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Retail is Dead! Long Live Retail!

Any proclamation that retail is dead is premature and uninformed. It’s true that retail has paid a hefty toll during the pandemic, and will continue to do so until it is well under control, but retail isn’t going away.

It’s just changing.

 In fact, ask anyone what they miss during these times of staying-in, and one thing always comes up: Shopping! Consumers miss browsing in their favorite stores, the fun of the hunt for new things to buy, and yes, even sales people. So it is reasonable to forecast that as new treatments and vaccines for Covid-19 come online, people will return to retail shopping with enthusiasm.

Even Blue Nile, which by all accounts is poised to take full advantage of 2020’s digital holiday selling season, has continued to open physical stores in 2020. Independent retailers must continue building digital capabilities in order to compete with strong internet jewelry sellers, but that’s not the whole story! Retailers have a strong competitive advantage in their bricks-and-mortar locations. Business owners who focus on building a digital bridge between online and physical store sales will be in the best position to sell well during the 2020 holidays, and also when consumers come flooding back to stores in 2021.

So what do you need to do to be prepared?

First, take a look at your selling strategy. You must be prepared to deliver both online and in store for this year’s holidays. Online sales will be robust for lower price point items, and most retailers are shoring up their silver and plated (bridge) collections to serve both more conservative buying and easy digital sales this year.

Next, be prepared to work more creatively for high end sales, and that means more flexible scheduling and remote meetings. Using the VDB app, you can easily jump on a video call with a customer, share your screen, and do diamond and gemstone searches together using screen share technology. Who says you have to be sitting across a counter looking at live diamonds to make a sale? Yes, it’s more easily done in the store, but that opportunity will continue to be limited at least during the 2020 holidays. So jump on those video calls, overcome the lack of physical proximity with great relationship building, and get those sales!

Later, when your customers return comfortably to your store, you can continue selling that way by sharing the VDB app with them in person. You’ll be delighted to see how much you reduce those back-and-forth memos with diamond dealers while increasing the number of sales you close. What? Save time and sell more? We like the sound of that!

Another advantage Blue Nile and other strong internet jewelry brands have is the ability to sell using apps. As you’ve probably learned, developing custom apps is expensive, and it’s even more expensive to update and maintain them over the long term. But don’t worry – VDB has you covered there too. We can white label our app suite, turning the entire marketplace with its communications and sharing tools into a custom app for your brand. Your customers will never know it’s a white label app. All they’ll know I that you can take care of them in the store, at home, and on-the-go.

Finally, cash flow continues to be the element that separates the truly competitive from the stressed-and-sleepless. Take a bite out of your cash flow challenges by offering thousands of diamonds, gemstones, and lab-grown diamonds on the app, and only bring inventory into the store when you have a clearly qualified customer. VDB’s highly visual, interactive interface makes it easy for your customers to make decisions about diamonds and gemstones, in a way that simply isn’t possible using descriptions and specifications.

If you own a retail jewelry store, you’re sitting on a gold mine. But it’s not enough to know the gold is in there, somewhere. You have to work creatively to find new veins and bring them to market. Using VDB’s app suite of selling tools and marketplace, you can bridge the gap between in store, video selling, and online. Meet your customers wherever they are, and however they want to shop, and you’ll be golden.