During the COVID-19 shut-down and shelter-at-home initiative this year, jewelry makers and sellers had to learn new ways to sell and connect. Video has taken center stage, largely as a result of the sudden inability to connect face to face. Here are a few lessons learned.
If you can’t go out, go live
There has been a sharp uptick in live video in Instagram stories during the pandemic as jewelry makers addressed followers from their studios. Often the clip was a simple demo at the bench, setting a stone or brush-finishing a ring shank. But some designers addressed the audience directly, explaining what she was doing to maintain safety in her studio and disinfect shipments.
Connect with customers on their form of video
Increasingly, makers turned to tools such as Zoom, Skype, and Facetime to discuss custom designs and hold workshops. If customers know Skype better than Zoom, meet on Skype. If they know Facetime, you better have access to an Apple device.
Connect with customers as much as possible
Sometimes these high-tech options don’t work, and email and phone are sufficient. When it comes to customer communication, you must meet at the same stage, no matter what stage. Providing video services is a good choice, but most consumers are still willing to use the phone to communicate. For customized jewelry, you can try to use email to send photos of the production process and get feedback in this way.
In times of crisis, provide guidelines
Most jewelers offer shipping info on their websites during the holiday season, when getting items to customers before the holidays is imperative. During the pandemic, many put up something similar, a COVID page outlining their protocol to protect customers and disinfect products, offering alternative ways to communicate with customers.
People get sick of practical COVID messaging
An industry publication aimed at retailers held a panel webinar in late March offering practical advice to jewelers, such as avoiding the hard sell when people are losing their jobs. At least one expert advised jewelers to post practical information or what they were doing in their daily lives. But some makers who were posting info graphics instead of jewelry during this time told me their likes and impressions took a dive. At a certain point, we all hit overload on talk of masks and wipes, etc.
Don’t assume people won’t buy jewelry in hard times
Many of us were losing income and assets, but it was also springtime and we were stressed. We needed retail therapy: a new dress, a couple trinkets. People want to indulge right now, This is not the time to stop posting your jewelry for sale. People want to buy!