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Articles from FASHION JEWELLERY (285 Articles), EDUCATION / TRAINING (185 Articles), MARKETING (104 Articles)

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Jewellers need to be prepared this Christmas

Christmas is the busiest time for jewellery retailers and in today's current retail climate jewellers need to be more proactive to increase sales. 

Now that the Sydney jewellery fair has concluded, all eyes are on Christmas. Retailers are hoping for a joyous season but the unpredictability of the economy, the flurry of worldwide disasters and conservative consumer spending means jewellers will need to be more proactive this year. Therefore, the question needs to be asked: Are you really ready for this Christmas?

Barry Urquhart, managing director of Marketing Focus likens the current economy to a faltering motor vehicle. “Australia is a six-cylinder car, yet only firing on two. Whilst we have good capital expenditure amongst the prosperous states and relatively good employment levels, consumers don’t have the confidence to spend yet.”

So how can retailers combat these insecurities and encourage more sales? More often than not, “retailers are convinced that the only way to reach consumers is through decreased prices and constant sales,” Urquhart says. An ideology that has not only caused price wars but has led to irreparable damage to jewellers’ credibility and cheapened the overall industry in consumers’ minds.

Rather than turn to heavy discounting and sales, Urquhart believes retailers need to change their mindsets and explore other key factors. “Are stores too big? Is rent too high? The whole cost structure of Australian retail business models needs to be reviewed,” Urquhart adds.

Effective marketing
Marketing for Christmas revolves around recurring concepts of new hope, fresh beginnings or positive change. With the impact of political uncertainty, natural and economic disasters, the need for fresh marketing to resonate with the consumer is crucial.

Facebook, Twitter and company websites are the current rave and will continue to be well into the future. Social media and online communication determines what is new, fashionable and creates an element of finality for the consumer.

Tony Argyle, founder of Jewellery Marketing Solutions further endorses the importance of technology in the retail industry. Viewed as both a trend and threat, Argyle recognises the growth of online sales.

“Technology is far better and customers are now more trusting of the online environment. Retail jewellers have to be thinking about online strategies more than ever because customers are spending large sums of money on items they haven’t seen from businesses they don’t know,” Argyle says.

According to Argyle, online shopping in Australia is worth over 12 billion dollars per annum and this figure is growing at 13 per cent annually. As technology continues to integrate itself into daily life, businesses must develop online strategies. “Retailers don’t have to build a shopping cart straight away, but at least have a presence on the internet via social media and begin engaging customers online,” Argyle adds.

Manage inventory
Many retailers remain prudent regarding stock levels, negating the opportunity to utilise current trends. Zak Inan, director of Crown Jewellers is one jeweller that is keeping purchasing levels to a minimum. “I won’t be looking to stock up too much. We know Christmas is always a good time of year but currently we may have holes in certain collections,” Inan says.
 
With that said however, Bella Kennedy, director of Iconic Jewellery has built sound relationships with many jewellers and as a supplier remains confident about Christmas. “This year retailers need to establish a connection with consumers, giving them something seemingly priceless.”

In fact, Kennedy believes branded products are the best option for retailers given consumer spending habits. “Retailers are reluctant to purchase, however we are carefully choosing our branded products, giving retailers the opportunity to sell product that gives consumers an element of connection,” Kennedy adds.

Keep track of trends
Despite the importance of branding for jewellery retailers, it is important to pay attention to current trends in the industry. With the difficult retail climate the need to fill shelves with style is integral. David Brown, co-founder of Retail Edge Consultants notes the downturn in the bead market has impacted store traffic and the increased prices for gold forces retailers to seek alternate metals.

“Significant jewellery is where the potential lies. It could be damaging to direct retail marketing to use cheaper fashion substitutes. People are still getting engaged and celebrating birthdays, so retailers need to create sales, not hope the marketing will produce streams of customers,” Brown says.

Brown believes the popularity of beads in jewellery has come back to haunt retailers. “Retailers are suffering from ignoring their core business during the bead pandemic and now struggle to make larger ticket sales,” Brown adds.

Stock up
Joshua Zarb from the Leading Edge buying group is urging his members to remain positive for Christmas and emphasises the importance of sales and inventory. “Consumers are in savings mode, but it is important to have your stocks on hand. Businesses should aim for growth this Christmas so don’t starve your stores of core products,” Zarb suggests.

During difficult periods, Zarb advises that “everyone must be prepared. Suppliers must work with buyers, buyers must work with stockists, gear them up to have reserves, or so they can order more later,” Zarb adds.

Brisbane-based Acacia Jewellers is embracing the need for new Christmas marketing campaigns. It has implemented new marketing campaigns, conducted market research and continues to echo a positive vibe in the face of adversity.

“I haven’t been paid insurance after the floods, but I still work hard to market the store, I visit other jewellery retailers and research trends. Gold products are our top-sellers this season, so it’s important to keep your store full, you can’t have an empty store for Christmas,” Acacia’s director, Ash Parikh says.

Parikh’s store was severely hit by the recent floods that swept through the city. But despite this, he remains confident for Christmas, whilst maintaining a realistic view of retail conditions. “We all know consumer spending is low, but we have to make an effort to enhance sales. I have been placing a lot of emphasis on customer service, building relationships and creating repeat business. I maintain a well-lit store and welcome all my customers,” Parikh says.

Jewellery retailers may be facing their toughest challenge yet, but with the right formula, successful Christmas trading is achievable.

Duraflex Group Australia
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