In the past weeks Professional Jeweller has heard from a selection of retailers about their plans for reopening stores on or after the 12 April date in England and Wales (or 26 April in Scotland).
Now we ask the best suppliers for their plans, what they are offering to retailers ahead of the date, and whether they have any advice for the big reopening.
In this edition Mark Riddle, director, Sif Jakobs Jewellery UK & Ireland, and Emma Williamson, UK sales and account manager, Lucy Q Designs, discuss the much-anticipated date.
PJ: Any forecasts for how the industry will fare in the weeks immediately following the reopening of non-essential retail?
Emma Williamson, UK sales and account manager, Lucy Q Designs: In the first few weeks after reopening, I believe retailers will be inundated with customers wanting to get out shopping and browsing.
The excitement for non-essential retail opening again is definitely in the air among end consumer!
Mark Riddle, director, Sif Jakobs Jewellery UK & Ireland: I am expecting an immense sense of relief and cautious optimism to sweep the nation when UK non-essential retailers in England, finally reopen their doors in April.
On-line shopping is fine to a point, and it is certainly here to stay and grow, but for many people physical shopping is both a leisure and a social activity.
The “feel-good” factor is likely to result in high early footfall as shoppers look to pick themselves up and regain a sense of normality in everyday life.
Retail jewellers are surely set to benefit from the release of pent-up spending power and an overwhelming desire for shoppers to express a new sense of freedom, energised by warmer weather and early signs of economic revival.
Spring and summer fashion will be driven by bold shapes and vibrant colours and I anticipate shoppers to be looking for new jewellery designs that make a real statement of style, fun and aspiration.
How best can retailers prepare for the upcoming reopening?
EW: Ensuring they have best sellers in stock, have revamped and potentially moved around their displays to provide a fresh look to customers.
Additionally using their social media platforms to build excitement and buzz, counting down days and promoting stock lines. Furthermore, bringing in new lines from brands/suppliers to create interest surrounding reopening and launching stores.
MR: Attractive window and in store displays will be crucial in busy shopping malls and High Streets, where newly liberated shoppers will need to be stopped in their tracks!
Colourful and imaginative visual merchandising, including new and on-trend jewellery designs, will ensure shoppers see the relevance and unique role of the independent retailer.
Having a good stock of best-selling lines and making an investment in new collections that have been promoted in lifestyle magazines and in social media channels during the lockdown will ensure displays look fresh, relevant and enticing.
Retailers would be well advised to invest in newness and creating winning displays now, in readiness for the first few days of reopening.
Staffing levels should be set to make sure every shopper experience is perfect and rewarding.
Running an effective social media campaign in the days leading up to re-opening will raise retailer awareness, attracting both existing and new shoppers. Brands such as Sif Jakobs Jewellery offer support for stockist-led social media campaigns.
Will you be offering retailers any special packages or other support for the (as yet unannounced) date?
EW: The Lucy Quartermaine brand is preparing a welcome back offer or gift for our retail partners, this is yet to be confirmed but we are excited to be able to provide something for them to support reopening stores.
MR: The Sif Jakobs Jewellery stunning new Spring Collection is available to order now. Full details are available on request to email@example.com.
We will be encouraging our stockists to make a centre window feature display, with free staff-wear jewellery of their own choice for the best three displays submitted before 30 April.
Any order placed from now until 30 April for £500/€550 or more will receive priority despatch, with import duty, customs clearance charges and VAT pre-paid by Sif Jakobs Jewellery with payment end of month following date on invoice.
Orders for £1,000/€1,100 placed up to 30 June 2021 will also qualify for free carriage.
Interested in how Boodles and Watches of Switzerland will be tackling the reopening? Read more below: