Seven months into the pandemic, most jewelers have adapted to doing business 2020 style using tactics such as curbside pickups, hygiene protocols, and endless consultations over Zoom. As the holiday season looms, however, many retailers are grappling with a whole new reality that requires them to reimagine their approach to sales and marketing in the fourth quarter.
On Wednesday, JCK held a webinar, sponsored by Stuller, to address some of the biggest questions around how to prepare for the holiday. Titled “7 Ways the 2020 Holiday Season Will Be Different and What Jewelry Retailers Should Do About It,” the presentation—led by JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky—covered topics such as how retailers are handling special events, the rise in social commerce and how jewelers can incorporate it into their channels, and the importance of stocking symbolic, meaningful jewelry.
The economic backdrop to the holiday is unprecedented. “For all the stress this year has brought, many of us have more savings than we’ve ever had,” Gomelsky said, as she discussed a slide showing how the personal savings rate in the U.S. spiked to 33.7% in April, compared to around 7% in the five years prior.
Whether that translates to a successful season for jewelers remains to be seen. But there’s no question that retailers who have perfected their omnichannel strategies will be better placed to capitalize on this year’s topsy-turvy retail environment.
The first point Gomelsky discussed focused on the need for jewelers to ensure all of their channels—from brick-and-mortar stores to websites to social media—operate seamlessly. She urged jewelers to design their websites as virtual shop windows, to mimic the shopping experience consumers have in physical stores.
“Just like you change your store design, you need to curate your website,” said Ben Smithee, CEO of the Smithee Group. “If I see an ad and am clicking on ‘Gifts for Mom,’ send me to a curated landing page designed for gifts for mom. Most people stop at the ad but don’t follow through with that whole virtual experience.”
Next, Gomelsky tackled special events and how different they will look in this year of social distancing. She noted a few strategies that jewelers should consider, including: in-store or online pop-up events, such as the Gems Project, in-person or virtual one-on-one gifting consultations, in-person or virtual one-on-one styling sessions, and Zoom-based happy hours.
The growing focus on contactless services, from QR codes that provide information about products to mobile payments such as Apple Pay and Venmo, will also play a part in making consumers more comfortable to shop this season.
According to Gomelsky, the emergence of social commerce will shape retail in the months and years to come. “What do we mean by social commerce?” asked Bazaarvoice chief revenue officer Joe Rohrlich. “There’s the notion that it means shopping on social. But the reality is, social commerce is so much larger than that. It’s about harvesting all that wonderful content on social and bringing it to your commerce: creating an integrated experience between inspiration, social, and purchase.”
“Figuring out how to drive discovery online is where the world is going,” he added.
Gomelsky rounded out her talk with a couple points on the importance of heeding consumer calls for sustainability and purpose-driven brands and on the growing demand for jewelry with symbolism and meaning.
Finally, she concluded, “you must have a contingency plan.”
Didn’t have time to join the webinar or want to share it with a colleague? Here’s the recorded session.Follow JCK on Instagram: @jckmagazine
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