2022 will be another unique year for the jewelry industry because of the pandemic-related uncertainty that will continue to float in the air. Sure, we might see fewer shutdowns as compared to 2020 and higher consumer confidence than 2021, but the jewelry industry players cannot simply assume that the world will go back to as it was in 2019.
The pandemic digital transformation is here. What was already brewing before the COVID-19 pandemic struck has now already boiled. As a jeweler, if you do not get on the digital bandwagon in 2022, you will get left out of the estimated success that the industry is set to see in the next few years.
The current problems in the jewelry industry are real. But the digital world has solutions as well. Let us explore both here and draw an overview of the jewelry industry landscape of 2022.
Nearly half of all jewelry stores around the globe had to keep their businesses closed completely for a month or more. And as the industry is heavily dependent on face-to-face customer interactions, business closures really hurt the sector to its core.
Had this been a one-off phenomenon, the industry could still take the blow, but different governments imposed multiple shutdowns throughout the past one and a half years to make matters worse for the jewelry sector. Dedicated brick-and-mortar stores without any sort of online presence suffered the most.
As businesses had to shut down and movement was restricted by the government, people lost the scope of trying on a piece of jewelry in person before buying. The strict sanitization rules also made things complicated even when businesses were allowed to operate. As a result, customer experience started deteriorating in jewelry stores.
Additionally, the jewelry stores that did manage to have an online presence could not offer an immersive customer experience on their virtual platforms. Just a picture of a neckpiece was not enough to convince visitors to make effective decisions. Shockingly, not many jewelry brands are recognizing this pandemic jewelry problem and taking the necessary initiatives going into 2022.
The big global brands that had a solid financial arsenal took the shutdowns as an opportunity and went for a complete pandemic digital transformation. In a matter of weeks, the brands went online, captured the retail customers, and started selling in ways that were never seen by the jewelry industry before.
This made life difficult for the local jewelry brands. And now, they have to compete with the big brands that were not playing in the jewelry sector before. The impact of competition is adding to the falling revenue problems in the jewelry industry. The cascade effect is pushing many brands towards bankruptcy.
With diminishing revenue, the first expense that multiple jewelers cut down on was marketing. That means their focus went off social media, the websites were no longer maintained, and nobody did anything to “spread the word”. Saving the retail store was the priority, as it should be, but the impact going into 2022 will not be pleasant.
Online traffic increased exponentially during the pandemic. People went off the streets and visited social media more often. By cutting down on their marketing budget, jewelers failed to be present where their customers went and thus, are now paying the price for it.
The pandemic also shot the prices of valuable metals to new highs. Given the state of the economy, not many were buying jewelry at the same rate as they used to. Only engagement rings saw high sales numbers but other categories remained flat. People just did not feel convinced enough to buy jewelry and the trend is still continuing somehow.
Add to that the falling creativity in jewelry designs. The pandemic forced jewelers to cut down on their workforce, which meant that production had to be limited. And that has dried up the inventory now as customers are yearning for fresh designs and more options. Again, going into 2022, jewelers need to revisit this aspect.
Pandemic digital transformation is the obvious answer to all these problems. Ecommerce shopping grew by almost 32% in 2020 in the United States alone, and the rest of the world also saw a similar trend. The best way to tackle the problems in the jewelry industry is to go online first and then employ the latest technologies and digital tools to look after customer experience.
The COVID-19 pandemic has made online shopping a habit. And in 2022, people are not giving up the convenience of shopping from home. To bounce back fast, restart your marketing campaigns, build an online store or mobile application, and take your brand or business to the people.
Not that customers will no longer come to your stores but you need to capture those who prefer to stay at home. 2022 is going to be all about being hybrid as a business.
Tanishq was quick to adopt augmented reality to allow its online visitors the good-old try-and-buy experience. Using mirrAR, Tanishq enabled its customers to try out different pieces virtually, as they would in a Tanishq store.
Augmented reality is the jewelry industry’s secret to improving the virtual customer experience. If you can replicate what Tanishq did with mirrAR, you should start retaining customers and improving your sales.
In a 2019 survey conducted by JCK, almost 72% of jewelry brand owners agreed that social media is one of their most successful business practices. The pandemic further took this trend up a notch as the social media presence of people reached record highs during 2020.
Millennials prefer shopping on social media. And even if people are not buying jewelry over Facebook or Instagram, they are surely searching for or researching your brand there. Having a solid social media presence will establish your authority as a business and complete your pandemic digital transformation.
The mentioned are some of the concerns that jewelers need to address in 2022. But, as mentioned, simple and obvious steps, including the adoption of technologies like AR, can smoothen their path to growth. If you run a jewelry business, step up your game to stay prepared for what is to come next.