Last week we held a virtual Growth & Learning Network meeting for CMJ retailers, where amongst other topics, attendees discussed retail strategies for the next few weeks in light of the recent second lockdown in England.
During the meeting, Gemma Murphy of Jack Murphy Jewellers in Newry, Northern Ireland, shared that her store has found that virtual appointments – held over Zoom, Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp to suit the customer – have worked tremendously well since the first lockdown in March. She has had particular success with wedding ring sales, where the store already has ring size information on file for the customer from an engagement ring sale.
There are many benefits to offering virtual appointments – unlike in the “real world”, you can contact the customer in advance to find out about what they are looking for and what they are looking to spend, so that you can prepare a selection of relevant products in advance. While the customer may not be able to hold the product, they can see it clearly and even, in the case of wedding rings, see it being worn next to a ring of the same style as their engagement ring (since you will know what that is because you already have the information or will have asked for a photo in advance).
What do you need to hold virtual appointments?
As well as knowing how to use Zoom and similar platforms, you will ideally need an online booking system for customers to easily choose the date and time that suits them. Once a customer has booked an appointment time, you can then send them a confirmation message and reminders about their appointment, keeping them engaged and informed and to ensure they then turn up (or let you know if they can’t).
Virtual appointments and experiences will continue to grow going forward, and you may find that you continue to offer them even beyond lockdowns. But if you’re not already offering them, it’s something you can introduce quite easily so that you can continue to “see” and sell to your customers.
For more tips on how to maximise your digital offering quickly and easily, check out our post with 10 tips to get digital this Christmas.