“Jewelry stores will still exist in ten years’ time”

Dr. Rothenstein Dr. Rothenstein from the Institute for Trade Research is expert for online marketing and consumer behavior

Dr. Rothenstein, multi-channel, omnichannel or cross-channel—there is no doubt about this: using several sales and marketing channels ensures a company’s continued existence. But what about a guarantee for higher turnover?

Of course, a guarantee for higher turnover will never exist. However, a factor that is always crucial for success is that dealers make their activities and offers consistently revolve around the customer. Only then will they be able to hold their own in the marketplace.

According to a survey conducted by the Institute for Trade Research (IFH), the share of the online segment in the German overall market of the jewelry and watch industry is expected to rise to 16.7 percent by 2018. Compared with other industries, this does not seem much. In your opinion, what is this due to?

Besides confidence in the dealer, the possibility of having a tangible haptic experience plays a key role in the decision whether or not to buy a piece of genuine jewelry. Often customers wishing to buy high-quality jewelry and watches would like to have an authentic impression of the quality of the materials used, for example. Here, brick-and-mortar retailers can make full use of one of their strong points. And then there is also the aspect of confidence. Particularly in the case of high-priced articles, customers frequently would like to get to know the dealer.

What kind of “homework” will soon have to be done in the jewelry and watch industry with respect to our society’s digitalization?

Consumers increasingly use different channels in order to collect information on products and services before buying them. As a result, what is known as cross-channel behavior is gaining in importance. Precisely in the group of individuals under age 30, the share of those who go shopping in both physical and web-based stores already exceeds 50 percent today. Jewelry and watch dealers must take account of these changing consumer habits. In this context, there is particularly strong demand for cross-channel concepts linking the different information and purchasing channels with each other.

Will the jewelry store—in other words traditional physical trading—still exist in ten years’ time, or in what sense will there be any changes in this respect?

The brick-and-mortar jewelry store will certainly still exist in a decade. Particularly in the high-price segment, the share of consumers exclusively indulging in online shopping will most probably continue to be relatively small in the future, too. However, jewelry retailers, just like retailers in other industries, will naturally be encouraged to offer their customers a holistic shopping experience across all channels. In the future, consumers will even less distinguish between the different channels in which a company is operating than up to now. They expect the same quality and shopping experience at all touch points. And, of course, they would like to switch between channels smoothly, for example view and reserve a watch online in order to pick it up in the retail shop.

Personal details:
As part of his activities for the Institute for Trade Research Cologne (IFH Köln), the ECC Köln brand and Mittelstand 4.0-Agentur Handel, which both belong to the Institute, Dr. Jens Rothenstein has dealt with consumer and business customer behavior as well as with the digital transformation of B2C and B2B trading companies since 2013. He brings experience in the fields of online marketing, consumer behavior and market research from his previous career stages and doctoral studies. Jens Rothenstein is a highly sought-after speaker in the context of e-commerce and cross channel and a lecturer at the University of Applied Sciences Rheinische Fachhochschule Köln.