10 | The Jewelry Business Magazine Financially things have been pretty good for the economy lately, the Dow Jones has been at record levels and interest rates are low. Things are looking pretty solid across the country. Many stores are achieving their best ever results. Why fix what isn’t broken? But for those of us who have been in this industry a while we know that things always move in cycles. Like a farmer who harvests in summer for the winter feed we need to prepare ourselves for a change in the economy that will happen at some point or another. The natural response is to keep doing what works when things are working, however, counter-intuitively, this is the best time to make changes in your business when you have the fat to handle it. Despite the mostly positive results many shopping habits are beginning to change. Online has had an impact on consumer behavior as has social media, which often sees people keen to share their experiences rather than their possessions. The highly publicized problems of companies like Toys R Us and Payless have shown the problems that even big companies have in the bricks and mortar space, and even successful retailers like Gap and Victoria Secrets are culling more stores than usual. More store closures have been announced so far in 2019 than all of 2018 yet many agree, including the companies who manage the liquidations such as Great American Group, that the closures are more a reflection of how retail is changing than a sign that it is in any sort of decline. The time to ask questions and make changes is now. The most successful companies have always changed ahead of the need, not after it. You should be asking yourself the following questions in terms of where your business is. By David Brown IT’S NEVER BEEN MORE IMPORTANT TO REINVENT YOURSELF David Brown David Brown is President of the Edge Retail Academy, an organization devoted to the ongoing measurement and growth of jewelry store performance and profitability. For further information about the Academy’s management mentoring and industry benchmarking reports contact inquiries@edgeretailacademy. com or Phone toll free (877) 5698657 WHO IS MY CUSTOMER? WHAT DO THEY WANT? HOW DO THEY WANT IT? WHEN DO THEY WANT IT? It seems the simplest of questions and yet it’s one that leaves so many store owners stumped. We can all be guilty of trying to cater to everyone and this doesn’t widen the market as much as it increases the competition. Yes, sometimes the best questions are the shortest. Have you asked your customers what they want and more to the point, do you believe them? Surveys can be a valuable source of information, but they are notorious for their bias. People will say what they think you want to hear or sometimes not even truly know what it is they want. Getting past this surface response can be the trick but if you can delve in further the payback can be gold This may seem a strange question but these days it’s more about the experience. Customers have no earthly use for a diamond ring from a practical point of view, it’s more about why they get it and the experience of how they receive it, and this is a key component where the jeweler can play a part. What are you doing to make the moment memorable? Now more than ever we live in an era of instant gratification. Turnaround times must be yesterday; a tough ask on a make that’s for sure! But you don’t have to be yesterday just quicker than everyone else. Zara re- invented clothing retail on the back of its turnaround time from design to storefront. Can you do the same? One thing we can agree on is that retail will never again be what it used to be. We can complain or we can change. The choice is ours.