A few times of the year, a simple turning of the page on the calendar reveals not simply tomorrow's date, but triggers a complete shift of thinking.
Early September heralds the beginning of the fall season in the northern hemisphere. Summer vacations are over and school starts again. It's an overnight shift in thinking from leisurely days into a regimented structure for the next 8 to 9 months.
It's time to pack up those summer clothes and evaluate your fall wardrobe. If you're up on current fashions, you won't be packing away those white clothes anymore because the latest trends show that it's acceptable to wear any color, including white, all year long.
While students worldwide are transitioning back to boring classes and homework, there's also a transition in the business world that's taking place. Summer vacations are over for adults too, and it's time for them to get back to serious work.
Although most jewelers usually report a slowdown in business during the summer season, my tracking this year showed a 20% - 22% rise in website visitors to jewelry websites during the summer of 2014 compared to the summer of 2013. I don't have sales figures yet, but my hope is that the extra website traffic translated into sales of some type.
September is an important month for all retail businesses that thrive during the holiday season. It's time to start thinking seriously about, and specifically planning for, November and December.
This time of year also marks a change for me. It's time for me to dig back into my research and compile information that retail jewelers can use to plan out their marketing.
Since 2003, I've been watching every year as the latest fashion trends work their way into online advertising. The ubiquity of social media now allows everyone to see the latest fashions from around the world. Fashion awareness that once took a few years to migrate from Europe to the States now takes seconds via Instagram. Interior designers, graphic designers, architects, clothing designers, and jewelry designers are all influenced by the socially shared images from every corner of the globe.
A few years ago, the rise of popularity of the color green influenced many designers simultaneously around the world via social media sharing. Eventually this led to Pantone choosing the color emerald as the 2013 color of the year. Pantone doesn't predict future colors; they watch what's already happening and tell you what colors are poised to explode into consciousness worldwide. They simply give it that last needed kick into the spotlight.
Although those fashions shared via Instagram or other social networks aren't immediately accessible, that doesn't stop people from searching for e-commerce websites or local stores carrying those fashions. This consumer behavior is something that retail jeweler can capitalize on.Here's a blogging idea that retail jewelers could use to feed into this rapid desire for new fashions...
Watch the latest fashion trends and post photos and designer names on your website with a write-up about them. You should blog about them even if you don't carry those styles in your store. Then monitor your Google Webmaster Tools to see if your site is attracting people who are searching for those fashions. This will help you evaluate the worthiness of a new line or trend for your store.
Alternatively, you could blog about clothing trends and how they match the jewelry you already have in your store. This tactic might help you sell your current inventory, but it relies on creating a connection with people already wearing the trending clothes you are matching with.
I'm not saying that everyone is aware of current trends, or that they will even notice them until they are staring them in the face. As an example, I bought a new suit in France in April 2014, then later brought it back to New Jersey with me. The dry cleaner across from my home in NJ wanted to know where I got the suit because he'd never seen anything like it. Meanwhile it's already common in Europe. I assume he'll be seeing more suits like it soon.
Consumers aren't just searching for the latest fashion trends. They are first seeing them on their mobile devices through Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, and even Google+. Seeing them socially, triggers their interest to search for them, and those mobile devices offer rapid search ability from anywhere.
The number of mobile users visiting jewelry websites over the last 12 months (Sept '13 - Aug '14) averages out to about 40%, which is 10% higher than the previous year (Sept '12 - Aug '13). Positioning your website with the latest in fashion information will allow those 40% of users to find you faster.
But a 40% mobile user base also means you can reach them faster when you want to, if you are using mobile marketing wisely.
Keeping up with the latest social media marketing and email marketing methods will allow you to position your message in front of your existing customers via mobile. This is the type of positioning that your marketing agency should be able to do for you.
It's time to shift our thinking from the relaxing warm days of summer and into a more strategic thinking needed for the upcoming holiday season. You're going to need a marketing plan, but my professional opinion is that the more successful approaches over the next 4 months will include a seamless mix of social via mobile, interesting website engagement, and in-store awareness so employees can close the sales that are initiated online
For me, I'll sift through everything I have, to serve up whatever marketing data I think you will need for this season. Look for it throughout this month.