The Natural Diamond Council recently hosted a webinar answering some of today’s retailers’ most relevant questions. How can jewelry retailers deliver the exceptional experience that consumers expect in a retail environment that is both physical and digital? Actionable answers to this question and more are discussed with the moderator, Milton Pedraza, CEO of The Luxury Institute, Chairman of DataLucent, and one of the world’s leading experts in the luxury industry. As a frequent speaker at corporate events worldwide, Milton is the most quoted global luxury industry expert in top-tier media. Milton is joined by Lorenzo Benazzo, CEO of Clientela, a world-leading solution for acquisition, clienteling, and operations solutions for retailers, as well as Randi Udell, Vice President of London Jewelers, and Andrew Siegel, Chief Operating Officer of Hamilton Jewelers, both leading jewelry retailers with highly successful omnichannel presence.
Andrew and Randi begin by discussing the evolution of their business and how they have continued success for well over 90 years. Their willingness to constantly adapt and extreme focus on the customer experience is a clear connection to their success. As Andrew explains, the fundamentals haven’t changed in 100 years, “the customer wants what they want when they want it,” it’s about using today’s tools to make that happen.
What is the next generation of consumers looking for? Lorenzo identifies three trends in today’s consumers and how technology can come into play in addressing them. Adoption of technology and omnichannel has soared, but that also comes with tech fatigue. He explains using technology to help ease consumers’ tech fatigue and the essential role sales associates play.
Removing friction is the key to successful technology, Lorenzo explains. Sales associates will embrace change and technology if they know it will help them. As Andrew added, Great technology is an extension of great sales associates. They lay out how to make the many necessary tech tools available today work together effectively and efficiently.
Randi gives insight into how she built an Instagram following almost 200 thousand strong and why the platform has become so crucial to their business. “The idea of store hours is over,” says Randi. Social media is another channel to engage with the consumer 24/7 in a consistent and seamless experience as the rest of the brand. As Andrew amplified, they “no longer differentiate between in-store and online.”
What is the future of retail? The panel agrees the brick and mortar store is here to stay, but the brick and mortar store is only part of the story. Lorenzo explains, sales associates will be front and center, whether interacting in person or otherwise; it must be personable and authentic with no distinction across channels. “Sales associates are the next stars.” According to Lorenzo, we are in phase three of the internet, “services,” but contrary to previously held beliefs, those services will not be managed by bots but by people; technology will be there to streamline the process.
The discussion wraps up with a robust Q&A from attendees touching on how to use channels to expand consumer reach, the social media customer and how to reach them, the evolution of current clienteling technology, and how to start a luxury business today. View the full webinar recording to get answers to all of these questions and to hear insight from this panel of unmatched industry experts about today and the future of luxury retail.