by Abe Sherman – CEO, BIG – Buyers Intelligence Group

June 9, 2020

In the newsletter Death of a Salesman, I wrote about how selling in our industry urgently needed to evolve in two ways; the selling process and the adoption of new technology. Sales reps have to become sales consultants and virtual meetings would be replacing many in-person sales calls. This is as true for retail stores as it is for the manufacturers selling to them. We are excited to share with you the solution for both retailers and vendors:

We are honored to introduce the industry to our latest partnership with BOSS Logics as we roll out together™, an online portal to facilitate virtual sales sessions.

For retail stores: Imagine you and your customer are participating in a Zoom-like video call, where each of you have the option to use your cameras to see each other, and your inventory is displayed on the screen in real time! Oh, I know what you’re thinking – they can just go to our website – but noooo, this is very different. This will only show the merchandise you have in stock, just the same as if you took it from the showcase, presented it to your customer, and then set it onto a counterpad. This is live and interactive – your sales team will be speaking with the customers as if they were in your store – but without masks!

Since we refresh your data overnight, and therefore have your on-hand inventory in the system, the inventory you show the customer is available for immediate display, consideration and purchase.

Let’s take a closer look at how all of this works:

Inside the jewelry store, you may have only one couple shopping, but all four of your sales associates can still be busy with customers. One might be texting with a customer via ClientBook™ to set up an appointment. Another might be in a together™ session showing watches that just arrived to one of his best customers, while your third associate is live chatting with a potential customer on the store’s website. And our fourth associate can be working with the couple actually in the store shopping.

This extends to your back-offices as well, where together™ provides a new way for buyers and manufacturer’s sales consultants to review sales and on-hand inventory by collection, category, price-points and styles. together™ then lets sales consultants go beyond the reports and use hi-res images and videos to showcase an assortment of merchandise that presents the best opportunity for growth, or new styles that fit the category/price point criteria the store needs.

For Manufacturers: I can’t imagine the cost savings to our industry when manufacturer’s sales consultants are able to interact with retailers in such an efficient way. Sales consultants won’t need to drive three hours to see a jeweler, wait another hour until he finishes with a customer, sit in their office for two more hours showing the line in between phone calls and staff questions and then head back out for another drive, only to get a $10,000 order. What a time suck! Well, no more, thank-you-very-much.

But I can imagine the efficiency of spending 45 minutes doing the inventory and sales analysis from the comfort of their homes, and another hour in a together™ meeting reviewing the results, making recommendations, taking an order and scheduling the next together™ session. Instead of one or two on-site visits a day, a sales consultant will be able to easily double that. In-person visits won’t stop of course, there will always remain great reasons for visiting clients, but they don’t have to be as frequent, stressful or expensive.

I haven’t been this optimistic about our industry’s future in a very long time. For years, the talk was that Internet sellers were going to continue to take away market share; that thousands of stores would close, there wouldn’t be sales reps on the road, etc. But now? Now, all throughout our industry, cost-effective solutions are coming to market that will reinvigorate the independent jeweler’s market position and manufacturers will be able to dramatically lower their cost of doing business. We can adopt, pivot, train and engage much faster than any other segment of the industry (the majors or online sellers, etc.). And no one has to wait on these things – they are here now.

We all expected new technology to slowly be adapted by the jewelry industry. Had you asked me three months ago, I would have said it would take ten years. But COVID changed how people will shop (and sell) greatly accelerating the process. Ask me now, and everything will look different in 10 months, not 10 years.

Welcome to a brand new industry. Welcome to together™.