Martin Rapaport called on the industry last week to support small and medium-sized retailers, which are facing increased competition from the majors and digital platforms.
“Jewelers need to know that they are important and deserve the full support of the diamond trade,” the chairman of the Rapaport Group said at the annual Rapaport Breakfast at JCK Las Vegas.
His assertion came after Signet Jewelers foresaw consolidation among independent jewelers, from which it aims to claim market share. The segment accounts for an estimated two-thirds of the US jewelry market, Signet said.
Rapaport asked a panel of experts participating in the discussion what added value independent jewelers offer.
Given that the emotion around jewelry is unique, consumers have to trust their local retailer, stressed David Kellie, CEO of the Natural Diamond Council (NDC). “That’s why the structure of our industry is so different; there’s a large amount of trust that goes into what we sell,” he said.
The personal connection that jewelers can forge with their customers is “everything,” added Aleah Arundale, founder of the Jewelers Helping Jewelers Facebook group.
Sam Indelicato, director of jewelry at supplier RDI Diamonds, argued that technology, along with involvement in the community, could help independents build their reputation in their local environment, because that’s where the consumer is. The panelists agreed, however, that in-store shopping would remain the preferred way of buying jewelry.
Members of the audience join Martin Rapaport for a group photo following his presentation in Las Vegas. (Rapaport News)
“People love to engage with jewelry online, but most people come into the stores because they want human interaction when they make the purchase,” Kellie observed.
Consequently, independent jewelers are selling the experience, and must integrate “clicks and bricks” channels of communication to connect with their local communities, Rapaport added.
“What I’m getting from this is that it’s a process of being in your community and being recognized as a jeweler, and utilizing your strategy for digital presence and converting the client in an honest way that justifies the amount of money it takes to do so,” he explained. “Jewelers need to have confidence in the value of the services and products they sell.”
Watch the full presentation in the video above:
00:00 – Introduction
2:04 – Sierra Leonne
8:40 – Leadership
23:50 – World Diamond Council System of Warranties
24:30 – Independent jewelers
38:22 – Panel discussion
1:16:02 – Jewelry saves real lives
1:20:18 – Demographics
1:23:00 – Conclusion
Main image: (From left) David Kellie, Sam Indelicato, Martin Rapaport, and Aleah Arundale debate the state of independent jewelers during a panel discussion at the breakfast. (Rapaport News)