How Is Lockdown Affecting Jewellery Shops?
Jewellery shops will be among the last retail outlets to open because despite jewellery being an important and sentimental aspect of people's lives, it's not deemed as essential. Initially, it seemed that jewellers would suffer as a result of the lockdown with few people wanting to buy jewellery, but in fact a wave of proposals has occurred during lockdown. Many people had planned elaborate proposals as part of holidays or city breaks, and with those trips off the cards for the time being they have had to improvise.
Choosing an engagement ring can be difficult, especially if your intended isn't the type to wear a lot of jewellery, but the usual trick of casually browsing in a jeweller's window to pick up hints isn't possible. It would ruin the surprise if you asked what style of engagement ring your lover would like, so many people have been ordering online or buying a placeholder ring to propose with, plus the promise of a more personal choice when this is possible.
What many jewellers with online businesses have seen is that there has been a steady sale of rings, as well as other jewellery, but those without an online facility will struggle unless they operate in a very different way (such as through personal shoppers and stylists). When jewellers are allowed to open again it is likely that the biggest sellers will be engagement and wedding rings, especially with the number of weddings that have been postponed this year.
In a physical store staff must be very careful to clean jewellery that is tried on, if they allow this at all. Stock is kept behind glass anyway, so there is minimal risk of cross contamination as long as any pieces that are handled are cleaned properly before being put back. The nature of some jewellery may mean that cleaning with alcohol based products is unsuitable, in which case gloves should be worn to handle and try on this jewellery, unless it is feasible to sanitise the customer's skin before trying anything on.
The nature of jewellery shopping does mean close contact between the items and the customer, even if physical distancing between customers and staff is possible. Remember, when choosing an engagement or wedding ring there will be two customers involved, so ensuring that distancing is observed may mean using an appointment based system and allowing customers to order and collect their items at a designated time.
Jewellers offering piercing services may have to suspend these for a time due to the close proximity of the piercer to the client, but on the plus side this can free up an area of a store for customer space, cleaning stations or displaying more stock. At Amore Argento we sell through jewellers and direct to customers, so we are lucky not to have to rely on physical trade to stay in business. We are taking every precaution possible to keep our staff safe, including social distancing where it is not possible to work from home, regular cleaning of touch points and frequently used equipment and cleaning of all items before they are packed for dispatch.
Our website is built for home shopping, with videos of each piece showing every side, and quick links to matching pieces. This allows our customers to have a truly interacting shopping experience from the comfort of their own homes. We are looking forward to our high street colleagues being able to re-open soon and will do everything we can to support them through this difficult time.