Words by David Walker, senior account manager at Beattie.
Empty shops and fewer shoppers are just a couple of the challenges that have to be overcome.
Never has there been so much competition to persuade savvy shoppers to get out their credit cards. In order to get the best price, bargain hunters undertake significant research, wait for special offers, and of course, weigh physical price tags against what they can find online.
The web has changed everything, but when it comes to jewellery – particularly bigger purchases – customers still prefer the assurance that comes from touching, feeling, and trying on. In other words, the high street ‘experience’ remains a big part of jewellery shopping.
Indeed, jewellery remains a hugely popular market where skilled designers and retailers with good entrepreneurial instincts and decent business acumen can thrive — if they adopt the correct approach, married to good organisation.
In order to succeed, you must ask yourself what your unique selling point is and how that places you on a strong footing against the rest of the high street competition. That means studying in-depth what competitors are doing and getting to know inside out what they do well and what they don’t do so well.
Don’t be afraid to take a huge leaf out of their book if they’ve enjoyed enduring success. Emulation can set you on the right path to finding your own identity.
In the jewellery market, it’s typically not just about being able to offer a great range of products — it’s about finding the balance between commercial imperative and affordability. Researching competitors’ prices will help you to find your sweet spot.
So, you’ve established yourself on the high street —how do you keep customers coming back, find new ones, and continue to build your success story?
Find your niche
If you want to make your mark on the high street, you’ve got to stand out. Becoming known for a particular style or service will help you to fine tune your brand while figuring out what sells and what doesn’t.
Never stand still
It’s vital that you don’t rest on your laurels, keep seeking to update your offering, and look to constantly improve. After all, your competition won’t stand still either. Keep adding fresh products, never let your storefront become predictable and stagnant, and seek new ways to place your stock in its best light. It’s the little tweaks and new ideas that will keep your customers coming back while capturing the imagination of new ones.
Keep in touch
Customers have short memories — they need to be reminded that you’re there. That can mean in-store events, mail drops through local doors, and leveraging your client database. It also means being as visible as possible through advertising on social media, grabbing the headlines with news releases, or sending out invites to projects and promotions you are getting involved with.
Word-of-mouth marketing is great, but online business advocates can be more powerful
A lot of jewellers believe that heritage and honest family values are among the best weapons in their marketing armoury, and there’s a lot to be said for engendering that sense of trust.
However, there are more powerful marketing tools, and they’re incredibly cost-effective.
Indeed, your customers undoubtedly represent your biggest business advocates and you must harness that fully online to drive footfall to your store. Fundamentally, when friends of potential new customers praise a company on social media, it’s the best review you can possibly receive. They’re effectively humanising your business and authenticity is key. These are real people, sharing real experiences, without the magic wand of marketing.
How do you hone that loyalty further? Offer these advocates special discounts in-store, exclusive event invites, and private sales to keep them coming back for more.
Even better, you can use their stories to bring your store to life by celebrating how your products have impacted their life and marked special moments. Collecting these personal stories in one place on your website – whether it’s engagements, weddings, or anniversaries – will inspire others to follow their example and investigate your offering.
Don’t be afraid to loan out your jewellery
If your a brand and an opportunity presents itself for someone to borrow your jewellery and it means a potentially significant rise in profile, then embrace it. After all, your business relies on being seen in the right places and being worn by the right people, so don’t hesitate.
Avoid being predictable with your promotions
Too many jewellery retailers and brands only offer special promotions when there’s a lull in trade and they need a quick sales boost. Instead, you should always have an enticement in place, whether big or small, to maintain engagement throughout the year and remind new and existing customers of what you offer.
Social media is the best platform for this. It will create momentum and you’ll quickly build a following, providing you are regularly active.
All of these ideas and initiatives will serve to build your company brand, raise awareness of your physical presence, and help to ensure high street longevity for your business. They may even allow you to compete with bigger players, both locally and online.
Fundamentally, and regardless of who you’re competing with, you will be better prepared to meet the challenge of an ever-evolving market.
BIO: Beattie is a leading integrated communications agency, competing with digital, social, creative, advertising and PR shops. Headquartered in London, Beattie has 16 offices across the UK and North America. Demystifying marketing with simple strategies and big ideas keeps clients smiling as Beattie build brands and drive sales.