With everything else on a jeweller’s to-do list in the lead-up to Christmas, taking time to choose the right packaging for your product can fall by the wayside until it is too late, resulting in a rushed decision and a suboptimal choice.
This, believes Hatton and Spencer’s Anne Chambers, can be a fatal mistake for a jewellery business.
“First impressions do count,” the managing partner emphasises. “Despite the well-known saying, people almost always judge a book by its cover.” For this reason alone, packaging can make or break a luxury retailer.
“It really does pay to invest time and resources into making sure your packaging and displays add maximum value to your product,” she adds. “Get it right and you won’t just put a smile on your customers’ faces, you’ll make them feel special and make your product even more memorable.”
Perhaps surprisingly to some, men are willing to spend more on gift wrapping when it comes to jewellery – anywhere between £3 and £10 according to Chambers.
She reveals: “Men are far more likely to request professional gift wrapping when purchasing a gift for their partner. Interestingly, women are more likely to purchase gift-wrapped goods for their mum than their other halves – so tailoring the type of wrapping is important.” Gift notes, she says, can be a low-cost addition that can bump up revenue.
The quality of packaging used can have a drastic effect on customer perception of the product. Research from Hatton and Spencer’s partner company, Ch. Dahlinger, showed that customers valued a €16 ring at €75 when displayed in a budget plastic box, and at €400 when in a luxury box. “Talk about adding value,” exclaims Chambers.
High-quality packaging in luxury industries is even known to have a long-term effect on consumer behaviour.
“Introducing a gift-wrapping service can lead to an increase in repeat orders, more word-of-mouth recommendations and is associated with investment in customer service,” Chambers says.
Almost unbelievably, she claims, gift-wrapped goods are actually perceived to be better value for money too.
However, it is not as simple for retailers as just picking the most expensive-looking packaging out there.
Of course, the design should match a jeweller’s products and overall aesthetic to some degree. However, one important aspect that consumers are increasingly concerned with is sustainability – not just of a product but of its packaging too.
In fact, packing is often seen as more of a culprit when it comes to climate change and clogging up our oceans because it is often disposable by comparison to a long-term investment with resale value such as a piece of jewellery.
Chambers warns: “The 2022 consumer will be more ethically minded than ever, and brands and retailers should be building their business with a conscience.
“For brands that already have strong sustainability credentials, now is the time to shine the spotlight on them; for those that don’t, the new normal could serve as an opportunity to strengthen your commitments.
“Jewellery retailers and brands should adopt eco-friendly practices as part of their product’s manufacturing and employ reusable or recyclable product packaging.”
They should also seek the relevant certification to prove their dedication in this area.
Almost irrespective of product type, retailers have found themselves plagued by supply chain issues in the past 12 months or so, and the luxury sector has been no different.
Chambers explains: “Recent events have conspired to drive global supply chains towards breaking point, threatening the fragile flow according to companies, economists and shipping specialists.”
She cites Brexit and the Delta variant of Covid-19 as playing a particular part in the issues seen through the third quarter of 2021.
“’Extremely challenging’ are the words I hear most at the moment in discussion of what the press is calling ‘Shippageddon’,” Chambers says grimly. “From a jewellery packaging perspective there are likely to be extended lead times and stock issues for a number of companies in November and December.”
Any retailer who has not been living under a rock will know that this issue is not going to disappear overnight and is not merely confined to jewellery packaging or even the wider jewellery industry, but is affecting a wide range of products.
“Luckily we already have huge amounts of stock in our warehouse with additional stock landing each month to meet the forecast,” Chambers assures customers.
With increased demand and problems with supply, however, she has one bit of advice for businesses, irrespective of what they are buying: “If in doubt, the earlier you order for Christmas, the better.”