Shopping habits are changing, and that’s a fact, however watching the news and reading social media and newspapers you would think that this was a new story.
However, there has been a general shift in how people have been shopping over the past ten years, and probably the only difference now is some of the largest high street retailers in the land are feeling and seeing the change and have failed to reinvent themselves, in not doing so some will probably will disappear from the high street over the next few years.
Jewellery shopping habits are changing
As with all kinds of retailing the way we buy jewellery is not immune to these changes.
Its ten years ago this month that I decided to close my shop in Hatton Garden and become a personal and completely mobile jeweller. It was clear to me then that the world was growing smaller and moving around it was becoming more accessible and cheaper and being stuck in one place with the substantial running costs was not sustainable.
Back then clients were only using the internet for research and were then seeking out a jeweller to work with or buy from, what the internet was offering then was saving them time and filling them with ideas.
Becoming a mobile jeweller, allows me to meet with my clients at a time and a place that works for them which they have found extremely helpful because the days of 9 to 5 no longer exists.
They appreciated working with an experienced jeweller who could help and advise them and guide them through all the jargon, but today this alone is not enough.
Times are changing
For many designing jewellery using 3D Computer-aided design ( CAD ) along with 3D printing is something new, whereas I have been using it for over twelve years and count myself as a pioneer in introducing it to the jewellery trade.
I have always believe you either have to accept change and adapt to it. Alternatively, your business will not survive.
2019 is going to be challenging for all business large and small and to use Brexit that has not even happened yet for the changes that are required to survive is way off the mark.
The way we buy jewellery is changing
My expertise is only the jewellery market, but the challenges are similar for all consumer lead businesses.
As I mentioned earlier in the blog, ten years ago buying a diamond or an engagement ring online was almost unheard of, but today this is changing, diamonds are seen more as a commodity and are being purchased by their price and not their beauty.
Options for buying an engagement ring
People read and research online decide on the diamond they are looking for and then search for the lowest price, some will then choose a ring mount, and the ring will be made and dispatched with buyer safe in the knowledge they have in most cases thirty days to return it.
The disappointment for me is not just that many buyer today are treating the diamond as a commodity, but the jewellers are calling their mass-produced rings bespoke. Some, of course, see right through this will and will still buy the diamond online but then seek out a bespoke jeweller to make them a unique engagement ring from a choice of bespoke designs.
Finally, there are those who will use the internet in the traditional way for research and finding a jeweller for the full bespoke buying experience.
Businesses have to adapt.
Buying a unique piece of jewellery for a loved one is a beautiful experience, and I believe you will only achieve this working with a jeweller one on one. However, the options I have highlighted are not going to go away, so I have to adapt my business to cater to all kinds of enquiries
What however I will not ever do is drop the quality of my work or the personal service that I offer.
Whether you are as big a John Lewis or a small family business like mine changes will continue to evolve, and we all have to adapt to them.