To our fellow jewelry professionals,
This pandemic is creating another shift in how we all use the internet and public response has showed us the world is already different. Suddenly more people are shifting their local purchases to local stores that deliver instead of leaving the house. Make no mistake; as much as toilet paper and hand sanitizer is getting headlines, all online shopping will increase. Your customers will want to make themselves feel better, provide gestures of support to their loved ones, and spend even more time on their phones in the seclusion of their homes. Your website is your best defense for those who are shopping at home, even when they are in the same town as you.
In the last 10 years many retail businesses have begun moving to online sales because that's more convenient for their customers. People like the ability to search for local inventory or have things delivered within a day or two. The need for immediate gratification isn't satisfied by 7 to 10 day waiting periods.
Once the pandemic has passed, those who got more comfortable with ordering online, even for local items, will be more inclined to continue that newly appreciated convenience.
Both of us have read on Facebook how many jewelers are hesitating to make the decision on whether or not to stay open, even though foot traffic has dropped drastically. Many jewelers are also taking steps to limit the number of people in the store at a time, requesting appointments, and doing another round of cleaning after each customer. We've only seen a few jewelers mention that they are ramping up their online store and online marketing.
We don't want to see your store close while we teeter on another recession. We are galvanized and focused, as we have been working in the online marketing of jewelry stores through two very different recessions. We already know that jewelry buyers will exist during troubling times. We've seen it happen during war time and crisis; all that has to change is the methodology and a commitment to realism. We are here BECAUSE we care, and because we don't want the industry you and we have spent so much time with, die on the vine because it wasn't prepared for proper online sales.
Right now every retail jeweler is worried about sales. If you do have an ecommerce website you should be promoting it right now. It would be great to sell the inventory you have in-stock because that's where your money is tied up. Having a website that sells drop-shippable virtual inventory doesn't help your cash flow in this current crisis, nor will it help you sell to local customers once this crisis has passed. This is another moment in time when the internet will change our lives. We have to take ecommerce more seriously. You will need to survive a few more weeks without foot traffic.
Your website is on the precipice of becoming your primary retail storefront. It's not about a presence anymore, or about making sure customers know your store hours. It's about giving them convenience, making them feel cared for, wanted, invited, and protected by the sales choices they make when the world provides so much uncertainty elsewhere. It's also about making them feel secure that they can visit you in person if they want to.
We know even with this crisis, you don't have a lot of time on your hands, and it is easy to feel helpless. However, think about how easy it is to sell your retail goods to anyone anywhere now. Even though you provide excellent in-person service it doesn't change the fact that in-person retail has suffered a lot in recent years. People are still buying, but right now they are shifting to buying from the protection of their own homes. With the right approach to ecommerce you could be making in-person deliveries of jewelry gifts in your local town or shipping it around the world.
We at JWEBS are not interested in selling you complacency, nor are we willing to let the industry to cross its fingers and hope for the best. Other retail industries have already learned that complacency doesn't work, and they have adopted internet strategies for their survival. We are here to prepare you for the very near future. Don't worry about the cost either; just like you, we also have financing available.
Give us a call, and continue to take the appropriate health precautions.
George Blair IV
Jeweler Websites, Inc.