Just imagine if you were a product manager for a jewelry store. Your business would rely on people passing by, being drawn in by something that you had in the window, talking with a sales person, trying jewelry on, and then, with a little luck, buying something. Then the Covid-19 virus strikes and all of your customers start to stay at home – nobody is walking by any more. What’s a product manager to do?
The Impact Of The Virus
Prior to the arrival of the virus, jewelry store product managers had the types of plans that you would expect them to have. They were looking for ways to open more bricks-and-mortar stores and perhaps even planning some international expansion. The virus has changed all of this. Product managers now need to change their product development definition. New options are now required. One thing that is being looked into is a curb-side option for buying jewelry. Additionally, they have had to change their online presence. Since people can no longer come into the stores, adding the ability to try on jewelry virtually online is a major new feature that needs to be rolled out.
One of the biggest impacts to the jewelry store business has been the explosion in online shopping. With customers being trapped at home, more and more of them have been visiting jewelry store sites online. Shopping from home has become more popular. What product managers have been seeing is that it appears as though people are trying to use jewelry to reach out to the ones that they love when they can’t actually see them. If product managers can find ways to make this happen then they’ll have something to add to their product manager resume.
The things that are going to keep jewelry stores going through the virus period are going to be the retail stores and their online presence. The fact that they have stores that customers know about and can return to once the virus stay-at-home orders have been lifted will be critical to getting the business back on its feet. In the meantime, having an online retail presence allows the store’s customers to continue to see the products that are available and to make purchases even while the retail stores are closed.
Making It Through The Virus
The arrival of the virus and the closing of retail stores means that product managers have had to make a lot of tough decisions. These have included salary reductions, furloughs and layoffs. These difficult decisions can be made easier by offering employees paid leave options and getting some employees to take salary reductions. These types of activities allows the company to retain more people. Additional cost-cutting also needs to be done such as finding ways to reduce the capital-expense budget.
Reopening the retail stores is something that the product managers are going to have to do very carefully. The goal will be to come up with ways to come back effectively while maintaining safety policies. Making sure that the stores have email addresses so that they can contact their customers will be key. Likewise, staggering appointments so that they don’t end up with too many people in the store at one time will be critical.
Product managers will need to make sure that workers at retail stores are always wearing masks. They can’t make customers wear masks, but they can provide masks for customers within the store. Product managers need to understand that an experience like this can cause everyone in the company to become closer and this is something that they can use in the future to move the company forward.
What All Of This Means For You
The jewelry business is very much a people business. That’s why the arrival of the Covid-19 virus has been so devastating for it – everyone is staying at home and nobody is in the stores buying jewelry. There is nothing in our product manager job description that tells us how to deal with a situation like this. Jewelry store product managers have had their lives turned upside down and now they have to figure out how to make it through this pandemic.
Having customers come to the bricks-and-mortar jewelry stores is no longer an option with the virus in town. This means that product managers have to investigate new ways to sell jewelry such as curb-side pickup and adding the ability to try jewelry on virtually online. Having stores and an online presence are the two things that will keep a jewelry store going through this period. Tough decisions about staffing have had to be made. Reopening the stores will have to be done carefully. Masks will have to be worn. This experience will cause everyone at the store to become closer and that should be a good thing in the future.
Nobody could have predicted the arrival of the Covid-19 virus or what its impact would have been. However, jewelry store product managers need to understand that they need to take steps to keep their stores in business while the virus is here. Using their online resources to keep sales moving now and planning for how to successfully reopen their stores will be the key to the store’s success. As long as the product managers proceed carefully, they stand a good chance of making it out of this pandemic and afterwards perhaps even being in a better place than they were before it arrived.
– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World Product Management Skills™
Question For You: Do you think that customers without face masks should be allowed into a jewelry store?
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What We’ll Be Talking About Next Time
If you are a product manager and you really want to make your life complicated, then what you should do is decide to develop a health care product. This is going to make your life complicated in a bunch of different ways. First off, any product that you create is going to have to be approved by federal regulators before people can use it to solve health care issues. Next, you’re going to have to find a way for people’s health care insurance to pay for it. Somewhat amazingly, there are still some product managers who choose to work in this market. These product managers now think that changing their product development definition and adding artificial intelligence (AI) to their products just might be what they need to do.