Can Jewelry Businesses Adapt to Changes Like the Music Industry?
Here Are the Key Factors
The music industry has been in turmoil since the turn of the century. New technology completely disrupted the tried and true business model of multiple musicians and producers. The rise of peer to peer software led to further losses for the industry and despite these setbacks the industry did not sink as expected.
This post looks at the 11 management lessons jewelry designers and wholesale jewelry stores can learn from the music industry and implement in their business model. How do retailers and store owners retain and attract new customers when the industry requires mercurial reflexes on part of the show runners?
Lesson 1: The Customer Always Comes First
The music industry model went into a slump because they did not really cater to the fans – producers were too busy trying to increase their margins. This glaring flaw was on full display when music piracy reared its head: producers got hit hard, while musicians got off scot-free. In fact, piracy helped unknown artists gain fame!
With web technologies, artisanal wholesale jewelry makers have more platforms than ever to showcase their products… but they need to focus on their target market with thorough demographic research and ensure that they are catering the right aesthetic to the right consumer.
Lesson 2: Focus on the Niche
Niches have always been valuable: there are strong concentrations of passionate consumers around every one. The approach of focusing on niche genres helped certain genre specific music producers to thrive during the downturn.
There are a lot of niche consumers of artisanal jewelry, and there are also a lot of jewelers who are really good catering to a particular aesthetic. Goth and steampunk, art deco and medieval – these are some of the styles that have been making a comeback recently, and it would serve businesses well to target and explore these niches.
Lesson 3: Innovative Pricing Models
It is critical to ensure that the pricing model you have is inclusive of all your target market needs. A good example from the music industry would be Apple Music, with its three-tier subscription offering.
Apple is targeting family users, individual users, and students with different rates – a clever ploy to retain consumers which seems to be working so far. It is definitely a good idea to consider varying rates of jewelry accessories targeted at a multitude of markets for an overall synergistic plan that is both sustainable and covers your whole customer base.
Lesson 4: The emphasis on quality
This is perhaps the most important lesson that can be drawn from the industry: quality is just as important as catering to your customer base. When sales began to dip, the music industry began focusing on high quality, to great result. It is important for wholesale jewelers to cater to the needs of all the customers while maintaining an emphasis on quality jewelry.
Lesson 5: Spotting Bandwagon Effects and jumping on the next big one
The bandwagon effect refers to businesses that spotted the new tread early on, was the first to leverage it, and reaped the highest reward…before other businesses caught on and joined in. It is vital for businesses to ensure that they stay up to date on the latest jewelry trends…and be on the lookout for what aesthetic would be in fashion for a particular season. Jump on that particular style before your competitors do!
A good place to start would be to refer to this piece on the latest trends in jewelry industry in 2017 which showcases a range of styles that would be in fashion this year.
Lesson 6: Set the taste for the consumer
The consumer doesn’t know what he wants – this was the main operating principle behind Apple’s philosophy and the ethos that raised the business from obscurity. Jewelry businesses should take heed, and focus on how best to anticipate the customer’s needs before they even know it themselves!
It always helps to keep an eye on historical trends so that it becomes easier to predict what expectation the customer might have from a particular trend in a particular year. A lot of businesses make the mistake of doling out the same models year after year until they hit a saturation point…and sink. Don’t be one of them.
Lesson 7: Diversification
Diversification was the lifeblood for the music industry. Apple went from offering iTunes as a computer software to integrating its music player into the iPhone and iPad. Another great lesson wholesale jewelry businesses can learn from the industry is to ensure that they are constantly diversifying, providing new and exciting opportunities to their customers by way of a variety of accessories.
Every year, a lot of fashion events showcase a myriad of accessories from bangles to necklaces to integrating fashion with jewelry. This approach would be a great way to reach out to new audiences and ensure that businesses stay relevant.
Lesson 8: Tapping into Social Media to spread the word
Businesses need to constantly expand their brand awareness, looking at all modes of marketing to spread their brand value. One vital untapped branding mode is social media.
With the social media boom and the advent of a plethora of social media tools, it is crucial for wholesale jewelers to focus on which social media tools are important for business and how best to utilize these tools and increase their reach.
This post covers the what social media tools are out there, and how wholesale jewelry businesses could utilize them in order to expand their brand awareness.
Lesson 9: Narratives over bland branding
It is important to have a strong connection with customers, where narrative matters over branding. The crucial element for wholesale jewelers is making sure they are not just communicating bland marketing messages – rather, couple the marketing content with strong narratives that allow businesses to reach out to mass audiences and make a true connection.
Rather than offering tone-deaf platitudes in their business message, why not stay in touch with the consumer’s needs. This will make sure that they don’t come across indifferent to the desires of the consumer and are just pushing products.
Lesson 10: Vision trumps short term gains
The music companies that weathered the worst of the crisis were those with a long term vision. For wholesale jewelry companies, it is important that stay focused on a singular vision – be it related to quality or customer satisfaction.
Having a singular, long-term focus can help wholesale businesses keep their strategies from going astray, and concentrate on execution. A business that is dedicated to their vision can weather the worst of storms.
Lesson 11: Passion trumps profit
A lot of the producers in the industry are in it because they are passionate, and at the end of the day this is what defines them. The important thing for wholesale jewelers to realize – and constantly remind themselves – is why they are in the game in the first place.
Jewelry is an artisanal occupation and devotion to the craft is ultimately what separates the winners from the rest.
The jewelry business has a lot to learn from the music industry. In fact, they actually have many attributes in common! The business cycles keep going up and down and the overall market tends to keep rolling on. The ones that really make the best of the opportunities are the ones that tend to stay afloat with a variety of clever strategies.
Although these strategies could work for any ol’ business, they hold special relevance to wholesale jewelers…because lately it looks the players have lost touch with their consumers.
And that’s a song we’ve heard before.