Times are changing the jewellery industry in many places around the world, including Asia. There are several issues affecting jewellery business owners, which is making it harder and harder for them to stay afloat. Retailers in the region are struggling to overcome a variety of problems ranging from workforce issues to high overhead costs, which are affecting their profits. For them to increase their chances of success in the industry, there are a number of solutions to these issues that should be explored. Here’s a look at some of the specific problems plaguing the jewellery industry in Asia, as well as some potential solutions.
The Fight Against Low-Skilled Workers
There are several countries in Asia that have been attempting to keep low-skilled workers away or get them to relocate for some time. This means that jewellers attempting to hire low-wage workers to staff some of their physical establishments are having a hard time doing so. That has created an unusual problem for retailers in the region. Put simply, the population density of most Asian countries provides a large potential customer base, but a lack of workers prevents retailers from opening stores to meet the demand.
Financial Strains are Growing
Another thing worth noting is that many people in some of these regions are feeling the weight of financial woes. The economic realities in some parts of the Asian market are causing many people to either delay making purchases of luxury items like jewellery, or avoid them altogether. Marketing to individuals whose bills are high and pay is low is a challenging proposition for the industry as a whole.
Physical Storefronts Getting Pricier
Jewellers need to come to terms with real estate market fluctuations that are affecting many countries in Asia. Retailers face rents that can go up at any time, which makes it difficult to maintain steady prices and maintain profit margins. Of course, this problem affects budding jewellers far more than established ones, but the issue is still something to pay attention to.
The Vending Machine Solution
To combat the high overhead associated with opening and staffing physical storefronts, jewellery retailers in Asia are beginning to look for different sales channels. One thing some jewellers are doing is using vending machines to sell their pieces. This eliminates the need to hire additional help, but the problem is that these machines are not salespeople. It is also risky to showcase valuable pieces like engagement rings in an unguarded vending machine. The machine is not completely theft-proof, which can put your pieces at risk.
Catering to Niche Markets
Many jewellery shoppers are looking for hand-crafted options. Jewellers can satisfy this desire by offering pieces that have a hand-crafted look or by working with different artists to offer special items. These types of pieces tend to sell at higher prices, as customers are willing to pay higher markups for unique items. The only problem is that designing unique pieces can take longer to complete, not to mention that hiring artists can get quite expensive. For those that can attract a loyal following, however, it is still possible to make a steady profit.
Online May be the Answer
There is no doubt that online shopping is the clear preference in today’s connected world. For many years, though, jewellery retailers tended to avoid online sales, believing that luxury markets still required a personal touch. Online shoppers have started to prove that belief incorrect, though. Today’s savvy internet users are proving more than willing to do the research required to avoid scams and purchase jewellery safely online. In the end, online sales may turn out to be the perfect solution to many of the jewellery industry’s current issues.
Many countries in Asia are changing; it only makes sense that jewellers try to change with them. Physical stores may no longer be the best investment idea, but thankfully solutions like online opportunities are filling the gap, especially because their initial startup costs are quite low. It’s impossible to predict what the future holds for the Asian jewellery market, but for now, it appears that clever retailers are pushing forward despite the obstacles they face to create a market that’s finally ready for the 21st century.