Sunday, July 14, 2024

Michael Donaldson, Explains Why it is Time for Retailers to Think Different – to be Different!

Michael Donaldson, JET Business Network Facilitator and host of the Retail Jeweller’s Congress, shares his thoughts on the need for jewellery retailers to think different to survive and thrive in a changing retail landscape.

This year’s Retail Jewellers’ Congress takes place on Monday, June 24, as part of the NAJ Summit. Congress has always been popular with the members as it’s an opportunity to escape the shop, meet members from other groups and hear from invited experts who contribute their unique perspectives.

Michael Donaldson shares,“Our thinking must change if we are to survive and thrive in the changing world of jewellery retailing!

What may have worked well for you ten or five years ago is not guaranteed to work well this year or next.

Your trusted plans and actions developed over the years, perhaps over the generations, may add to your top-line sales, but what is the cost to your marketing spend, staffing costs, and product margins?

Increasingly, I have been speaking to fewer and fewer jewellery retailers that are managing to increase their top-line sales at the same time as improving their bottom-line profits.

That’s not to say some are successfully increasing both – So what’s their secret?
Well, some have a unique proposition, be that location, service, experience, or expertise, but most have recognised that the world is rapidly changing, and they need to change with it or, better still, be ahead of it!

2024 is a world where consumers continue to shop more online, where business rates disadvantage the high street retailers and favour the e-tailers, and fewer and fewer town/city centre workers (aka consumers) are travelling to their place of work.

  • Across London, 9.5% of office space previously occupied is now empty.
  • Last year, 10,494 retail stores closed.
  • 7,793 were independent stores with 34,390 associated job losses.
  • 23% of consumers said that their town centre ‘no longer caters for their needs’.
  • 32% said my local high street is ‘getting worse’.
  • So, is it any wonder that Christmas footfall was down 4% last year?

It’s not only our traditional way of selling that’s suffering, but what we sell is also suffering.
In the jewellery sector in the last 20 years, the hallmarking of precious metal jewellery has tumbled by 77%, with 27 million fewer items of jewellery being hallmarked.
Even the dependable go-to category of wedding rings is not as reliable as it was, with less than 47% of individuals getting married according to the 2021 census, and research by Civitas suggests that marriage will have all but “fizzled out” in the next 40 years.
And then there’s the growth in purchasing ‘experiences’ not ‘things’ that existed long before it was supercharged by the covid lockdowns.

So, what’s a jewellery retailer to do? Answer – They Must Think Different – if they are to become Different! It was Henry Ford (motor car pioneer) who is alleged to have said, “If you always do what you’ve always done, you will always get what you’ve always got”.

Muhammad Ali (Heavyweight Boxing Champion) once said, “The man who views the world at 50 the same way he did at 20 has wasted 30 years of his life.”

Perhaps the biggest challenge I face when working with business owners and senior management is their resistance to affecting change, i.e. making it happen.
They seek help because they know they need help. They acknowledge the help offered but struggle to make the changes required to help as leaders, team players or individuals because of their Mindset – which is SET.

Or as Stephen Sumner, a retail consultant, puts it, “Those that didn’t adjust the business mindset are now paying a hefty price for business as usual’”.
This year’s Congress Speakers will challenge, inspire, and provide direction and suggestion on how to break through a SET mindset and enable them and their people to Think Different – to become Different.

To Think Differently about digital processes, problem-solving, leading people, taxes, self-management, and personal priorities.”

What is the Retail Jewellers’ Congress?
The Annual Retail Jewellers’ Congress has been a longstanding and popular event for independent jewellery retailers to come together, network and hear from esteemed speakers on topics and challenges reported by the NAJ’s independent jewellery retailer network – the JBN.

Regular Congress attendee Cynthia Cartwright, Commercial Director of Wong’s Jewellers, shares, “Congress offers inspirational speakers, insightful perspectives and invaluable networking opportunities that can really shape business strategies. It’s a vibrant event with a jam-packed schedule to maximise learning opportunities. If you’re looking to improve your business, then you need to be there.”

What is the NAJ Summit?
The extended weekend, taking place from the 22-24 June 2024 at Park Regis Hotel, Birmingham, will once again feature the Valuers’ Conference hosted by the Institute of Registered Valuers and the Retail Jeweller’s Congress hosted by the JET Business Network, creating an unmissable three days of connecting with peers and knowledge-sharing.
NAJ Tickets are priced at day rates, with significant discounts available when booking multiple days or additional tickets.
Receive 20% off the price of a second ticket and 30% off a third ticket when purchasing tickets for multiple staff members.
The day rate includes access to the talks and workshops on your chosen day, plus food and refreshments.

1 day – £245 + VAT (NAJ/IRV members) / £295 + VAT (non-members)
2 days – £360 + VAT (NAJ/IRV members) / £410 + VAT (non-members)
3 days – £455 + VAT (NAJ/IRV members) / £495 + VAT (non-members)

More information:

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