A recent article by the Editor of Professional Jeweller magazine talked about the challenges facing the branded jewellery sector in the UK. With a growing number of independent jewellers swapping some fashion brands for their own exclusive designs, Professional Jeweller suggests that certain jewellery fashion brands will be fighting back in 2018.
Working as we do with both independent jewellers as well as mono jewellery brands, we witness the challenges that confront both sides of the market place.
How does an independent jeweller establish a retail space with ‘authority’ over their multi-branded environment?
How does a mono-brand manage its dramatically different seasonal footfall?
How does an independent jeweller attract new key brands to their assortment?
How does a mono-brand transform its retail presence and build on its wholesale success?
These are just some of the questions we have explored recently with our clients. It’s certainly a challenging market place for all. But at the heart of the matter we see a need for both sides to improve their mutual understanding of one another and to collaborate more closely. In addition, there needs to be a better understanding of what customers want. As Goldman Sachs reported last year “Physical retailers who do a better job of getting to know their customers will see the dividends over the long term.”
The retail sector has undergone a huge transformation in recent years due to the massive developments in technology as well as the new demands from today’s savvy consumers. But despite the growth and importance of online retail, bricks and mortar stores still play a crucial role in the shopping journey.
While many consumers start their journey on-line, those interested in the high-service jewellery sector still want to ‘touch and feel’ before they buy. And this gives the jewellery retail sector a huge advantage, provided they grasp it!
However, the in-store experience for these consumers is all-important – it needs to ‘join up’ with their digital experience and their expectations. The physical store needs to work harder than ever to stay competitive and relevant in a high street or shopping mall setting.
Independent jewellers and the key fashion brands they represent can learn much from one another but they need to collaborate more effectively. And as we discussed in our presentation at International Jewellery London last autumn, both sides need to invest in the store space to achieve mutual success in 2018.
Next week the NEC in Birmingham will host Jewellery & Watch 2018. And in March it’s Baselworld 2018 in Switzerland. We will be at both of these events meeting clients who understand the value of investing in brand development and retail design.
These are just some of the jewellery retail design projects that we’ve collaborated on recently: