COVID-19 has affected all the industries worldwide, the jewellery industry is no exception. As the pandemic fear has gripped the existing clientele and potential buyers, the jewellery industry has lost its pace for the time being.
But, compared to other retail categories, there’s strong evidence that many jewellery retailers have remained fluid during the ongoing crisis. A lot has changed in 2020 that if jewellery retailers are reluctant to move ahead, they may run out of steam.
As such, jewellers and artisans are pushing themselves further to keep up with the rapidly evolving conditions. So, what lies ahead for the industry that has sailed through the choppy waters and proved to be strong and resilient? Let’s take a look.
Augmented reality (AR) is already redefining conventional retail, making it more exciting. About 6 out of 10 customers prefer online stores that leverage AR features, while 45% of customers reported that AR helped them decide on a purchase faster.
With physical distancing becoming a standard practice amidst the COVID-19 crisis, jewellery makers are employing the latest no-contact sales techniques to drive their sales.
Jewellery apps equipped with AR fuse numerous technologies to offer customers fully immersive, real-time experiences while trying on jewellery, nearly as if they are actually in the stores.
Not only does it appeal to customers, but also gets them more involved in the process. Also, it adds a ‘gamification effect’ to an otherwise regular process. AR in retail develops a sense of immersion within the customers’ devices, offering them far more interactivity than they would feel at a brick-and-mortar store.
With jewellery being such a personal and symbolic possession, the experience should be as comprehensive and multifaceted as possible. Storytelling helps customers connect with individual items in the absence of physical vicinity.
International Watch Company’s (IWC) ‘virtual boutique’, for instance, takes the in-store experience online via an immersive tour of an actual boutique. Consumers can discover various collections and even make an appointment to interact with a consultant for a highly bespoke shopping experience. This venture also asserts IWC’s aim to extend its world to new customers, while improving engagements with the existing brand followers.
Fine jewellery sales are generally linked to quiet environments, personalized services, and an expert nearby. The challenge of mimicking these aspects in the digital realm has, no doubt, hindered the category’s online growth.
That’s now beginning to evolve, with online jewellery sales likely to hold 18-21% of the market by 2025. As such, the task is on the retailers and brands to create attractive propositions that connect the human – customer service, emotions, and sense of magic – with the online screen.
Further, consumers will, and do, buy jewellery online. The key is developing a smooth purchase journey that expresses the storied narrative of each product thus boosting the online jewellery business. Top brands already ace the art to sell jewellery online with a primary focus on UX/CX. Other small businesses must follow suit.
In these competitive times, jewellers must calculate, monitor, and improve their customer lifetime value (CLTV). For them, a single happy customer can be worth five, six, and even seven digits throughout their lifetime.
Over the past six years, the cost of acquiring new customers has surged by 60% for many brands. As such, it is far more logical to invest in maintaining the relations with the existing customers.
Improving CLTV is no easy feat and personalization is something everybody expects nowadays.
Speak to the prospects in their lingo. Convince them that you understand their needs; that you have the perfect jewellery item that fits their budget and preferences.
Personalizing the customers’ jewellery purchasing experience – like they are interacting with a friend who understands them – can dramatically boost the CLTV.
In an ever-evolving world, particularly the one following the COVID-19 pandemic, all jewellery businesses will have to focus on customer service. While the jewellery space is reimagining its customer service strategy, businesses need to ask: is customer service any different per se?
Listening to consumers can offer you useful insights. You can turn these insights into actions and level up various features of your jewellery business to boost your sales.
What are your consumers saying? Don’t they like your collection of rings? Do they want more discounts? Did they have difficulty finding a parking space outside your shop? Did they have trouble finding your shop?
Customer service is just a customer looking for service, whether it’s answering a question or fixing a problem. In the end, the goal is to ensure that the customer is happy.
As gender neutrality gains more ground – 35% of Gen Z knows a non-binary person – boundaries are being broken in jewellery trends, from wedding rings to watches and beyond.
While male jewellery has always been prevalent, more unisex items are coming out. Case in point, Bugari’s B.Zero1 Rock collections are cool, modern, and unisex, and Gucci’s first jewellery collection is geared towards no particular gender.
Rather than purchasing for certain occasions, people of all genders are purchasing for themselves. Gen Z is especially resistant to labels or classifications, offering an opportunity for brands to target products at every individual as well as occasions or relationships.
In times of social and economic uncertainty amidst the COVID-19 crisis, fashion trends in jewellery seem to scale down a notch. Designs are going back to simple and elegant styles with minimum decorative elements, particularly for everyday wear. ‘Keep it simple’ is the mantra of the day and putting on minimalist jewellery will preserve a certain degree of low-key style.
For instance, pearls are increasingly prevalent in contemporary jewellery items and are the ideal choice for those who love simple and sleek (and cool, of course) jewellery that lasts.
Despite slowing down in the COVID-19 pandemic, the jewellery industry has remained resilient. The crisis has transformed the face of the industry, which is more user-friendly and customer-centric.
Retailers who are unrealistically expecting everything to just bounce back to the old normal anytime this year or next are in for a surprise.
While the pandemic-induced global market will continue to pose tough challenges for the jewellery industry, the future also offers substantial opportunities for players to rewrite the rule book across distribution models, products, and engagement strategies. Those that envision and accept the changes in the marketplace can participate in creating a new gold standard.