It’s no secret that disruptive forces usually bring dramatic reversals. Many in our industry believe that the internet, and all the has come with it (think Blue Nile, vendors selling direct to consumers, etc.), has been the biggest disrupter ever. But our industry is not alone in experiencing disruptions. For example, retail and consumer-packaged-goods (CPG) industries have experienced huge disruptions in the past 20 years. In 2000, Kmart was the third-largest US retailer, with $36 billion in sales; so far this year, Kmart has closed, or plans to close, about 60 stores, leaving fewer than 100 open.
During the same period, Amazon’s revenue grew from about $2.8 billion, to a recently reported $63.4 billion in Q2 2019 revenue alone. The only constant in life is change, so we know the next 10 years will continue to bring disruption, as well as an increasing opportunity for growth. Companies who want to be operating as relevant, profitable players in the jewelry industry need to forget about preparing for 2020, and start building their business for 2030 and beyond.
In researching retail and consumer trend predictions for the 2030 retail landscape, I’ve noticed that certain trends follow a pattern. Others are emerging as exciting and surprising opportunities, just waiting for innovative industry retailers and vendors to pick them up and take them on. Interested in learning how you can grow your customer base and keep, as well as increase your consumer base over the next 10 years? Start with these five tips that every consumer-facing business should begin to adopt right now:
#1) Create an “Environment Experience” – Think you’ve lost the battle to e-tailers who own the online marketplace? Think again. U.S. Census data proves that 90% of consumers still shop in traditional stores. Retailers that will thrive understand the in-store experience offers and mus deliver, a promise in real-time. Delivering a great retail environment experience will vary from one retailer to the next, since the “right” experience for your customers depends on your store, your staff, your products and your customers. The key to your success is knowing all four, so you can create a plan that delivers the best retail experience possible for your business and your brand.
#2) Everything old is new again – Over the next decade, shoppers will continue to place an emphasis on value and efficiency, especially when it comes to shopping for daily needs, or specialty items. But, they will also want to be surprised and delighted. And the Generation Z consumer, those born between 1995 and 2015, are gearing up to enter the workforce and will soon become a formidable force in the economy. Generation Z makes up an estimated 25% of the population, and researchers are predicting 40% of consumers will be Gen Z.
A positive note about Gen Z – this group is completely different from Millennials. Gen Z is considered multi-taskers even though digital technology has been pervasively present throughout the majority of their lives. Research has found that despite Gen Z’s characterization as tech junkies, this group prefers human contact to digital, and has a deep appreciation for physical media.
This is a win for retailers, especially on the marketing side. Whether you’re advertising with flyers, postcards, or magazine ads, the physical advertisement will connect with a Gen Z customer there until it’s put into the recycling bin, which means more time for Gen Z’ers to consider your brand.
#3) Skilled Customer Service will rule – In the 2018 State of Personalization Report, more than 70% of customers expressed frustration over “impersonal shopping experiences.” Your customer is your most valuable asset, and when they walk through your door, they expect to be treated as a treasured guest who is valued not only for how much money they might (or have) spent, but simply for entering your store.
This means customer service should be the backbone of your brand, and every employee (including the store owner), should commit to bringing their best self to work each day, and showcasing the products they sell, while meeting and exceeding the needs of the people who are buying them. Relationships drive loyalty, and clients who are treated with respect, kindness and hands-on knowledge will always comes back, hopefully next time with friends or family members who crave similar authenticity and expertise.
#4) Personalization and Differentiation: It’s no secret that today’s shoppers want their favorite retailers to tailor promotions and communications to their individual purchasing habits. That expectation will only increase as changes in the marketplace advance leading up to the year 2030. In fact, according to Infosys, 86% of consumers — and 96% of retailers — said personalization has at least some impact on their purchasing decisions, and the same study also found that almost one third (31%) of consumers wanted more personalization in their shopping experiences.
While smart retailers have already acknowledged consumer requests for more effective personalization, they are also looking for solutions geared towards optimizing the customer experience. Personalization on the brand side can encompass an extensive area of online and offline media, including: web site optimization, segmentation, email marketing, merchandising and promoted messages.
But what about personalization on the product side? Retailers in the jewelry industry need to start thinking immediately beyond one-off, “custom jewelry creations,” and begin embracing the opportunities available to help customers create their own “lifestyle-customized jewelry collections,” by using personalization as a tool to enhance the individual consumer experience.
Retailers who offer personalization opportunities created around meaningful life experiences will immediately differentiate themselves from those who don’t, and profits, as well as customer retention rates, will begin to soar.
#5) Data Delivers: Repeat after me … “Data doesn’t lie.” Many of my customers know that data is important, but they simply don’t want to take the time (or have the time) to understand and analyze it in a way that it is most advantageous to their businesses. I can’t complain, because they know data is important, but don’t have the time to deal with it, so they hire me. I certainly appreciate their trust in me to analyze what the data says, because businesses that understand how and why to use data will always have a massive competitive advantage against those who don’t.
More than ever before, technology has made it possible to gather vast troves of information about customers, and consumer habits as a whole. Customers expect to trade a reasonable amount of personal information for benefits, and in return, they expect benefits that matter, such as a birthday discount, special deals, or exclusive invitations to VIP only events. 75% of social media users in the United States are happy to share data if a company will use the data to make relevant recommendations to them.
So how can you, as a business owner, start to wrap your head and hands around better data-gathering techniques that can help you grow your business into 2030? There is so much data out there, and sometimes it is hard to know where to begin. If you want to get a start in understanding what the data is saying about your business, then I recommend you might want to try using Google My Business. Google My Business is an easy-to-use tool for businesses and organizations to manage their online presence across Google, including Search and Maps.
Google My Business allows a business owner to manage the information that Google users see when they search for your business, or the products and services that you offer. Businesses that verify their information with Google My Business are twice as likely to be considered reputable by consumers. It allows you to read and respond to reviews from your customers, and post photos that show off what you do.
You can also see insights on how customers searched for your business, and where those customers are coming from, plus information like how many people called your business directly from the phone number displayed on local search results in Search and Maps. The best part? It’s easy to start and free to use!
Want to know more about how you can prepare your company for 2030, have questions about this article, or want to suggest a topic for me to cover in future blogs? I’d love to hear from you! Email me at Ann@JewelersSuite.com today!