The Covid-19 pandemic has changed so much they way we now lives ours lives young and old. It has changed the way our children are educated and the way we now approach work day to day. I think perhaps the biggest thing that has changed is that it forced people to get over their fear of the internet and technology. I never would have thought my parents would be on a zoom call or sending money by Venmo to their grand kids for their birthdays eight months ago. My mom who was always reluctant to bank online, who still writes checks in stores and who refused to use an ATM machine now does all her banking online as well as all her shopping even for groceries. I really believe the pandemic has changed many people’s shopping habits, across all generations and has solidified people’s confidence in eCommerce. After witnessing my parents own digital reformation first hand into becoming tech savvy shoppers I really think the pandemic has at the very least ushered a generation of leery online users into the digital age.
The pandemic has made it now more clear than ever, for any “brick and mortar” stores or “mom and pop” jewelry stores to conduct sales as normal they will need a website and a social media presence. The need to capitalize on social media and online sales quickly, if they aren’t already in order to continue to survive is paramount. However the struggle is real for the average mom and pop competing against big-box stores for those online clicks.
But I truly don’t think the situation is not as dire as one would think. Mom and pop store owners have grit and tenacity. They treasured neighborhood gems and offer a level of sincerity that big-box stores can’t. These great little, family-owned or independent businesses are often staples in their communities and loved by the local clientele. Independent shops tend to also offer a stellar level of customer service with respects to things like customization, flexibility of price and trustworthiness. The key, I believe is for them to replicate this personable approach to customer service and perceived extra value in their online business. They used to say make sure to answer your store phone, now I’m telling you to check your emails frequently.
While online shopping seems to booming during the pandemic due to store closures and reduced occupancy, selling online still has it draw backs. The customer in just a few clicks can at astonishing speeds quickly price your products out elsewhere to see if they are getting the best deal. Potential shoppers are scouring the internet daily for items they are interested in purchasing making competition with big-box stores prices near to impossible. So how can the average mom-and-pop jewelry store compete? I think the solution is to offer a unique selection of product exclusive to the store. I a line of jewelry that they can’t comparison shop or purchase elsewhere.
Take for instance my online Irish jewelry store The Irish Jewelry Company. We have a lot of competition for for online Irish jewelry on the internet. The way we differentiate ourselves from our online competition is by offering exclusive lines of Irish jewelry we designed that our loyal customer can only purchase from our website TheIrishJewelryCompany.com.
Basically I think every independent jeweler should have their own website and social media presence. Independent jewelers should work on designing an exclusive brand of jewelry with a look and price point unique to their store. A good product development plan and a strong marketing plan is a must. But if the concept is well thought out, and marketed locally and online through social media and the store has really honed in on their customers needs it should be successful.