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Will You Slowly Fade Away?

by Shane O’Neill, Vice President

There is a slow demise of some jewelry stores out there. Their sales and revenue begin to decay, their marketing efforts become less effective, and eventually, they become a shell of their former business or close altogether. These are the stores that in many cases, whether through a lack of understanding or slow adaption, have not embraced today’s online reality. And soon they will be overtaken by more aggressive, focused jewelers who understand the impact of the digital revolution on consumer shopping.

The number of jewelry retailers continues to decline. There can be many reasons why an independent can falter, but failing to understand current consumer trends and behavior shouldn’t be one of them. Retail is all about consumers and their habits. If there is one word that has been on the lips of every marketer in the past 10+ years, it’s digital. And it’s not just within the jewelry industry. The rapid growth of digital marketing since 2008 has been the biggest marketing disrupter in decades.

The opportunities in digital marketing seem endless, and they’re evolving every day. For many jewelers who previously handled their own marketing, these new channels became overwhelming or too time-consuming. The smart ones brought in or hired professionals to manage this mounting and changing workload; then went back to doing what they did best – running a jewelry store. Unfortunately, some continued down the same marketing path that had worked for them for decades, seeing no reason to change what had always worked.  Perhaps their decision was rooted in a lack of personal understanding of these new technologies or even a fear of committing precious marketing dollars to what they saw as unproven initiatives. Whatever the case, those who fail to adapt today will eventually begin to see eroding market share.

Regardless of how well read a publication might be or how prestigious one’s local newspaper is, they are not the proper vehicle for segments like the bridal audience. Yet, day after day, many swear by it. Paying for premium placement in the yellow pages is these days, an exercise in futility. But a number of retailers still do it. My point isn’t to completely diminish the value of some of these “traditional” mediums but to instead rethink the audience and value of the tools you use. Print is becoming less effective as consumers gravitate to online media. It’s also more difficult to quantify results, compared to less-expensive and highly-scalable online channels. In the end, it’s all about eyeballs. In many cases, attracting those eyeballs through digital media costs less than doing it through a billboard or a print ad, so marketing dollars go much further. That’s not to say digital becomes the only option; there always should be a marketing mix. But if you ignore reality, you can get stuck in the past. 

The evolution of digital marketing and technology is the leading contributor to how retailers connect with consumers. Today, consumers expect to be able to browse inventory online, see pricing, read reviews and have just as great of an experience online as they do in a store. The jewelry market, like most retail markets, is ever-changing. Those who evolve with this new world will thrive, while those who don’t slowly fade away.

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