Nearly two decades into the 21st century, there are more eye-grabbing media channels than ever to promote and showcase your fine and/or fashion jewelry to consumers in any segment — but all that glitters isn't gold! The jewelry industry is in for some major changes in this rapidly changing, fast-paced digital era. See four of the major shifts already affecting your jewelry store and clientele (plus one industry standard that isn't going anywhere).
1. The demand for ethical and sustainable jewelry
"Traceability." "Origin-assured." "Sustainable," "responsible" and "ethical." A few years ago, these were industry terms commonly used with food and paper products — not phrases used casually by jewelry consumers and jewelry sellers! Industry experts suspect, however, that it's a conversation that's here to stay. From the global origins of raw materials to fair compensation and safety for the workers mining precious minerals, the jewelry industry is yet another business segment under the microscope in the 21st century.
How does this affect your jewelry business? Increasingly, consumers are more likely to buy from brands they "believe" in — those with a sense of identity, ethics and transparency. A more informed market of buyers means that, the next time shoppers are eyeing your wares, your sales staff might face a new category of questions. Imagine a customer asks questions like the following: "Is the gold in that ring 100% new, or has it been repurposed or recycled? Where and how were these sapphires sourced? I notice you offer a lot of new jewelry designs every week — where are these being manufactured?" Is your staff prepared to answer?
2. The globalization of the jewelry industry
The jewelry industry, much like the apparel industry, has always been a saturated and intensely competitive market. And, just like apparel, it can’t escape the business Circle of Life — small and mid-size local brands are acquired by formidable national brands that are bought up by international jewelry and fashion houses down the road. If you follow the trends, however, you’ll see that international brands — like H&M and Zara — are outpacing the growth of the familiar faces of national competitors and independent jewelers, according to industry experts. And national brands, like Swarovski, are expanding rapidly in hopes of joining the ranks of Cartier and Tiffany & Co. in the worldwide market.
How does this affect your jewelry business? While global and national retailers are making their move, there’s also a slow but steady consumer trend toward branded jewelry. It’s a good time to re-emphasize what your business offers — be it branded or unbranded jewelry — and what sets your independent jewelry shop or repair business apart from the bunch. Consolidation is coming for many industries, jewelry included.
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The battle between fashion jewelry and fine jewelry is on — or perhaps it’s more like a partnership, (like the now-popular combination of $10,000 designer dresses and $600 shoes with $7 H&M necklaces donned by models and celebrities). It’s precious metals and stones vs. plated alloys and crystals. Shoppers today are dipping into both sides of the market. Fine jewelry is no longer just a gift between spouses for special occasions, and inexpensive fashion jewelry isn’t just for costume parties anymore.
How does this affect your jewelry business? The wild growth of fast fashion brands speaks volumes — and an affordably priced product line for younger or less affluent consumers could be the sales boost your business needs. As buying power slowly shifts to Millennials (born between the early 80s and mid-90s) and Gen-Zers (born after the mid-90s), it's a good time to take a look at your current client base and assess who could be better targeted, or whether you need to branch out.
4. The growth of online jewelry sales and marketing
U.S. consumers, especially the Millennial and Gen-Z demographics, are increasingly opting for online shopping. For the jewelry industry, online sales still represent only a small piece of the market, but even if consumers aren’t buying online, they’re researching, reading reviews and comparing prices online — and e-commerce and social media companies are taking notice.
Instagram, for example, shared that more than 200 million accounts visit one or more business profiles daily. It was a no-brainer for the social media giant to start offering shopping via tags — customers are now one tap away from a purchase in any social post. One company saw a 44 percent increase in web traffic from Instagram after implementing a fresh digital marketing strategy using the online shopping feature.
How does this affect your jewelry business? Don't dismiss your online presence or your e-commerce opportunities. Many popular point-of-sale (POS) systems for jewelry businesses include user-friendly digital marketing and shopping tools, like automated welcome and promotional emails; online shopping carts; and social media management.
One thing that hasn't shifted in the jewelry industry?
High payment processing rates!
From the viewpoint of most merchant services providers and financial institutions, jewelry stores are a high-risk investment. It's a high-price, low-volume industry where customers frequently experience buyer's remorse and encounter counterfeit products, and store owners struggle with chargebacks and fraud.
How does this affect your jewelry business? You should partner with a merchant services provider for jewelry businesses that offers transparent and affordable Interchange Plus Pricing, like TransNational Payments. We offer professional, affordable and powerful in-store, online and mobile payment solutions for jewelry businesses and tailor our rates to your needs.