Jewelry Marketing in the Time of CoronavirusLaryssa
Here’s the thing: if you want to be a successful jewelry brand, then you can never press “pause” on your marketing strategy, not even when a pandemic creates economic uncertainty and forces people to stay at home. However, you will definitely need to adjust your marketing campaigns and reconsider the role of marketing in your overall business strategy.
We can no longer ignore the importance of omnichannel sales and marketing. Omnichannel relates to all the different shopping channels that are available to consumers: brick-and-mortar stores, ecommerce websites, mobile apps, digital marketplaces, and social selling. Brick-and-mortar jewelry retailers that currently don’t have an omnichannel sales strategy in place will suffer especially during this time when few consumers are doing non-essential in-store shopping, since those retailers lack other ways to sell their products.
At the same time, omnichannel shouldn’t be seen as a crisis strategy; instead, it’s a future strategy. Today’s consumers are empowering themselves; they have access to so much information at their fingertips, and they can make confident buying decisions. Many of these consumers work remotely and sometimes not even during “regular” business hours, so they’re not often running to stores after work and on the weekends. Oftentimes, they’re so busy they don’t even want to go to the store, fight for parking, and then take the risk that what they need might not be available. As a jewelry business, you simply can’t avoid omnichannel and then expect to survive.
Does that sound bleak? Let’s look on the bright side. All of this change also presents many opportunities. With the rise of omnichannel came the increased importance of social media, which gives brands the chance to connect with their customers on a personal level, especially during a pandemic. In addition, email marketing is excellent for maintaining transparency with consumers and providing them with updates about things like product shortages and shipping delays. Imagine trying to communicate with your customers in a time of crisis if you didn’t have access to these tools.
If you’re an ecommerce-only jewelry brand, then marketing now is more important than ever before. In the short term, social distancing is definitely boosting ecommerce sales, as you can imagine. This year, e-commerce is expected to reach 12% or higher of total retail spending, depending on how the economy is ultimately affected by the virus. To provide some perspective, in Q4 2019, online sales made up 11.4% of total retail spending. (Source). This is all good news for ecommerce retailers.
However, if the supply chain can’t keep up with the increased consumer demand, then it won’t matter that more people are shopping online, since retailers won’t be able to fulfill orders, at least not in a timely manner. In addition, if people are losing work and subsequently their income, then they definitely won’t be buying jewelry.
With all this uncertainty on the horizon, today’s jewelry retailers will need to do everything they can do to stimulate and maintain consumer interest while also being completely transparent about any business hiccups or setbacks. Customer experience must remain a top priority, and digital marketing can support that. What we mean by customer experience is all the ways that a customer interacts with your brand, from social media and your website to the shipping/packaging experience and any subsequent customer service follow-up after the purchase. It’s “about showing up for the customer when and where they need you, with ease and consistency on their part. And it’s about making sure every interaction with the company is memorable and meaningful,” according to Convince and Convert (Source).
Marketing can improve the customer experience in two major ways: through personalization and through social media. Today’s consumers crave a more personalized marketing experience; they want to be delivered ads that are uniquely tailored to their shopping habits, and they want to receive promotions and recommendations that are relevant to their preferences. You can offer that by using retargeting technology in ads, personalizing email communication, and more. In addition, you can improve the customer experience with your social media marketing by being highly responsive and engaged with your followers, viewing social media as both a marketing platform and customer service portal.
In these changing times, you’ll also need to be flexible and pivot away from marketing strategies that may have worked well for you in the past but aren’t working anymore, due to extenuating circumstances. For example, event marketing plays a major role in many jewelry brands’ marketing strategies; they depend on pop-ups, trunk shows, trade shows, shop-in-shops, and more to get in front of their customers and interact with those customers in person. Now that brands no longer have the opportunity to do those events, at least not for the time being, they shouldn’t just ignore that missing piece of their marketing puzzle. Instead, they should reinvest those marketing dollars into an alternative method of reaching new customers and engaging existing ones.
Are you looking for ways to fill the empty void left by events? Content marketing is one of the best ways for brands to actively engage with customers without interacting with them face to face. Not only can content help you generate new leads from people who may suddenly be turning their attention to online shopping, but it can also entertain and engage your past customers, who likely need some distraction, familiarity, and positivity right now. Try firing up your blog with fresh, new content or creating a downloadable ebook catalogue. You can create a styling guide or try telling the story of your brand in a new way.
In addition, video marketing is already a highly effective marketing strategy, and you can even host digital events via a video platform. For more information about video marketing, read our blog posts about the “Benefits of Video Marketing for Your Jewelry Brand” and “How YouTube Trends Affect Video Marketing for Jewelry Brands” and then listen to our podcast interview with video marketer Owen Cappellini.
If you’ve been handling social media and marketing yourself or passing it off to an intern without consulting a true marketing expert, then now is definitely the ideal time to invest in help from a professional who understands the nuances of marketing and knows how to adjust a marketing strategy during a critical time. You simply can’t remain on autopilot and continue business as usual. Instead, you must adopt a nimble new strategy, one that can change and evolve day by day. If you’re the brand who’s been diligently planning your marketing strategy weeks or even months in advance, great work! However, now is probably the time to abandon that plan and save it for when the world isn’t so chaotic. Consumers are tired and afraid and getting a little stir crazy in their homes – you need to know how to talk to them in a compassionate and sensitive way.
In addition, if business does slow down for your jewelry brand, then now is also a great time to do the marketing projects that you’ve been putting on the back burner for a really long time. Have you been procrastinating your video marketing strategy? If you’re stuck in your home office, then set up some decent lighting and a non-distracting background and start exploring the potential of both streaming and recorded video. Do you need to optimize your website for search engines? Nearly everyone has to do this to some degree at some point. SEO work isn’t necessarily difficult, but it can be very time consuming and boring. Put on some episodes of the Joy Joy Jewelry Marketing Podcast and get it done – or partner with someone who has the expertise to do it for you, so you can return to the marketplace even stronger once this situation blows over. Finally, you can also take the time to sit in silence and brainstorm some SMART goals not only for your marketing but for your business.
Regardless, you’ll need to embrace change during this time and remain open to new possibilities. Commit to expanding and strengthening your omnichannel sales strategy and keep in mind that excellent customer experience, supported by smart and strategic digital marketing efforts, always wins.