As retailers, our biggest challenge will be how to effectively reach the consumer with our advertising message. Communicating with the public as we have for years with the standard media (commercial radio and television) will diminish in effectiveness as satellite radio and digital recording devices increase in use and popularity.
We are great believers in top-of-mind advertising. Billboards are one option for this, but limited space and increased demand could make the cost too high for the limited message delivered. Direct mail is a possibility, but frequency and top-of-mind penetration is problematic. These methods may be used, but others to generate traffic will need to be created. It will take imagination and a considerable amount of creativity to establish effective clienteling and outreach programs. It will take some trial and error to find what works and what doesn’t. It’s time to begin developing and experimenting with these methods.
Many jewelers believe the Internet is the biggest problem. However, selling jewelry is best done by painting pictures, not posting numbers. In the last year, while many felt they were losing business to the Internet, the major retail jewelry companies showed the largest growth in diamond sales. They ran some very effective advertising programs (particularly on TV), and have proven that consumers are motivated to purchase jewelry because of romance and beauty.
The difficulty in the future will be how to communicate that romance and beauty message effectively to the consumer without relying so heavily on radio and TV. Jewelers who solve that riddle will be successful. Those that don’t will find difficult times ahead. I feel we have time to develop effective programs and that a large number of retail jewelers will survive and thrive in the coming years.