Believe it or not?
Should you believe everything you read? We all are aware of the litany of false information on the Internet. Headlines are often sensational. Paid content is often mistaken for real news content. And is there such a thing anymore as real news?
Even within our own trade and retail-focused publications, which are not hard-news centric, there is article after article with information which:
- do not necessarily tell the whole story
- do not necessarily relate to your specific business
And yet, these very same articles may persuade you to think twice about many of your business decisions from marketing, to staffing, to inventory. When, in reality, some of these articles have no pertinence to you at all. You can’t believe every article you read about retail because all retail is not necessarily your retail. And there are times you need to read well below the headlines. Let alone well between the lines.
Example numero uno. There was a recent article in one of our trade publications with the headline, “Online Sales Soar, Strengthening Signet’s Q4”. Now, if I never read beyond the headline, I would certainly think this was a banner year (and quarter) for this company. Yes, it’s true online transactions were up 71% year over year, same quarter. For the fiscal year, however, overall sales were down 15%. More importantly, after scanning the headline, local retail jewelers will begin to think, “Why aren’t my online sales this robust? Why didn’t our online sales “soar”? Are we woefully behind the curve? Is something wrong with our own marketing that isn’t driving that same level of robust sales?” The answer to those questions is most likely no. If you are a local fine jewelry retail store, most people will still prefer to touch and feel the product prior to purchase. And truthfully, that is what you should be shooting for. Connecting with your customer should always remain one of your highest priorities. Mall stores are on a steady decline. They are pretty much standing with one leg out of the grave. If you investigate further, who really wanted to step foot in a mall during the pandemic? And, I would clearly ask yourself, is that customer your customer? What was the average price-point sold online? Is that price-point your price-point? Oh yes, some important information like the average price-point was missing from that article. The article is not false. It provided the sales reporting facts most certainly from a press release. Again, an interesting read? Maybe. Is there anything in this article that should change the course of your business? No.
Example number two. Another article mentioned this fact when speaking to the jewelry industry: “With digital purchasing already close to 15 percent of all retail sales and likely to continue accelerating its rate of growth, there will be considerable opportunities in this area in the years ahead.” I am hopeful that statistic is true. But what percentages and facts are specific to the fine jewelry industry versus “all retail sales”? This is not to say that you shouldn’t continue to build upon your digital prowess. Or that online buying isn’t an area you should be concerned with. There are reports of “jewelry” purchasing online with a multitude of percentages. Just Google that question online. And yet, I could not find a single research article that specifically addressed “fine jewelry” or jewelry of a specific price-point or more. The category jewelry will and does include everything from costume to silver charms to truly fine jewelry. There are industry researchers who are paid lots of money to do the research, and our publications report on those findings, as they should. But they also should report on how the research was conducted; how many people were interviewed; what were the demographic breakdowns; income levels; areas of the country, and so forth. And yet, we are rarely supplied with the support information that is truly important to know.
So, should you believe everything you read about the retail business? Or should you ask yourself some very important questions? Perhaps the latter is the way to go.
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