Los Angeles, CA—I've been in the jewelry industry since 1968, and have seen a lot of changes. I've witnessed the bad times caused by national financial disasters, as well as the good times. Clearly, we're going through some very challenging times, and it's unlikely that the "norm" that we've enjoyed for so many years will be the benchmark of the future.
As with most problems, we have to evaluate our present circumstances, and structure our respective businesses going forward, if we're to succeed. The jewelry business is a "feel good" business. Ever since recorded history, jewelry has made individuals feel good. Either as a gift, or self-purchase, the art of jewelry has been appreciated. The challenge is how we approach the public, and bring them back, and make them feel comfortable knowing that the jewelry store is a place to find, and purchase items that will make them feel good, either as a self-purchase, or as a gift.
In order to accept this challenge, we first have to identify the customer. In my opinion, we have the Millennials at our front door, and our first challenge is to find out what they like. I was a rep for over 50 years, managed a sales force, had my own pocket watch company, and I presently do recruiting for jewelry manufacturers. I have observed the changes that have reached the entrance of every jewelry store.
What I've discovered is selling doesn't work. Presenting items of interest in a way that results in the customer buying works. This method is no different on the sales rep’s part, as it is on the sales associate on the other side of the counter. People need a reason to buy. In my opinion, there is a trust factor that needs to be developed between the store management and the consumer. I'm not so sure that this trust factor can be developed with online purchases. There are many ways to develop the trust factor, and give customers a reason to enter brick and mortar stores. We are all going through some very difficult times. They are challenges, all of which can be over come, slowly, and ultimately, successfully.