How Consumer Tastes are Changing
For those of us in the jewelry industry, it may feel like we’re being assaulted by consumer behavior and preference changes that are somewhat personal. The truth is, we are experiencing dramatic change, but it’s hardly personal! Every other industry is experiencing these changes as well.
The food and beverage industry has been hit by consumer demand to provide healthier, more ecologically thoughtful food selections with more transparency regarding sources. The furniture industry is facing consumer demand for source transparency, sustainability, and better in-store experiences. And let's not even get into the amount of pressure the apparel industry is experiencing. Does any of this sound familiar?
Older Americans aren’t settling into quiet empty nesting. They’re spending their cash on exotic helicopter skiing adventures, traveling for live Broadway shows (even if they live in Nebraska), and buying expensive gear for the marathons they’re running and classes they’re taking.
Younger children have more of a voice in buying. They send their parents text links to purchase items they want, do extensive online research for their own and their parents product interests, and have more of a say than ever in how the family spends its money.
One-size-fits-all is oh-so-20-years-ago. Today’s consumer is more concerned with whether or not a product or experience is “right for me" than whether or not her neighbors will approve.
And everything needs to be faster today than it was yesterday.
This is the new reality, and retailers in every industry are grappling with how to respond to that reality in profitable ways.
Here are a few things that savvy retail jewelers are doing to respond to these changes:
- Offering a broad range of jewelry in lower price points. Quality is still king! But great quality jewelry in a more inclusive range of materials (silver, vermeil, gemstones of every variety) appeals to consumers looking to meet fashion needs. And of course, becoming someone’s trusted source for fashion jewelry means you’ll be the first place they think of when it’s time for something of a more heirloom quality.
- Changing inventory and inventory displays frequently. In an age of fast-fast-fast, consumers are hardly impressed by walking into a jewelry store that hasn’t changed in their last four visits! Keeping the store merchandising fresh and new (even if a lot of that is just moving the inventory around) ensures that consumers don’t get bored.
- Making the store the experience. There are so many interesting things about a jewelry store that no other type of retail store can share; from information about precious gemstones to how jewelry is made to the historical uses of jewelry to the fashion opportunities of various jewelry styles. Retailers that double down on what makes them interesting and special have a more interesting story to tell.
Don’t waste your time sitting around and bemoaning the changes! The world of commerce and style has always changed, and it always will. Instead, enjoy asking your customers what interests them, and work hard to find jewelry that isn’t available in every Kohl’s, Target, and Dillards. Jewelry store visits may be down, but overall jewelry sales are up. Those who work hard to get a piece of that action will continue to prosper.