Like so many small jewelry firms around the world, British fine jewelry brand Robinson Pelham has grappled with prolonged lockdowns in 2020. The U.K.’s month-long closure of stores, restaurants, and bars that began in November expires tomorrow, but restrictions for most businesses will remain in place.
Since closing its shop last month, Robinson Pelham has set up a back-office space strictly for virtual appointments, and it’s fallen into a good groove when it comes to interfacing with and servicing clients online. So much so, in fact, that creative director Vanessa Chilton thinks her clients may continue to shop via virtual appointment long after we’ve all been vaccinated.
“Customers feel comfortable in their own home, and coming to a jeweler at the best of times can be intimidating,” she says. “This means that the customer is at the virtual appointment on their own terms [and has] no nerves about locked shop doors or dropping something.”
We asked Chilton to give us her top tips for hosting fruitful and fun virtual appointments.
Take Advantage of Styling
“It’s always funny how often customers come for necklace fittings wearing roll-necks,” Chilton says. During virtual appointments, “they have their entire wardrobe to hand at home.” Use that reality to your advantage by suggesting chic fashion-jewelry pairings.
Have a Person On Hand for Try-Ons
“We have an assistant on hand to try looks on so that the client sees scale,” Chilton says. She also discusses the weight of a piece by asking clients to bring out a kitchen scale if they have one: “The client can find something of a corresponding weight and feel what that’s like to hold.”
Share Your Screen
“A useful tool during meetings is to be able to share the screen with the client so that they can see the piece on a larger scale [and really see] the detail and color.” Chilton also uses screen-sharing to show related and complementary items on the brand’s website, and to pull up images of previous commissions and archival designs.
Button Up the Appointment With Images
Chilton arranges delivery of pieces with the customers, then caps off the exchange by emailing images and videos of collections they’re interested in—which gives clients the time and tools to mull over current and future purchases.
Top: A shop assistant at Robinson Pelham on a video call with a client (photo courtesy of Robinson Pelham)
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