Columnists

On Data: 10 Tips for Coping with Coronavirus Fallout

ColumnistsMar 20, 2020

On Data: 10 Tips for Coping with Coronavirus Fallout

In this special edition of On Data, Sherry Smith talks virtually connecting with customers and compiling a cheat sheet for employees on available resources.

Sherry Smith is director of business development for data and consulting company The Edge Retail Academy. She can be reached at sherry@edgeretailacademy.com.
Every day is unique as we navigate the unchartered waters of attempting to contain this global pandemic, COVID-19.

We are faced daily with making difficult decisions that affect not only us but our families, our staff and our communities.

While there are many unknown variables currently, there appear to be a few common concerns.

My area is forcing all nonessential businesses to close; how do I approach this?

What about my staff? Do I pay them or should be this be unpaid leave?

While there is no one right answer for everyone, there are things that you can continue to do to be proactive and while some of these might sound cliché, they do matter.

First, if you are a retailer that must close due to local mandate or a dramatic decline in foot traffic, that doesn’t mean your business shouldn’t be accessible.

1. Utilize chat features. If you’re a retailer currently using Podium, then you already have this feature. If you don’t, I highly recommend you get one set up immediately. This will allow you to communicate to your customers via your website. Let them know you’re still available to assist them. Use split shifts to man your chat log, which also will allow you to offer some hours to your personnel.

2. Update your website regularly. Post daily about your adjusted hours, closing, etc. Also, post contact information that includes email, texting and chat details. Let customers know you will be posting daily to keep them coming back to your site.

3. Stay social. Use Instagram, Facebook and social media as tools to communicate to your customers and community.

4. Utilize email blasts. The vast majority of people are house-bound and are currently attached to their devices. This is a perfect time to send out weekly email blasts. In addition to letting your customers know you’re accessible and still doing business—albeit remotely—email blasts also let them know services you might still be offering, such as curbside pickup or deliveries. Feature those specially priced pieces you’ve been anxious to move.

5. Don’t forget your devices. Take some photos of your products to use when working with your customers via email and/or chat. Our devices are a great selling tool and never was there a better time to use them. Use Skype, FaceTime, Zoom, etc., to enhance the connection. It’s impressive how interactive and personal the experience can be on those type of apps.

Secondly—and I would rank this as extremely important—help your employees work through this challenging time by staying aware of any and all programs designed to assist them through their potential unpaid leave.

1. General aid. Find out what programs and subsidizing are available for them.

2. Credit card deferment. Apple Card already has offered deferred payments through this challenging time. Encourage your staff to contact their creditors to see if they’re offering the same, especially if they’re on unpaid leave for the unforeseen future. Many credit card companies are already taking a proactive approach to help people through these unusual times.

3. Federal government aid. Learn the details about the relief bill Congress passed and the president signed into law earlier this week. According to CBS News, the bill includes free coronavirus testing, increased funding for Medicaid and state unemployment insurance, and paid sick, family and medical leave for workers at companies with 500 employees or fewer.

Are you aware of these details? Be prepared to discuss them with your employees, and please note: as of this writing, there are other bills being debated in Congress, including a $1 trillion economic stimulus plan that could include $250 million in aid for small businesses and checks for individual Americans.

4. Mortgage relief. Options are available. Find out the details and share the information with your staff. Other entities, including utility companies and student loan servicers, are following suit.

5. Put it all together. Compile a cheat sheet for your team to help assuage their worry. Make sure you include community and government assistance programs.


As to whether your employees take unpaid leave versus paid leave, that is reliant on your financial picture. Be smart and prudent. Assess your savings versus operating costs. 

Adjustments made now can mean saved jobs later. 

Be transparent in your conversations with your team. Offer a weekly or biweekly chat to update them as the effects of this virus continue to unfold.

Finally, and this might be the cliché part, try to remain positive. 

None of us have been here before—and may we never be again—but we’re all in this together. This is the time for us to lean on each other, to brainstorm solutions, and to continue to focus on the things we can control.

Be empathetic. Be proactive. Be a role model. There is light at the end of the tunnel. 
Sherry Smithis director of business development for data and consulting company The Edge Retail Academy.

The Latest

Supplier BulletinJun 24, 2022
AGTA GemFair™ Denver is the Place to Be in September!

Sponsored by AGTA

Recorded WebinarsJun 24, 2022
Vegas Jewelry Recap: The Editors Weigh In

Watch the webinar in which National Jeweler’s editors talk about jewelry market week trends and their predictions for the rest of 2022.

MajorsJun 24, 2022
Banter by Piercing Pagoda Celebrates Pride with ‘SayGay’ Necklace

All proceeds up to $25,000 will benefit the It Gets Better Project, a nonprofit that supports LGBTQ+ youth.

