Next weekend we are heading off to Birmingham for the Company of Master Jewellers (CMJ) trade show. We have been invited as one of their ‘fresh faces’ to showcase some of our brand development and store design case studies in the new ‘Hall of Innovation and Inspiration’.
We are there at the request of Helen Dimmick – the CMJ’s transformational new Consultant. Her vision for the event is “… to bring the best of the industry together to learn from each other’s successes and to share invaluable insights’.
Just like the whole of the retail sector, Helen knows that the jewellery retail industry faces unprecedented challenges. She believes that shared experience and collaboration is vital to the success of the independent jewellery trade if it is to retain its prominence on our high streets. And we couldn’t agree more.
The UK’s high streets are peppered with retailers large and small who just don’t know how to respond to the age of digital disruption. So we are looking forward to the CMJ event and to sharing our experience of helping retailers to make the most of their high street presence and realise the opportunities for a more ‘harmonised retail’ approach.
That’s a Steve Dennis phrase, by the way. He’s a writer and keynote speaker on retail growth and innovation who frequently talks a lot of sense about the current evolution in retail. Steve recently wrote on the subject of ‘harmonised retail’ by which he means having ‘the critical aspects of the customer journey all sing beautifully together’. Or put more simply, it’s all about focussing on where your customers are and how they like to shop with you.
This is something that our client, Clogau, do extremely well. Indeed, last year they won the UK Jewellery Awards Best Multichannel Retail Offer and have just won Monobrand Retailer of theYear at this year’s awards!
But there is much to be learnt from those who are getting it wrong too. For instance, WHSmith has once again been voted the UK’s worst high street shop in the annual Which? consumer survey. The retailer was criticised for its in-store experience as well as its ‘cramped and messy stores’. Reading this I was reminded of another famous Steve Dennis quote, ‘Physical retail isn’t dead. Boring retail is’. You can read more about that here if you are interested.
But back to those who are getting in right…Last year we hosted a panel discussion at the IJL trade show at Olympia (International Jewellery London). It was called Reimagining the Future of Retail and one of our guests was the successful jewellery designer and retailer, Dinny Hall. She had a great answer to one of our questions about the challenge for today’s independent jewellery retailers:
“The way I think about it is that we are ‘putting on a show’ so we need to have a vast skill set these days. We are not only jewellery designers and makers but sales people, digital specialists, social media experts and event managers as well as being technically savvy – all these are critical in delivering a great experience for our customers – it’s what they expect today.” Dinny Hall, Owner of Dinny Hall
I think Dinny sums up the challenges very well. So on that note, we are looking forward to sharing and exchanging insights and solutions with CMJ Members and Jewellery & Watch Suppliers. It certainly should be a rewarding ‘show time’ for all!