Video calling services have seen a surge in users since lockdown was implemented in late March, none more so than Zoom.
It has become an invaluable tool for businesses. Not only can teams now catch up with one another virtually, but auctioneers and jewellery retailers have been offering virtual appointments for customers to safely and conveniently view jewellery.
Speaking exclusively with Professional Jeweller, The Alkemistry’s Kirstie Gibbs noted the importance of the tool both during lockdown and going forward.
When asked what lessons she and her team had learnt during the closure of non-essential retail, she started: “Many! At the end of lockdown, we did a team strategy session on what we had learnt, what we will continue and what should be kept in place, in case of a second wave.”
She noted: “One thing that I loved during lockdown was a weekly Zoom call with our entire team.
“As we have three store locations plus a head office, the teams don’t often see each other, so it was great to chat to everyone online each week, as well as carry out training.
“I feel the sales team know much more about what we’re working on as a business and feel more connected as a consequence.”
Looking forward, Gibbs added: “So, this is something I’d like to ensure we continue – though I have a feeling we may find it slightly harder as life becomes busier again.”
With a shop in London’s Covent Garden, Gibbs has concerns about the future of bricks-and-mortar retail. Namely, will footfall ever return to pre-lockdown levels?
“Our biggest concern is tourism,” she said, “both internationally and nationally. Our international customers are very important to us, and if they aren’t able to travel this will affect us during summer especially. Nationally, I do wonder whether people will travel to London for the weekend like they used to.”
Whether footfall returns or not, video call platforms will continue to offer retailers the chance to connect with their teams and with their customer base around the world.