Studio jewelers and other small jewelry businesses who rely on online sales, including those that take place via Instagram, are well accustomed to interacting with customers via digital platforms because their customer base hails from all over the country, even the globe.
How else might a jewelry designer in Los Angeles service a customer abroad when the DM or contact form inquiry is received?
And to clinch sales of bigger-ticket items such as engagement rings or bespoke pieces, these jewelry pros also tend to use a variety of video- and teleconferencing apps like Zoom, Skype, and Google Hangouts (or even good old FaceTime in a pinch).
And they’re never not available on email on text.
While transacting in this way may be out of your comfort zone, especially when it comes to engagement ring sales, keep in mind that according to The Knot’s 2019 Jewelry & Engagement Study (recapped for your convenience in JCK right here), 22% of survey respondents met on dating apps—namely, Tinder (30%), OkCupid (14%), and Bumble (13%).
Which is to say that if finding love via a dating app is A-OK with today’s couples, then purchasing an engagement ring via Skype is certainly no great shakes.
So now, the pandemic weirdness may be just the motivation you and your staff need to get comfortable with the technology, and the nuances of conducting sales in this manner, so that you can promote—loudly, if you can—virtual consultations as an option to your customers as soon as they hit your website, social media channels, even the store’s after-hours answering message while everyone’s OOO.
Working remotely is nothing new to New York–based, by-appointment jeweler Lauren Addison, who specializes in bespoke wedding jewelry and conducts a good deal of her business via virtual appointments.
“Initially, this was intended for clients who live out of state or have restrictive work hours, but more recently, it has been beneficial in serving our local community, which is currently self-isolating due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” says Addison.
And since she was fluent in the art of virtual engagement ring consultations long before she was forced to temporarily halt in-person meetings with clients in her Diamond District studio, we asked her to walk us through the process.
It starts with a 15-minute phone call to discuss the client’s budget and review their must-haves and priorities as far as the Four Cs are concerned. Based on this info, Addison curates a selection of three to five diamonds for consideration.
From there, a 60-minute video conference is scheduled via the client’s platform of choice to review the different stones.
During the consult, Addison presents each diamond in detail, using a mix of images, GIA certificates, and high-res videos to give an accurate and in-depth profile of each stone.
Once the client decides on the the stone, the discussion moves to style and setting. A variety of communication tools are employed to get through that part. Ultimately, a 3-D rendering of the design is created for approval.
A master bench jeweler then works on bringing the design to life, typically taking about three to four weeks. With New York currently on lockdown, Addison is delivering completed domestic orders overnight, insured, and free of charge.
The end result is something like this:
“In these strange and unprecedented times, life’s special moments will continue to happen, and our virtual services bring our showroom to your home with the same level of service and face-to-face interaction,” says Addison.
Top: Is conducting a virtual engagement ring consultation as simple as mastering the video conferencing platform of your choice and talking a customer through their options, just as you might over the counter in person? Pretty much (image via: pixabay.com).
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