The Jewelry District, Episode 22: The Industry Copes With COVID-19

In This Episode
In this edition of The Jewelry District, JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky and news director Rob Bates discuss this summer’s retail landscape as some states ease their COVID-19 restrictions, digital innovations in the jewelry industry, and some retailers’ resistance to building an online presence.

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Show Notes
00:50 Rob discusses statistics on the retail landscape.
05:47 With an increase of COVID cases in some states, Rob wonders how long places can stay open.
08:38 Victoria discusses some recent digital innovations in the watch industry.
13:33 Rob and Victoria hope businesses maintain online aspects post–COVID-19
17:05 Rob and Victoria wrap up by discussing some business’s resistance to moving online.

Episode Credits
Hosts: Rob Bates and Victoria Gomelsky
Editor: Olivia Briley
Producer and engineer: Katey Clifford and Kathy Passero

Show Recap

Retail Sales on the Rise
Rob talks about retail sales going up—the biggest one-month rebound in history. Forty million people lost their jobs—but personal income is up because of things like the stimulus check, unemployment, etc. What will happen when government-finance purchasing power ends? Wealthy consumer spending has gone down. More than 20% of luxury jewelry revenue comes from travel.

Opening Up America
Rob talks about how differently openings across America are happening. With an increase in COVID-19 cases, how long will reopenings last? Victoria emphasizes the importance of having an online presence and working e-commerce. Rob and Victoria discuss the importance of customers wearing masks.

Digital Innovation
Victoria talks about growing digital innovations. While some watch sites have launched e-commerce lately, there has been resistance to do so in the luxury market. Buyers still want to hold onto that touch-and-feel experience that you simply cannot get online. Victoria also mentions one of the recent innovations in the watch world—an augmented reality filter allowing for holographic viewing of a watch on your wrist. Victoria tells a story about a Zoom happy hour with clients.

A New Normal
Victoria hopes to maintain some of these online aspects once we all go back to normal. Nonetheless, people still love hearing from another person when they’re making large purchases, so a combination of an online and in-person presence works best.

Resistance to Change
There is still resistance from businesses with regard to moving online. Victoria and Rob talk about Patek Philippe selling online for the first time ever—which they soon stopped in April, just a month after starting. While wrapping up, Rob expresses that he is hopeful for the future—as independent retailers are the backbone of communities across America and JCK.

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