one the UK has struggled to shake off even though many have campaigned for it to end. For many retailers, the mass sales event can be blamed for the late Christmas rush.  Owner of the eponymous store, Harriet Kelsall, shares: “Black Friday destroyed Christmas retail when it was established about three years ago and as a result that extra Christmas custom has reduced slightly.” Research reveals that last year’s Black Friday weekend was the most successful in history for online retailers based in the UK, and recent findings suggest it will continue to grow this year. Most importantly, studies from last year show that Black Friday impacted online sales, more than footfall on the British high street, so as consumers Google what deals are on offer for November 23 it’s worth jewellers exploring how they can appear in such search terms, even if they don’t want to bow down to the day’s heavy discounting demands.

Know you USP

Whenever Professional Jeweller visits a new city for its monthly cityscape feature, each jeweller is asked what they consider their USP to be, and a worrying amount aren’t sure.  On today’s high street however, it’s more important than ever that each jeweller knows what makes them stand out from the store next door, and also, why a customer should be shopping with you and not going online. “In jewellery retailing I think businesses now need to establish a niche,” says Webb-Meek of In the Pink. “...specialise in just diamonds, high end jewellery, watches [and so on].... To the consumer, this is now much more appealing than bland multi-brand stores offering the same thing.” Of course many companies have a lot of strengths in common, but at the end of the day each business needs to have one thing that makes them truly unique. Is yours an area of customer service? A type of product you champion in store? Or do you try to create a certain environment, or go about business in a distinctive way? Do you know what your unique selling point is? Furthermore, if you asked each member of staff, would they know? As we draw to the end of the year make sure you know what your store stands for, be clear on the identity of the name above the door, and be confident in why consumers should shop in your boutique rather than going elsewhere.

So our our advice at Henig is recognise that the above three things are important and make sure our clients benefit from our knowledge, professionalism and the contribution we can make to their lives!  Happy selling...