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Looking for Consumer Relevance

shopping bagsIf there’s one thing all of us in the jewelry industry share right now, it’s a sense of bewilderment about what’s next for the jewelry industry. And to my mind, the best thing we can do right now is to get as transparent as possible, share information with each other, and learn from each other.

Yesterday, I shared this article on LinkedIn:

The recent Bloomberg article that referred to the jewelry industry as having “lost its allure” received a lot of industry attention. Not because we were surprised, but possibly because we don’t want what we perceive to be “family talk” out there in the mainstream news media. But we definitely weren’t surprised, because we know that consumers just aren’t paying attention to us the way they once did. We’re all asking the question, “Is jewelry relevant any more?”

I think the more important article recently was one that didn’t get much attention at all. It was an article in Forbes called The Ugly (Retail) Truth: Which Stores Will Close or Survive. That article discussed the state of all retail, and how the changing economic, technological, and cultural climate is affecting way more than the jewelry industry. Not so long ago, we didn’t worry as much about consumer relevance as we did about price, promotion, and brand appeal. Today, consumer relevance is everything.

Change is the New Status Quo

Some of the things that are clear from both articles are that consumers want something different from us (retailers in general, the jewelry industry in specific); that technology must play a new and significant role in all our business activities; and that the pace of change will continue to be fast, so we better be on our toes.

I’ve looked at my own business and I know that I need to do different things to stay fresh and relevant. As a wholesaler, it’s part of my shared responsibility with my retail partners to do things differently, in a way that stimulates consumer interest and drives traffic to stores. So I’ve committed to an overhaul of my marketing, product positioning, and merchandising mix. I’m committed to figuring it out.

One of the most daunting things about committing to change is recognizing that I’m going to make mistakes. I hate the idea of spending money on ideas that won’t work. But then I remember this quote from John Wooden:

If you’re not making mistakes, then you’re not doing anything.

Not doing anything is definitely not an option.

Overwhelmed, or Excited?

Sometimes lately I’ve been a bit overwhelmed by the things I have to do to keep my business growing and profiting in this new reality. I think we’re all trying to figure out what consumer relevance means, and once we understand it, we still need to find unique ways to apply it to our own businesses. But during my vacation a few weeks ago, when I let my brain have a bit of downtime, I realized that I’m also excited. I’ve always liked a good challenge, and I’m definitely not ready to retire. So why not learn a bunch of new, interesting things? Why not dig in and take on the challenge of figuring out what it means to be in business in 2018 and beyond?

(want to share this article with your network? Click here)

I hope you’ll participate in this exploration with me, and share your feedback and ideas along the way. We can all learn from each other and teach each other, and that’s one of the best things about being in an industry like ours. So. More later. Thanks for reading.



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