Many traditional jewellers struggle to transition from brick-and-mortar to e-commerce. Even so, there are invaluable things that they can teach digital marketers.
- Yes, clients do know things that you don’t.
- Celebrate the flaws.
- Fit their needs, not your expectations.
- It has to shine!
- There’s always a new trend, new trend, new trend.
There’s more to both Jewellery and Marketing than the BLING
There is no doubt that the traditional neighbourhood jeweller is struggling to thrive in a world which has fundamentally shifted. Often owned and managed by a second or third generation goldsmith who was taught to value and nurture personal relationships with his clients, these business leaders are often unaware of or overwhelmed by the new rules of engagement in a digitally connected world.
Challenges that our jewellers face today are varied and multi-layered.
Does this sound familiar?
Many digital marketers are finding that it is unkind to think of their task as simply creating a platform that replaces their clients’ traditional marketing model. Some of the aspects of the brick-and-mortar trading realm cannot be carried over in their current form, especially as automation takes hold.
However, it is important to preserve the philosophy of relationship-building that has contributed to the longevity of second or third generation retailers. There is a practical reason for this.
Precious tips for Digital Marketers
The success of online marketing is determined by its power to move people. This movement is measured in conversions, but that is only half the story. Engagement is powerful. It builds a brand. The ultimate engagement is the personal relationship that the brand has with the customer. See how this brings us right back to how the client has been creating and preserving customer loyalty for all these years?
A jeweller knows that there is little point in pressing customers to consider pieces that do not catch their eye. There is power in knowing the customer and what the piece of jewellery will represent for them. Its never just a ring; its a reminder of a promise, an achievement, or a person sadly missed. In short, it’s about giving the customer the thing that they really, really want, and not what you think they may want.
Does your client know that this customer-relationship focus is also a cornerstone of online marketing, or are they simply too intimidated by the apparent magic of digital marketing to believe that they have little to offer?
More importantly, is it in your best interests to keep the client in the dark? Or will your agency achieve better results by assisting them to understand that their hard won trading knowledge can be a key driver in their online success?
Yes, clients do know things that you don’t.
A client that is empowered by the knowledge that what they have been doing all these years is still essential to their business success will better appreciate the need for ongoing digital marketing. For an agency, this is likely to translate into more spend and a long-term contract. And there you have it. Your client becomes engaged in the process, and your own brand is strengthened. And around we go.
So, besides the actual publishing of SEO content and undertaking of online campaigns, one of the elements of the digital marketer’s task is to build the bridge between the traditional brick-and-mortar trading realm and e-commerce, and to lead the client over it.
Marketing to the New Consumer Generation
Latest consumer demographic reports show that the Millennials and Gen Z value ethically sourced and environmentally conscious products in a different way than previous generations. They are likely to enquire about the provenance of a gem or will choose a synthetic gemstone to avoid the possibility of buying a conflict diamond.
Ethically sourced and environmentally conscious
Retailers popular with this market segment tend to ensure they have the diamond’s story, from mine to finger, well documented and are able to easily prove the stone to be conflict free. The Kimberly Process Certification System, initiated 16 years ago by the United Nations, hoped to eliminate trade in conflict diamonds.
Celebrate the flaws.
Although criticised for its narrow focus on mining and distribution and the fact that it covers rough diamonds only, allowing facetted stones to remain unmonitored, it is the most successful attempt thus far to counteract the huge problem of blood diamonds. The mining practice itself is environmentally unfriendly, using many toxic chemicals in the retrieval process and leaving behind a harmful and unhealthy environment once the mine is spent.
Many younger consumers believe that laboratory grown gemstones are a kinder and more environmentally conscious and sustainable choice.
According to Bruce Cleaver, CEO De Beers Group (De Beers Diamond insight Report 2018) consumer trust has become an essential part of doing business. “For younger consumers, what you do and how you do it is becoming just as important as what you sell and how you sell it, and paying lip service to ‘doing good’ simply isn’t good enough.”
Investigation into what drives the new consumer generation reveals that marketing must take a bold new step. Over time marketing has focused on different product aspects in order to be attractive to the changing consumer. Presenting product benefits made way for product authenticity above all else. And now, just as the product itself must be ethically sourced, so too must marketing be ethical.
What does this mean?
Fit their needs, not your expectations.
Persona-driven marketing is based on talking to a particular target niche’s true fears, pain-points and desires. General demographics no longer cut it. New generation consumers care deeply for the earth and believe that they are custodians. As such, they will not be bamboozled by pretty marketing that puts the product front and centre.
They want to know the facts about the product and what these mean in the bigger scheme. With access to facts at their fingertips, and the power (social media) and the will to call marketers out on obfuscation or data-manipulation, marketers must tread lightly and yet still build a brand. This comes down to ethical marketing in direct response to the demands of the consumer as revealed by persona research.
Synthetic diamonds. Fake news?
For the first time De Beers is selling synthetic diamonds under its Lightbox brand, retailing for 20 to 40% less than the price of natural diamonds.
