Running a jewellery business is no mean feat, not least because the advent of e-commerce means enticing customers into store is becoming an increasingly difficult challenge. Yet despite the popularity of online shopping, when it comes to the luxury jewellery sector a physical presence is still crucial, and valued.
According to the Office for National Statistics, in 2018 we experienced record proportions of online spending in the UK, increasing to 18.2% in August. However despite our big online presence, consumers still spent most of their money in stores, and the majority of online spending was done within retailers that don’t have any physical shops. This means jewellery retailers with beautiful stores still have every chance of success.
Here are some trusted and innovative ways which will help you increase footfall and revenue. I am sure you are already doing some of them but the others are definitely worth a try.
Team brainstorm for creative ideas
Nobody knows your jewellery brand better than your team of salespeople, craftsmen and directors. So before embarking on a big and expensive marketing overhaul, get your existing team together to see what ideas you can come up with as a collective to bring customers in. You might be surprised at the nuggets of gold that you can come up with together, when you start to focus and think outside the box.
To guide your brainstorm, plan to discuss the following things: What are your competitors doing that you could learn from? When was the last time you updated your window display? What have you tried previously to bring people into your store, and how effective was it? What are your USP’s? How much can you afford to spend on activities that will bring people into your store? What events, promotions or activations could you run in store? What promotions or activations could you run online, either on your website or on social media?
Existing customer feedback
Another great resource to tap is your existing customer base, as whatever you’re currently doing, it must have worked on them. Set up an online survey and send it out to customers on your mailing list, or ask visitors a few quick questions when they’re in store. Find out what it is they most enjoyed about their shopping experience, where they heard about you, whether they’d come back and what they think you can improve upon when it comes to your physical store. Collate all of your feedback and think about ways you can improve where suggested.
Promote your story
The most successful brands are the ones that have strong values and a great story, and a jewellery business is no different. Spend some time thinking about your story, why it’s interesting, and why other people might want to buy into it. Are you a family run business going back generations? Do you specialise in a particular area, like rare stones or recycled metals? Do you have sustainability at your core? How did your business come into being? Think about all of these questions and ensure your story is front and centre of everything you do, from your website to your social media to your in-store patter with customers. The more your story resonates with people, the more likely they are to want to meet you and buy into your brand.
Create a seasonal events and promotions calendar
Never underestimate the power of a seasonal promotion. Even the most high end jewellery businesses can reap the benefits of a seasonal discount, even if it’s offered exclusively to existing customers within some kind of ‘Members’ or ‘Loyalty’ format so as not to ‘cheapen’ your overall offering.
To bring people into store, introduce offers that are only valid in store on particular collections or pieces. If you want to drive up sales on weekdays or weekends specifically, only make offers available on the days you want to be busier. If customers are keen and the deal is good, they will make the effort.
If running a seasonal promotion, put yourself out there and make it worth your while. Don’t offer half-hearted discounts. You’re better off running one really effective and eye-catching promotion a year that people will flock for, than lots of small promotions that aren’t worth very much at all.
Encourage customers to try before they buy
The jewellery sector is inevitably one whereby, more often than not, customers will be spending a substantial sum of money on a piece or pieces. This means there’s a great opportunity to get customers into your store to see a piece, touch it and try it on. When talking to potential customers online, and responding to enquiries, play on the sentimentality of jewellery purchases and the emotion that often goes hand in hand with gifting or buying a piece of jewellery for a special occasion.
Impress upon your customer the way in which browsing, trying on or designing a bespoke piece is as important a part of the process as actually buying it, gifting it or wearing it. Investing time as well as money in a jewellery purchase will only increase its sentimental value. It will mean even more to its intended recipient.
You can also encourage potential customers to visit your store so you can ascertain exactly what it is they want, and so that they can learn more about your pieces, where they come from and how they’re made.
Build a relationship with customers so they will return
If you’re experiencing a period of low footfall, it might be tempting to launch on customers as soon as they come in and jump into your sales pitch. But you don’t want to put people off coming in for a quick browse, even if they’re not intending to spend any money. A browse today could turn into a purchase further down the line, so ensure you’re giving customers the space to simply have a look, without feeling pressured to buy anything.
Another important thing to think about is your store’s security presence. It’s essential your store is protected, but you don’t want customers to feel intimidated, so think about where your security (if you have them) are stationed, and how they interact with customers.
Diversify your store with free classes or creative workshops
There’s no better way to get people through the door than diversifying your offering. Entice new customers and boost footfall with things like jewellery making workshops, talks from experts to demystify topics such as ethical diamond sourcing, ‘open house’ workshop tours, and creative sessions where guests can try their hand at designing their own bespoke piece (with no pressure to buy).
Hosting these kinds of sessions for free (or at an affordable price) after hours is a great way to get customers into your store and engage them with your brand. You can even start these sessions with a casual drinks reception on the shop floor, so people are encouraged to browse the pieces on display. Ensure you capture email addresses at any events like this, so you can add attendees to your mailing list and send them offers, updates and news of new collections. Always ask for feedback so you can improve for next time.
Get to know your neighbours, and collaborate
Whether you’re based in a thriving and historic jewellery district like Hatton Garden, or a quieter high street, market, town or village, you will most likely belong to a community of retailers and businesses in that area. Some of these might be direct competitors, but ultimately when it comes to pooling your resources for events, deals and pop-ups, it could be more successful if you work as a collective.
If you want to host an open evening with drinks and food, are there any local businesses who could provide these? If they promote their presence to their customers and social media followers too, you just doubled your reach.
If you’re thinking about doing something for charity, like an auction or tombola, do any other businesses in your community have pieces they could offer up as prizes?
Network, speak to people, and make the most of the other great businesses on your doorstep.
Work with your BID and local stakeholders to make the most of local events
Most areas within cities across the UK will have a local Business Improvement District, who organise events and activations to make the area a better place to be. If you have a physical shop you will be paying into a levy that your BID will then spend in your area. So make the most of the activations they (and you!) are paying for.
Ensure you’re signed up to the relevant mailing lists for news and updates so you can get involved where you can, and follow your area’s social media accounts. Utilise the local events and pop-ups they’re organising to get your brand out there and entice people into store. They’re a great resource.
Harness the power of digital and social media
Last but not least, don’t forget to harness the power of social media and your website. Social media is a great route into the lives and feeds of potential customers, so make the most of the channels at your disposal. Instagram is particularly useful for a jewellery business as it’s so visual, so you can share beautiful photos of pieces being made and worn, or new collections.
You can also use your social channels to promote in-store promotions and events, run competitions, and share lovely photos of your shop to encourage people to come along. ‘Boost’ posts with a little bit of cash to reach new audiences that don’t already like or follow your pages. For more advice on this, there are lots of great courses and workshops you can do online or in person to get social media savvy.
You should also make the most of free sites like Facebook and Eventbrite if you’re running any special events in your store to bring people in. Listing your event online on these sites will make it easily discoverable to more people.
If you have a website, ensure it’s up to date and matches the look and feel of your physical store. They’re both representing the same brand so you want them to feel in harmony. Ensure your website has all the latest information, contact details, and lovely photos of your shop to encourage customers to pop in.
The golden rule is… whatever you do, do something.
Gary Williams is the Chairman of the Hatton Garden BID, working to regenerate London’s historic jewellery district for the benefit of local businesses. He is also the Director at Mastermelt: an international group who reclaim and recycle precious metals from around the globe.