Time has Begun to Tick Again
Time. We have had plenty of it of late, it has seemed to have done nothing but stand still. Now with it seemingly beginning to pick back up to its usual pace, we caught with Alisha Duffy at David M Robinson Liverpool to see how she and her team have prepared to welcome clients back into their showroom.
Why is it so important to get your physical store back up and running and what is it about the luxury timepiece and jewellery sector that stops it from being online only?
We are all about the personal touch at DMR and making every client’s interaction memorable. Although we are always happy to go the extra mile and deliver your pieces directly to you, we want everybody to have the opportunity to enjoy the DMR experience. On any given day, you’ll step into our showroom and see clients thrilled to be walking away with beautiful new items for their collection and getting to know our friendly, helpful experts. Whilst online purchases can be convenient, they often miss out on the personal touch that is so important to us.
It is also about being surrounded by our product. After you have had the opportunity to meet the client, it becomes so much easier to make recommendations. It is great to be able to introduce these pieces and nothing beats the chance to hold and actually try them on.
How are you able to offer the same high-end customer experience as you did pre-lockdown with the new precautions?
Being unable to see our clients for the last few months has been tough; we consider most of them to be good friends. Our main priority upon reopening is to keep them, their families and our colleagues as safe as possible. To do that, we’ve made some changes to the layouts of our showrooms, including rearranging serving areas. As well as this, we have had glass screens fitted to each of the desks in-store, which will enable us to still sit face-to-face during any consultations.
Upon arrival, clients are asked to sanitise their hands using the equipment provided and those who wish to can take a pair of complementary gloves. Understanding the importance of cleaning, all of our serving areas are thoroughly sanitised between presentations, along with any jewellery or watches that were viewed during the visit.
Knowing that some clients aren’t ready to visit us just yet, we have introduced virtual appointments for those who may be shielding or working from home, so that we can still play a part in creating special memories for them. I think we’ve all become Zoom experts in the last few months, haven’t we?
Do you think we’ll see any long term changes to the shopping experience due to Covid-19?
Yes, I think we definitely will. Many will have a positive effect on your visit to DMR. For example, we are now encouraging clients to book an appointment where possible. Whilst we’ve always offered this service, we are now requesting this with the aim of reducing footfall which can often get very high on our busy days. As well as having an effect on footfall, it means our Sales Ambassadors can plan for your visit, preparing any items that may be interesting for you to view and the experts you have a relationship with will be able to present to you as efficiently as possible.
As it seems to be working for both the clients and ourselves, I think this is a shopping style that has longevity, especially in luxury.
How does the sector currently look – there were some major expos and launches planned until lockdown hit, did the launches still take place, perhaps just online, or have they been delayed?
The watch industry has certainly had to adapt over the last few months. We missed out on our annual pilgrimages to Watches & Wonders in Geneva and then Baselworld, but nonetheless the brands have still been playing their own part in exciting us and our clients. In the wake of lockdowns across the globe, the Richemont group took their Watches & Wonder fair online, allowing us to see a host of new releases from Panerai and IWC. IWC’s new Portugieser collection has already generated a lot of interest with our friends! As well as this, Patek Philippe released a new limited edition Calatrava only last week, celebrating the opening of their new production building in Switzerland. So definitely a very different year, but some interesting news popping up around the watch world.
Finally, how did you spend your lockdown and what are you most looking forward to when you get back into the showroom?
I spent lockdown at home with my family. It was a block of unexpected time that I was fortunate enough to spend with my toddler and partner, blessed with some of the best weather. It was also lovely to use the time to read, reflect and learn. I completed a De Beers diamond course online along with my Patek Philippe accreditation, both preparing me to welcome my clients back into the showroom again.
Well we haven’t seen our clients for so long now, so I am looking forward to seeing all of my wonderful friends again. I’ve kept in touch with many of them throughout lockdown, but it will be lovely to see them in person again.
To book an appointment to see Alisha Duffy at DMR Liverpool, contact her by email at email@example.com or on 0151 708 1140.