Synthetic diamonds are laboratory grown however they have the same chemical composition as natural diamonds. Both are comprised of crystallized carbon. The only difference is that one is man -made and the other is made by nature.
The man-made stones can be produced in two ways: the first method places carbon under extremely high pressures and temperatures which mimic natural conditions. The second method is chemical vapour deposition where a seed of diamond crystal is used to start the process and the gemstone is grown layer by layer on the top.
Although the chemical composition is identical, it is possible to tell the difference between a synthetic and natural diamond. Natural diamonds tend to have colour variations, inclusions and other tell-tale characteristics whilst synthetic diamonds are ‘cleaner’.
It has to shine!
Because of the sophisticated and complex method of lab producing these gems, synthetics are still an expensive choice even though they are more affordable than natural diamonds. As De Beers says, “Lightbox is affordable fashion jewellery that may not be forever but is perfect for right now.”
The rise of the female self-purchaser
Women are buying jewellery for themselves more frequently than ever before. They tend to spend less per item but buy more often, on average 3 or more times per year, in the same manner as buying accessories like handbags and shoes. Fine and fashion jewellery are becoming one and the same, as this consumer moves away from the for-special-occasions-only mentality of our parents and grandparents.
In her 2017 Forbes article on female self-purchasing, author Rachelle Bergstein quotes Sarah Tanner of Lyst, the largest international fashion search platform, as saying, “I’ve started calling it the ‘treat yo-self’ trend.”
New York based jewellery designer, Wing Yau, who reinvented the opal earring says, “Our core customer is a self-purchasing woman who buys herself jewelry in honour of her own milestones – usually little earring or rings that they can wear every day as a sweet reminder of their achievements.”
A well-developed social media and digital marketing strategy has never been more important to the longevity of a business than it is today.
“The ‘always on/always connected’ nature of today’s consumers – buying what they want when they want it- is resulting in changes to the typical decision-making and purchasing approach. Retailers across a range of industries are finding they need to rewrite the rule book when it comes to forging and maintaining connections with consumers. It is no longer a realistic option to place a product in a store front or on the home page of a website, run some traditional advertising and then simply sit back and wait. In a world where media consumption habits are in a state of flux, the marketing tropes of yesteryear cannot be relied upon as they once were,” says Cleaver in the De Beers Group Diamond Insight Report 2018.
Marketing new technologies. It’s a whole new world.
Marketing is just one of the aspects of retail that have had to adjust to new tech. The products that are being marketed have also changed.
There’s always a new trend, new trend, new trend.
Computer aided design (CAD) has taken the place of the traditional pencil sketch drawn in front of the customer. CAD can produce a Rendering (a photorealistic image) or a Rapid Prototyping (3D physical model).
The beauty of the photorealistic image is that it can be customised as the client wishes. Should they want to see the design with sapphires instead of rubies, one click is all that’s needed to immediately modify the design.
The physical model can show the client the design in 3 dimensions. This is a wonderful tool for customers that cannot visualise the finished piece from the original photo.
The development of 3D printing technology has revolutionised modern jewellery making. Rather than producing an end-use jewellery item, the printer creates a precisely detailed wax model. This is used to make a mould that produces the final piece. It is a sophisticated extension of traditional lost wax casting methods which have been used unchanged by goldsmiths since the third millennium BC. Jewellers can now offer their customers the ultimate in customisable designs.
Laser engraving can be used on wide ranging materials and shapes. It is permanent and heat and acidity resistant. It makes it possible to engrave in places that are inaccessible for hand engraving. It is also possible to cut intricate shapes out of metal plate. Lasers microscopically mark diamonds and other gemstones with identity numbers.
“Electroforming is the formation of a layer of sterling silver over a mould of resin (similar to hard plastic). This method allows the creation of beautifully designed sterling silver earrings, rings, bangles and necklaces with stunning detail in any shape or size without the heavy weight and cost that is typical to conventional solid sterling silver.” Jobangles Blog April 2016.
How to make yourself heard in a noisy marketplace
Even though as the digital marketer you are the one who should be making the noise, it pays to take the time to listen to your client before you start. They may be overwhelmed by e-commerce and believe they have nothing to contribute, but this is not true. Moving from brick-and-mortar to online trading is not a business do-over. There is value in the business-building nuggets of traditional wisdom that your B2C clients might take for granted.
Technology is building on ancient techniques and developing faster, better products and services. Digital marketing requires a new rule book for promoting to customers with a whole new attitude. The market place has become noisier, bigger, broader and more competitive.
And your job is to make sure make sure that your client’s brand will be heard. How will you do it?
As the legendary John Lennon said, “Would the people in the cheaper seats clap your hands? And the rest of you, if you’ll just rattle your jewelry.”
Sandy Woods, Goldsmith & Wordsmith
For the past 30 years, I have been involved with every aspect of the jewellery industry. I am fascinated with the way this industry, which uses ancient skills and techniques, has grown into modern, sophisticated technology and owned it. Jewellery is never only an investment or fashion purchase. It is and always will be heavy with memories of special occasions and people that we have loved. Whether valuable or not, always precious to the owner.