Brought to you by
Discover The Extraordinary Italian Jewelry In Las Vegas!

Experience all the Italian Jewelry market has to offer in Las Vegas.

CollectionsJun 24, 2022
Piece of the Week: Marie Lichtenberg’s Hidden Message Locket

It’s a reminder that life is best lived with discretion.

Weekly QuizJun 23, 2022
This Week’s Quiz
Test your knowledge of the latest jewelry news with this quick test.
Take the Quiz
TechnologyJun 24, 2022
Cloud-Based POS Software Jewel360 Launches for Jewelry Retailers

The end-to-end software allows for real-time control over all sales, inventory, repairs, customer communications, and marketing.

EditorsJun 23, 2022
Antique Show Observations From a First-Time Attendee

Associate Editor Lenore Fedow shares her impressions of the Las Vegas Antique Jewelry & Watch Show and a few of her favorite finds.

Brought to you by
3 Reasons to Offer Estate Buying at Your Store

Provide your customers with a seamless selling solution by partnering with Windsor Jewelers, Inc.

GradingJun 23, 2022
AIGS Launches Grading Report for ‘Santa Maria’ Aquamarine

The Asian Institute of Gemological Sciences aims to set a color standard for the trade name.

SourcingJun 23, 2022
Rough Diamond Sales Rise Again for De Beers

Sales were up 36 percent year-over-year in June and are pacing 24 percent ahead of last year at this point.

AuctionsJun 23, 2022
Auction House Freeman’s Appoints First Rep in Florida

Kate Della Monica, a senior specialist in the Jewelry and Watches department, will relocate to the Sunshine State.

Lab-GrownJun 22, 2022
LVMH Luxury Ventures Sinks Money Into Lab-Grown Diamond Start-Up

LVMH’s investment arm has taken a stake in Lusix, a lab-grown diamond company based in Israel.

AuctionsJun 22, 2022
Here’s How Two 100-Plus-Carat Diamonds Did at Auction

Sotheby’s New York put a colorless diamond and a fancy deep orange-brown diamond up for sale last week, with mixed results.

CrimeJun 22, 2022
Leviev Diamonds Launches Bracelet to Help ‘Tinder Swindler’ Victims

Profits will help them recoup financial losses.

MajorsJun 22, 2022
Swarovski Names First Non-Family CEO

Retail veteran Alexis Nasard will step in as CEO on July 4.

SourcingJun 22, 2022
Edward Asscher to Remain WDC President for Another Year

The organization also extended the terms of Vice President Feriel Zerouki and Treasurer Ronnie VanderLinden.

IndependentsJun 21, 2022
Jeweler Tommy Glatz, Known for Being Creative and Kind, Dies at 68

Glatz owned and operated Glatz Jewelers in Aliquippa, Pennsylvania for more than 40 years.

Events & AwardsJun 21, 2022
24 Karat Club of Southern California Will Honor These Industry Leaders

The organization will present three awards at its annual dinner, dance, and gala in October.

MajorsJun 21, 2022
David Yurman Hires Chief of People, Strategy

Former McKinsey partner Emily Yueh marks new president Evan Yurman’s first hire.

TrendsJun 17, 2022
Britney Spears Wore Over $500K of Stephanie Gottlieb Diamonds at Her Wedding

The New York jeweler also made the pop star’s wedding bands.

AuctionsJun 17, 2022
5-Carat Paraiba Tourmaline Ring to Hit the Auction Block

It’s predicted to sell for up to $484,000 during the Bonhams Hong Kong Jewels and Jadeite auction on June 22.

Events & AwardsJun 17, 2022
WJA Foundation to Offer Tech Scholarships for Women of Color

The recipient will receive up to $17,500 toward a tech-focused certification or program of their choice.

CollectionsJun 17, 2022
Piece of the Week: Gemella’s ‘Stella’ Necklace

It’s as versatile as it is glamorous.

Supplier BulletinJun 16, 2022
HiBid Is A Jewelry Lover’s Best Friend

Sponsored by HiBid

TechnologyJun 16, 2022
Cartier, Amazon Suing ‘Influencer,’ Sellers Over Counterfeit ‘Love’ Jewelry

The alleged scheme involving fake “Love” bracelets, necklaces and rings was designed to circumvent Amazon’s counterfeit detection tools.

MajorsJun 16, 2022
Helzberg CEO Beryl Raff to Retire

Chief Financial Officer Brad Hampton will take over as the retailer’s new CEO.

CollectionsJun 16, 2022
Kirk Kara Unveils ‘Rayana’ Collection, New Bridal Styles at Luxury Show

Its new collection with subtle swirl designs draws inspiration from the family’s Armenian roots.

×

This site uses cookies to give you the best online experience. By continuing to use & browse this site, we assume you agree to our Privacy Policy