A quick guide to selling your best in 2020
No doubt about it: much of your holiday experience will be happening virtually this year. Family members from faraway places may have to settle for Zoom visits. That trip to the grocery store to stock up on holiday dinner might be instead delivered to your door. And as far as your holiday shoppers are concerned, you may be meeting them virtually, or tending to a host of online orders that far exceeds any year you’ve seen yet.
So where to begin making the most of your holiday sales season? That wonderful time of year when the tinkling of bells signals yet another customer through the door, another holiday wish to make come true? What will this year be like, limiting face-to-face time with shoppers and instead catering to them online?
The good news is that many retailers are on it. According to respondents from the 2020 JCK State of the Industry Survey, 48% said that connecting with clients via social media was a top strategy for their business, while 40% agreed that shifting their focus to online buying was also important. These are big numbers as more retailers are beginning to realize that the simple brick-and-mortar—as crucially important as it is to many businesses—needs supplemental e-sales to thrive. Or at the very least, it needs a digital presence to connect with buyers and potential buyers, to get them in the door. This survey was taken well before the holiday season, well before we knew what that would look like. And that sentiment now echoes louder than ever.
So first things first: your website. Does it have e-commerce capabilities? Great photos with multiple angles of the jewelry, and examples of how it looks when worn? If you can check these off your list, you’re in a great place. Take it even further by offering shoppers the options to compare pieces side-by-side (it’s a great tactic for helping them to make decisions online—you probably do it in-store!), and adding video of the pieces, showing how they sparkle in the light, how they move, how they wear.
The same goes for your social media presence. Are you interacting with your followers? Updating your feed daily, your Instagram Stories multiple times per day? Are you singing holiday carols on TikTok? (That last one isn’t quite as serious as the formers, but it couldn’t hurt!). Keeping your current customers in the loop of what your store’s plans are for the holidays through social outreach and marketing email sends is more important than ever, so be sure to dedicate extra time for that. If you have a dedicated marketing or social media person on your staff, now is their time to shine.
Now that you’ve got the shoppers on your website, it’s time to start thinking about your shipping plans. How quickly can you turn around your e-sales, from packaging to shipping to arrival? Will you charge? Free shipping is obviously a huge selling point for online shoppers, who often get turned off when charged a fee, particularly on large purchases. But jewelry is a sensitive item to send by carrier, so make sure you’re comfortable with what you’re sending and how. Check with your insurance company to see what’s covered and what isn’t, and ensure you have the proper extra insurance through your shipping company, if necessary. Do the same with customer returns, if you’re allowing them—consider pre-paid labels or request that customers email or call you with any return or exchange inquiries. If you have local shoppers buying online, think about doing contactless deliveries, hand-carrying the purchases to their homes yourself. If you’ve had to furlough any staff or limit their hours, consider this an opportunity to help them pick up a little more work by tasking them with local deliveries.
Now about in store: Should you still focus on store décor and window displays? It might depend on how centrally located you are, and whether or not you’ll be opening your doors to the public, but the short answer is yes. Anything you can do to make this holiday special for your customers, you should do—as long as you’re comfortable doing so. This is a year that needs more cheer; shoppers may need little reminders as to why they’re celebrating this year, they need to remember what it is that they love about the holidays. In an unprecedented year, it’s good to have some sense of normalcy, even through something as simple as a twinkling light or a Christmas wreath. Offer virtual consultations when you can to stay as safe as possible, but also make clear to your shoppers how you plan to operate in person. Are you taking appointments? Welcoming shoppers as they come? Most customers might assume small businesses won’t be open or will have limited hours, so if it’s important to alert your current clients of your plans, do so by marketing email, and include your expectations for their visit (ask them to wear a mask throughout their visit and stay home if sick, for starters).
Now let’s talk the fun stuff: jewelry trends. In terms of trends, there are a few key areas to strengthen your stock based on what we’ve been seeing over these last 6 months or so. First is jewelry that can be customized or personalized, whether it’s through engraving or with a special birthstone, an initial or nameplate piece, or something like a charm bracelet. Keep in mind that it’s great to have pieces that play well with other styles, so that these precious keepsakes can be worn always no matter what other trends the wearer may partake in. If it can layer, stack, or mix-and-match, you’ve got a no-brainer.
Pearls have also seen a surge in popularity this year, and they seem to just keep getting cooler. Where once you might have considered pearls a gift for Mother’s Day or graduations, now even the youngest jewelry wearers might be asking for pearls, given the lineup of celebrities wearing them in refreshing and exciting ways.
According to the 2020 JCK State of the Industry Report, top-ranked trends among retailers include alternative engagement rings, layering pieces, and lab-grown diamonds. Most of these categories can be applied to the season’s top trends: Personalized jewelry with lab-grown stones, layerable necklaces and charms—as for the engagement rings, it’s always a good time to keep a good variety of styles.
This season is shaping up to be unlike any other, but that doesn’t mean it has to be bad. Wishing you good health, good cheer, and good sales this holiday season and beyond.
To gain more insight about trends, how COVID-19 affects the jewelry marketplace, the latest research on consumer behavior and more, download the 2020 JCK State of the Jewelry Industry Report here.
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