Shopping habits are changing, and that’s a fact; however, watching the news and reading social media and newspapers, you would think this was a new story.
However, there has been a general shift in how people have been shopping over the past ten years. The only difference now is that some of the largest retailers in the land are feeling and seeing the change and probably will disappear from the high street over the next few years.
As with all kinds of retailing, jewellery buying is not immune to these changes.
Ten years ago this month, I decided to close my shop in Hatton Garden and become a personal and utterly mobile jeweller. It was clear then that the world was growing smaller and moving around. It was becoming more accessible and cheaper, and being stuck in one place with substantial running costs was not sustainable.
Back then, clients were only using the internet for research and were seeking a jeweller to work with or buy from; what the internet offered 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 exist.
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.
The Changing Face Of Jewellery Buying
For many, designing jewellery using 3D Computer-aided design (CAD) along with 3D printing is something new. In contrast, I have been using it for over twelve years and am a pioneer in introducing it to the jewellery trade.
I have always believed you either have to accept or adapt to change. Alternatively, your business will not survive.
2019 is going to be challenging for all businesses, large and small. And using Brexit has not even happened yet, for the changes required to survive are way off the mark.
My expertise is only in the jewellery market, but the challenges are similar for all consumer lead businesses.
As I mentioned in the blog, buying a diamond or an engagement ring online was almost unheard of ten years ago, 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 the buyer is 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 custom designs.
Finally, some will use the internet in the traditional way for research and finding a jeweller for the whole 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 by working with a jeweller one-on-one. However, the options I have highlighted will not go away, so I have to adapt my business to cater to all kinds of enquiries.
However, I will not ever drop the quality of my work or the personal service that I offer.
Whether you are as big as John Lewis or a small family business like mine, changes will continue to evolve, and we all have to adapt to them.