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Jewelry Retailing – A class of its own

12 Apr 2021

There are several types of retail establishments such as Department stores, Supermarkets, Hypermarkets, Convenience stores, and Specialty stores offering customers differential retail experiences. But with the growth of online business and technology trends, the brick-and-mortar retail space will require to become future-ready to foresee issues and build meaningful solutions to complement the exponential growth of an online business.

In the recent few decades, the retail jewelry business landscape has undergone rapid changes. Selling precious jewelry needs detailed insights, in-depth knowledge, leveraging trends, CRM, and ultimately empowering your human resources behind the counter to make a successful sale. According to a McKinsey survey, two-thirds of luxury shoppers today engage in online research before an in-store purchase, and one-third check social media for information and advice. It means close to 66% of the walk-in jewelry buyers are well-aware of what they want to purchase – all you need is expertise to convert the potential buyers to customers at your jewelry showroom.

While some jewelers have succeeded, many have failed. They have not been able to tackle the changing customer profiles, data analytics, branding and advertising, distribution, business environment, competitive pricing, and increasing costs of labor, metal, gems.

Some of the common problems faced by jewelry retailers include:

  • Limited outreach.
  • Low conversion rates and not able to get new customers.
  • Mismatch of product inventory vis-à-vis what customer wants to buy.
  • More than 30% of the inventory and dead stock affecting cash flow.
  • High turnover of the sales staff.
  • Competition from growing large brands
  • High-pressure and stress on the workforce handling goods worth millions.
  • Finding knowledgeable, responsible, and trustworthy people.
  • Absence of the right product pricing strategies

The changing landscape in jewelry sales has necessitated the gems and jewelry industry to relook at retailing jewelry. Jewelry retail management includes - Location & exterior/interior decor, Stock and range, Personnel Training & education, After-sales service, Advertising, Promotion & PR, and Security.

India is the 5th largest global destination in retail space. Jewelry retailers in metropolitan cities, tier-II and tier-III cities understand jewelry sales is a niche service. It requires customer management and in-depth product knowledge. Today most jewelry retailers are paying great attention to training recruits in jewelry retail management. Top jewelry education institutes even offer 12-days professional training courses in retail management to steer India’s jewelry business into the most profitable business. Jewelry brands and stand-alone showrooms will expand their physical presence and online presence. Are we geared for it?

Why is retailing gems and jewelry different from retailing other products?

Every front liner/salesperson who is in direct contact with customers over the counter/on the phone must be aware of the art of selling jewelry. Jewelry retail management requires to be more specific due to the inherent high value of the product.

Here are the Navratnas of jewelry retail management: -

1. Product knowledge
From understanding the 4 C’s to the purity of metals, a jewelry salesperson must know it all. Also, recognizing synthetics and imitations from natural stones, plating on metal, and evaluating stones is necessary. Additional knowledge on how to identify gemstones using gemological tools is integral to the job.
There is also a need to know the top 4 gems – diamonds, rubies, emeralds, and sapphires. That involves visual observation for luster, transparency, optical phenomena, color hues, and saturation. It deems an overall deep understanding of the products one is going to retail in.

2 The process
Jewelry retail management students train in the collection planning organized processes. They are introduced to the transformation from rock to ring. They understand design styles, tools like CAD, machine manufacturing process, or handmade jewelry techniques. Process know-how helps when a customer wants alterations to a product. It is even good to have a meaningful conversation with a customer.

3. Understanding the business responsibility
A new management trainee should be aware of the overall vision and values of the company. To sell jewelry, the person should be confident that he/she is selling gold and diamonds sourced legitimately in line with the industry ethics. Be aware of terms like blood diamonds and the Kimberley Process Certification Scheme.

4. Merchandising
Merchandising is an integral part of the retail shopping experience. In jewelry retail management, one learns how to build store traffic, create a better buyer experience, window displays, and more.

5. What is the type of customer?
There are four types of jewelry buyers – Classic Recipients, Asserters, Romantics, and Fashion focused. Once the retailer can identify the buyer type that visits his location, every sales effort becomes more focused - from product design to sales and marketing.

6. Jewelry is emotional buying
You are just not selling the best diamond engagement ring or wedding band, but you are often selling dreams. A jewelry retailer must keep in mind jewelry is not a necessity, maybe a one-time buy symbolic of romance, self-fulfillment, or status symbol. Thereby, one has to learn how to deal with customers, what to expect from them, how to help them, and ultimately influence the sale.

7. Building Confidence
Jewelry business only works on trust and confidence. Every jewelry retailer interacting with consumers, wholesalers, or traders, must build trust through transparency. It is also crucial to maintain the confidentiality of every jewelry transaction.
While you build trust with your words and actions, grooming too plays an important role. If you are well-groomed and confident, your aura will shine. A well-lit showroom and smartly dressed staff create an impression and are steps to a successful sale.

8. Store management
From stock-taking to sales and displays to personnel management, jewelry store management has many facets. Due to the high-value products and the upper echelon consumers, the retail brick-and-mortar space must be perfect in all ways to deliver results. Contributing to a database is also what a salesperson must do. While making a sale, if you can gather birthday or Anniversary dates, they can be passed on to the marketing team.

9. Advertising, Marketing, and PR
Attract consumers with informative and powerful advertising. Advertising pulls the customer to the product, and sales push the product towards the customer. All campaigns should have a single and distinctive focus, and every person in the store must be well-versed with it. Writing a successful press release, organizing events, maintaining media relations may also form an extension of what’s taught in jewelry retail management.

Jewelry retailing is technology-driven, customer-friendly, and future-ready.

Rukshana is a freelance content and communication strategist based out of Mumbai, India. She mingles her expertise in PR with comprehensive domain knowledge and creative writing skills to assist and propagate business, worldwide. Being a quick learner, she utilizes her diversified digital expertise to provide copywriting and content writing services to create highly profitable brands, products, and services.