REVEALED: Challenges retailers and suppliers face in the bridal jewellery market

Despite bridal returning to a position of being the bread and butter product category for many jewellery retailers, it does not come without its challenges.

In fact, there are challenges both retailers and suppliers are having to overcome to make sure this sector in the UK jewellery industry shines.

For some the ever-growing bespoke element actually presents a challenge, rather than an opportunity. When the competition is high, it’s no longer enough to just offer an engraving that will take 10 days when the jeweller down the road can do it while the consumer waits and add a heartbeat and finger print too.

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Other retailers are struggling to compete against jewellers which are able to offer a home service. In a time where customer experience is key, many have turned to taking the experience to the consumer as a way to drive sales even when footfall is low. Over the next 12 months, home services is an area which is expected to gain momentum, leaving jewellers without the team or infrastructure to join in wondering how they can offer something more tempting.

For jewellers which are either predominantly bricks and mortar, or have no omni-channel presence at all, the battle to compete online continues to be a trial too.

Hamilton & Inches chief executive shares: “The biggest challenge facing the jewellery business moving forward is the direct competition from purely online businesses. There are financial benefits to shopping for diamond jewellery online, however, while we embrace digital, we see it as an extension of the retail experience. Even if our customers order online, we try to add a personal touch so they feel at ease if they would like to call next time, or even better come into the showroom.”

For predominantly online e-tailers the struggle is remaining competitive when the price of gold and diamonds is constantly increasing.

For 77 Diamonds, an online retailer which has witnessed higher levels of customers visiting the London showroom before making a purchase online, they will be monitoring this closely.

All across the board tight purses due to consumer uncertainty during unstable economical and political times will be on the minds of retail directors over the next 12 months. From a supplier point of view some are finding retailers just as nervous as consumers.

Designer, Andrew Geoghegan, says: “It has felt that many retailers are unsure where the high street is heading and are naturally nervous — this is compounded by low footfall and low spending by the consumer.”

“With the uncertainty surrounding Brexit it has been important to ensure that we are offering our retailers (and therefore the end consumers) the best possible products at affordable prices,” adds Serrell-Cooke from Domino Jewellery. “With consumer confidence at an all-time low, it has been vital that we provide consumers with all the options they are looking for in terms of personalisation but at an affordable price.”

With the rise of prices, and the weak pound, jewellery suppliers are working hard to keep prices affordable for retailers and the end consumers, with many sharing their desire to keep rising costs down without compromising on quality.

As for brands suppling retailers with bridal products, they understand the importance of building consumer trust.

“There is a shift in the retail market, more and more consumers look for brands they can trust,” shares Forevermark marketing assistant, Ben Umbers. “It’s about being at the forefront of this and I believe Forevermark is doing this in how it addresses each and every one of its three pillars by being the most beautiful, rare and responsibly sourced, and any challenges faced need to be looked at as a source of improvement.”

Looking ahead, retailers operating in the bridal sector need to think beyond products, as it is experience and customer service which will truly sparkle and encourage brides to say ‘I do’ to one store over another.

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5 Comments

  1. Ryan Edkins said:

    A great article detailing the current feeling in the jewellery industry, there is a lot of uncertainty at the moment with retailers and many of them are left wondering how it has changed so quickly. A digital first strategy is required to ensure you thrive in the years to come.

  2. Edward Kingston said:

    The main problem with digital only businesses is they can’t offer any after sales solutions to customers but retailers at the same time are seen as the expensive option.Brands need to decide who they are going to support as most online retailers don’t keep any stock and cheapen many brands image by discounting .

  3. Stephen Irvine said:

    Interesting article and a topic that is being discussed quite often at the moment. I agree with Chantelle’s comment from Domino, quality products and affordable prices are key but differentiation is also important. Savvy customers can check out the same product on every website with a click of a button which evens the playing field for those spending money on advertising against those that are not. How does a retailer beat a market that is truly saturated but offer something that others don’t.

    In my experience Retailers are good at what they do and e-tailers are good at what they do and so many are trying to do both when in effect they are completely different businesses and require a different approach.

  4. Elle Hill said:

    This article is about “revealing challenges”… something once-secret is now being shared. And the truth of the matter is there are many retailer, a large swath of the independent retailers that comprise roughly half of the jewelry sales in the US, for whom this article will be revelatory. However, working with some of the largest players in our industry down to SMEs, it is shocking how many businesses are not sticking their heads above the parapet and looking at the consumer and how he and she shops TODAY. This nugget of truth, for example, “For jewellers which are either predominantly bricks and mortar, or have no omni-channel presence at all, the battle to compete online continues to be a trial too.” Of course they are struggling. But the real story is that this was not a hidden secret. Consumer behavior has been evolving rapidly since the dawn of ecommerce and if you’re just realizing you need to be where you clients are, which includes online, at home, on mobile, in stores, then you haven’t been paying attention. Identify your resources verses the best practices you should have in place to ensure customers can consume your product and information about it in the way THEY want to, create a plan and execute it. Take step one and make the journey to change begin now.

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