Consumer behavior changes have ‘dramatic’ effect on jewellery industry, says Hayley Quinn

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Having launched in 2012 under the Swarovski Group umbrella, jewellery brand lolaandgrace recently welcomed Hayley Quinn as its managing director, which Quinn will undertake alongside her role as MD for Swarovski UK and Ireland. 

Speaking to Professional Jeweller, Quinn discusses the strategic approach involved in marketing towards a digitally savvy consumer, and the role experience has played in getting the brand just right.

 “I’ve been in retail more than 20 years,” says Quinn, “and I think the jewellery industry used to have itself a very well established niche, where quality, experience and expertise really stood for something. That in itself was good enough. However in the last five years, the consumer behaviour has almost pushed that to one side, saying ‘no, we want you to behave in the same way all of the big retailers behave’. I think for the jewellery industry and the people in it, that has been a really enormous change to cope with.”

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 Quinn has witnessed many striking developments during her career so far, the most notable being the explosion of jewellery brands. “From an independent retail perspective, there’s been a real move away from what I would refer to as ‘more exclusive, traditional types of retailing,’ and the welcoming or acceptance of fashion brands. Especially brands who are now an absolute part of the jewellery market. I think that’s the first big change.”

It’s not just the brand boom that has sculpted the industry, as Quin explains. “The second notable change is actually the impact of online retailing coupled with market conditions, and the subsequent impact that has had on all retailers, in particular, jewellery retailers. For example, ten years ago, you had a store and you bought beautiful products, that would pretty much guarantee a success. But now you have to be able to offer a complete 360 degree multi-channel consumer experience, and therefore you need the systems, the experience, and the infrastructure to be able to offer that.

“I think jewellery retailers have undergone an enormous change in the last five or ten years. Both from the actual products they’re selling and how that’s changed, and the change in the consumer behavior. It has been quite dramatic and I think it’s more marked in the jewellery industry.”

Given the constant changes, what advice does Quinn have to stay ahead of the game, or just keep up? “Change happens. I’ve been around long enough to know that the one thing constant is change. The surprising thing is the speed of that change. Then the second part of that is the explosion of the jewellery brands and the speed at which they’ve grown, but it’s also the speed at which the consumer adopts new trends.

“Something like fashion watches, which three years ago there wasn’t really a market for, is now enormous. Rose gold is now absolutely everywhere, and we’ve just this year started to see things like wearable tech; activity tracking jewellery and mobile phone synching watches. All that new technology didn’t exist a couple of years ago. There’s a lot of change, but the bit that almost nobody’s keeping up with is the speed at which it’s changing. It’s not going to slow down. That’s the only thing I can predict. The only thing I’m sure of is that the pace is not about to change.”

Read the full feature in the June edition of Professional Jeweller magazine. 

 

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