It goes without saying that Covid-19 & the Omicron variant has changed the retail experience - lockdowns altered both how we shopped and what we wanted to buy.
Online shopping became our only option with stores closed, which made us realise the value of shopping in person for certain items.
Meanwhile, spending less money on experiences caused some of us to instead invest in higher value items for our homes and wardrobes.
When it comes to jewellery, here’s what the pandemic taught us about the best way to buy, and the trends that we will continue to see moving forward.
Hygiene measures continue to be important
Hygienic shopping environments will continue to be demanded by customers moving forward, even with high vaccination rates and with vaccine passes required to enter stores. At Orsini we are more than willing to adapt to offer the best protection possible.
All our staff are triple vaccinated to ensure we minimise the spread of the virus. Sarah, the Director at Orsini, was a registered nurse in her past life, and therefore has the benefit of understanding infection control.
Another advantage we have at Orsini is that we have been communicating with suppliers in European cities that have lived with Covid much longer than we have here in New Zealand. It has allowed us to gain insight into the best ways to offer a safe retail environment -speaking to offshore suppliers has enabled us to understand how to prevent Covid spread in store through vaccine pass requirements, strict hygiene protocols and limiting store numbers.
Hygiene measures used by our overseas suppliers include frequent use of sterilising gel, wiping down of counter surfaces and door handles, contactless payment and mask usage. We have observed and adopted innovations utilised by these suppliers.
We value more space to shop
Hygiene measures can be quickly implemented, but a change we may see in the longer term is the layout of our stores and shopping centres. As countries learn to live with Covid, it’s becoming increasingly clear the virus will not simply disappear, highlighting the need to prepare and adapt our retail environments should new strains arise. With the potential for spread in malls being well publicised, we could see these shopping centres decrease in popularity. Retailers on streets and in open spaces where air is circulating may well see an increase in foot traffic.
For customers who value more space to shop, we are pleased to say that we are expanding the footprint of our Orsini boutique. With more room for consultations and browsing, our larger store will allow clients to shop with confidence.
Jewellery should be bought in person
Investing in beautiful and valuable jewellery is a personal experience - it’s therefore something that’s best done in person.
For many of us, the long lockdown of 2021 meant we embraced online shopping more than ever before. The excitement felt by the arrival of a package was heightened while we were confined to our homes.
But it also made us realise the limitations of the online shopping experience, particularly when it comes to high-end purchases like jewellery.
Fine jewellery is very difficult to purchase online - you need to examine, touch, and most importantly, try it on. Having staff on hand to help is advantageous too. Being able to talk to staff and ask questions can give you confidence that you are buying from a credible retailer. Plus, they can take you through the care instructions for your new jewellery, which is an important part of the process when investing in high-value pieces.
There are many unknowns when buying jewellery online. It’s easy to be misled, and there’s a danger that the item will not be the quality that you hoped for (or paid for). Security is also an issue - there is always a risk couriering high-value items, so it is much better to collect them in person.
A return to in-person consultations
Digital consultations have become the new norm in the pandemic - but just as buying jewellery in person is preferable, when you’re planning to create a customised piece with a jeweller, nothing can replace the face-to-face experience. When it comes to creating a highly personal piece of bespoke jewellery, such as an engagement ring, the authenticity and intimacy of an in-person meeting is hard to replicate online.
It’s all about the experience
In addition to the practical aspects of buying jewellery in person, shopping in store has the benefit of providing a special and memorable experience to the clients. Gifting fine jewellery is the perfect way to celebrate special moments, as it lasts for a lifetime and beyond if well cared for. These milestones, moments and gifting memories do not stop for Covid.
At Orsini, we strive to make the shopping environment as safe as possible while ensuring people have a beautiful and fun memory of purchasing gorgeous Italian jewellery or a diamond ring. Education is power - we are continuing to learn, not just from experiences in New Zealand, but also from countries that have lived with the virus for longer. We may not be able to get back to how things were before, but we can learn to live and adapt and enjoy a new way of life.