During Lockdown Level 4, we must close the shop; the streets are empty, no one is around, Nelson is a ghost town. It’s like a switch has been turned, and retail is dead. Business overheads still go on and soon start to mount up.
Not all people understand the costs of running a business. Rent must still be paid, insurance, phones, power, eftpos machines, bank fees, should I continue? Contracts, alarm monitoring, ACC levies, accounting software, the list goes on. “Oh, you get the wage subsidy,” they say. Yea, that only covers a percentage of the wages, and you still have to pay tax on that as well.
At Level 3 we must still stay closed, as our business requires direct people interaction. A few people ask about online shopping and how is that working for us? Online shopping has its place. Personally, yes, I’ve used it, and it’s great. Some jewellery shops do offer online shopping. Do we do online shopping? Not at all. We don’t have online shopping available. We have a shop on the main street in Nelson, and that is our shop!
Our business maintains quality customer service that online cannot offer in any way. What we do and have done for years is, offer a service to people all over the country, where they courier us their items, and we work with them via email; we repair their jeweller and return it to them, or we remodel their jewellery and do this via 3d design. It works as they can design their jewellery while still at work or live remotely where they don’t even have manufacturing jewellers around.
Level 2, and we can open! We open the doors, and is it business as usual? It is for us. However, we have noticed many people that are now living in fear and simply don’t like continuing life as they used to. They have become afraid.
Our customers? They are not afraid, and I believe it is partially because both Jason and I have no fear and value the human interaction that comes with our profession. This relaxed and inviting atmosphere we create reflects on our customers, and they, as a result, also feel relaxed reassured.
Now, where are we? Flat out, to be honest. People are still getting their jewellery repaired, watch batteries still go flat and need changing, people still get married and still require engagement rings, even remakes using customers own materials.
Have we noticed a new trend? Yes, we have. People have a new outlook on life with the things they feel they deserve, and talking with some other retailers, they too have noticed this — the “Now” attitude. People who have been putting things off or waiting for the right time seem to be thinking differently and just doing it Now!
Where do we have the advantage? One advantage we have is the personal service provided with real people interaction that will always set a “service-based business” ahead of any online shopping experience where there is zero personal service and zero people interaction.
People enjoy being treated like real human beings with feelings; this personal service and interaction make them feel welcomed. Most importantly, they feel valued as the individual they are whenever they walk into a shop.
You would be surprised at the number of people who come into our shop just to say hi, grab a hug, throw a bit of banter, both men and woman, young and old, whatever race, and whatever gender they identify as they are all people.
Any business that can give personal service over online shopping will see a return time and time again from customers that want to come into your shop, not just to buy something but to be there and feel valued and treated like they matter, because they do, we all do.
All the best and take care,