At a time when everyone is to “expect the unexpected”, brands that can navigate COVID-19 — by implementing the right messaging, adding value to customers, analyzing what’s working and what’s not, and being nimble to change — have the greatest opportunity to come out of this stronger.
Recognize the new lifestyle. Lululemon, apparel and gear brand for sports and travel, used to push their “men’s commuter comfortable” line for people on planes every other week for work. Now that no one is flying, the brand is including more content related to “home workouts” and “work from home”.
And, our work-from-home lifestyle has transformed us into a Zoom world. Tech-enabled fulfillment service ShipBob, tracking sales of more than 3,000 of its ecommerce merchants, cited product categories like baby and beauty, sports and fitness equipment, and food and beverage up. But reported jewelry down, reasoning that “in a transformed world of Zoom meetings with people in sweats, rarely leaving the house, few are wearing jewelry these days, and the ecommerce sales data shows it.”
Jewelers can take the lead as stylists for our new Zoom world. For inspiration, the fashion blog popsugar.com highlighted what it considers “The Best Accessories Made For All Those Zoom Calls”. Among them, hoop and stud earrings, layered necklaces, and bejeweled hair accessories. “Accessories can go a long way in helping you look put together, even if you’re only seen from the chest up,” the blog mused. The magazine GQ, in a recent article advised men how to “Ace Zoom Casual”, calling for a bit of flash like a slim chain necklace.
Share helpful, interesting insights. A brand doing a good job of relating their product to the impact of the coronavirus and stay-at-home orders is Readers, shared Jon Corwin, director of growth marketing at One Click Venture.
As more people are reading in general and spending more time on their devices, Readers, the non-prescription reading glasses brand, is blogging about: How to Keep Your Eyes Healthy at Home, How to Safely Sanitize Your Glasses, 5 Ways to Look and Feel Your Best While Working from Home, and Coronavirus: How Our Eyes May Impact Its Spread.
Similarly, jewelers can be sharing information about jewelry care and cleaning during COVID times. The Kingswood Company, Columbus, Ohio-based manufacturer of custom brand jewelry cleaning and care products, offers its customers information, content and other resources to tap into this narrative.
Encourage Celebration. It’s important for jewelers to help their customers celebrate occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, and graduations. “Jewelry is a beautiful way to say ‘I love you, I care about you’ for so many different reasons,” underscores Theresa Namie, merchandise manager for Ostbye, Minneapolis, Minnesota. “During these times it will mean even more.”
She shares that after 9/11 Ostbye saw a big upswing in family jewelry and expects the same post COVID-19, citing birthstone jewelry among its bestsellers. In fact, the company is promoting social media posts about these special moments and how jewelry can uplift our spirits. Namie says the brand also offers weekly Top 10 gift lists.
Tap into COVID-19 sales trends. Hoarding/stocking-up on things deemed essential is a big one. When sales “went off a cliff” for luxury single-blade razor maker Supply, which rarely offers discounts, it turned things around by offering a year’s worth of blades free with razor purchase. It retooled its strategy to what people want in this moment.
Times are changing and everyone has to pivot, and be nimble on how you can make up any revenue gap, like up-selling and cross-selling different products, deals to share with friends, BOGO or gift with purchase.
Upgrade web site functionality, content, and engagement, encourages Neil Shah of Shah Luxury. “Every company is examining how to use technology more effectively to interact with customers.” The N.Y. manufacturer has been working on innovating its platform and technology that will meet the growing reliance on digital technology when we come out of this crisis.
Florian Hochmuth, managing director of Breuning, Lawrenceville, Georgia, mentioned the brand’s popular 3D wedding band design tool on its website that connects consumers with their local jewelers. He reminds that couples are still planning weddings and getting married and jewelers can help them as they create their weddings in a more virtual world.
“We’re committed to our retailers and will do everything we can to help them to be successful during this critical time,” says Namie, sharing that Ostbye offers retail sales tools for jewelers, including social media posts and images for customers can easily share. “Our online Jewelbox.com allows jewelers to make our website theirs, to share either as a link or their own website.”
Moreover, Quality Gold has been addressing many topics its retailers have asked about to improve their digital footprint, including: how to sell remotely, create virtual shopping experiences, raise spirits, and use eCards. “We’re cross-promoting content through newsletter and social media channels to sell products, and to continue to help its customers help their customers celebrate major events in life,” shares Cora Lee Colaizzi, marketing director and senior merchandiser for the Fairfield, Ohio-based manufacturer.
Consider your position on sustainability. An important consideration for jewelers planning ahead, is tackling the topic of sustainability. Sara E. Yood, senior counsel for Jewelers Vigilance Committee believes our experience with COVID-19 will likely accelerate our conversations around responsible sourcing, ethical practices, and metrics such as sustainable development goals.
Yood encouraged jewelers to think about how their businesses fit into this conversation. “Now is a good time to plan how you’re going to talk about issues like sustainability and supply chain transparency, if you aren’t already, as these will be important directions post pandemic.”
If there’s a silver lining to this situation, it’s that we have time to think strategically about the future and plan accordingly, says Jonathan Cohen, president IBGoodman Company, Newport, Kentucky. “Now is a good time for all of us to consider new business ideas and plan.”