Tiffany & Co reopens some stores: How will Jewelry Stores adapt over the Summer?

Looking online at jewelry is about all I have been able to do in this state of confusion and uncertainty about the retail environment. There is concern for all aspects of life currently, but I am focusing on the Retail Industry in this post. Even if you want to order online you probably get the notice of delayed shipping. The questions that I see again and again are: When will the stores reopen? When can things return to normal? What will be the new normal? Those answers will vary depending where you are, but we can get an idea of some of it for the retail world by looking at the news and stores that are reopening.

Stores Reopening

 I was intrigued to see Tiffany & Co announce on their website that they were opening some stores.

I naturally had to click to see what was listed. My store was not on the list but those that were made sense.

Michigan and Texas both had protests about wanting to return to work. Seeing stores in those areas reopen makes sense. It will be worth watching to see how those stores fair in sales and adapt to the new norms of retail created from this pandemic.

Returning to Normal

Other retailers are opening some of their stores, a few to mention:

Those are just a few of the major chains looking at reopening.

New Normal

Even though stores are reopening this does not mean it will be business as usual. Nordstrom announced that they plan on providing health screenings for employees and offering face masks for both employees and customers. Macy’s will not be offering ear piercings or makeup samples to try on your own. There were more initiatives listed in the article here, but one stood out, ‘Customers have to use hand sanitizer before trying on jewelry and watches’.

Jewelry stores adapting

For at least the summer I predict a less relaxing retail experience as article I read all talked about continuing social/physical distancing while in the store. The hand sanitizers for jewelry like rings makes sense but what about earrings or necklaces? What are you concerned about as a retailer or consumer? These reports of the new protocol do not excite me as I have been planning to splurge on some items once stores start to reopen. Wearing a mask as I try on some shades or try and smell a perfume does not bring a happy thought for my customer experience.

If you are concerned how you will be able to adapt this to your business send me a message or leave a comment. I would love to collaborate and come up with some ideas that will benefit everyone and not hinder the experience you want your customer to have. Thank you for reading Data in the Rough and I hope you return soon for more!

Harvard Retail & Luxury Goods Conference: How Brands like Cartier are blending their Heritage with Data Analytics

Harvard Business School hosted the 12th Annual Retail and Luxury Goods Conference with a daylong event on February 21. Brands represented at the conference included Richemont, Baume & Mercier, Cartier, Marc Jacobs, Tory Burch and other retailers. The theme of the conference was Reinventing Retail. I attended the conference and felt that the brands I heard were having a message of blending their traditions with insight’s from data. I will include my key takeaways from the two sessions I attended: The Future of Tradition and Innovation with Insight.

The Future of Tradition


  • Mercedes Abramo, President & CEO, Cartier North America
  • Michelle Giguere, Director of Buying, Tory Burch
  • Scott Cameron, Chief Strategy & Business Development Officer , Canada Goose
  • Jody Hall, Chief Food Adventurer & Director of Sourcing, HEB Grocers
  • Pippa Morgan: Executive Vice President-Retail Division, Aritzia


The Future of Tradition panel
The Future of Tradition panel


*Online Store

The biggest issue with online shopping was how to create the online experience that is true to the brand’s in-store experience. Mercedes Abramo (Cartier) also talked about trying to find out how high a price point could be online to buy jewelry. For Cartier like other retailers it is a trial and error process. Luxury especially jewelry has been later to the online market. Pippa Morgan (Aritzia) had the best explanation and advice, “measure twice, cut once”. Execution is crucial for the online market.

*Social Media

What has worked for luxury brands? The panel talked about success with Instagram in reaching and interacting with customers. Mercedes Abramo (Cartier), claimed YouTube was the best channel in reaching a Cartier customer. The reason was due to needing longer amounts of time to educate potential buyers on a product. Instagram is only a photo or a 15-second video, not enough to give the detail necessary to tell Cartier’s story.

The final thoughts were to look to your physical store for answers. You have a chance to talk to your customer and see what they are experience. Do not think that being involved in the stores daily activities is beneath you, it is a great resource. My thoughts for those with only an online presence be on your website and see if you can get feedback from customers and employees.


Innovating with Insight


  • Omer Artun, CEO/Founder, AgilOne
  • Paul Hatch, Senior Marketing Director, Walmart
  • Thibault Munier, Co-Founder/COO, Numberly
  • Jessica Schinazi, Senior Manager-Marketing Service & Business Development, Richemont North America

Innovating with Insight panel
Innovating with Insight panel


*Customer Insights with data

The speakers on the second panel had very clear views on the actions needed to innovate their company. The major need was how to get away from the single view of a customer and use the data mined to be more responsive to that customer’s shopping experience. One suggestion was to get away from the ‘silos of data’ and to start to create data action strategies. The benefits of getting a better understanding of different customers can create new marketing opportunities. Jessica Schinazi (Richemont) gave one example of how insights from their data provided them answers on a new type of customer group. There was increased activity of online shoppers in the Midwest. Richemont has stores in the area but they found out these customers were Chinese students coming to college. So Richemont discover a ‘micro group’ that it could understand how to serve better. Paul Hatch (Walmart) also added that understanding the data benefits the customer by using the insight to improve the mix of product in the store.

*A/B Testing

Another topic was A/B testing in order to find out which way was best in customizing the online experience. One tip was to add common sense to your algorithms. You do not want to run into the ‘Bread and Bananas’ issue, if a person has bread in their basket they will most likely buy bananas. So instead of recommending bananas (that the customer will most likely buy anyway) try to get another product that they might want so that you can increase the items in that basket.


The final thought were not focusing exclusively on the data but take time to talk to the people involved in the business and learn all you can about your company’s core business.

Baume & Mercier ad at the conference
Baume & Mercier ad at the conference

The conference was a great event for me. In addition to meeting the panelists, I ate lunch with an employee of Baume & Mercier who talked about how his passion for the watch industry lead him to the job he holds now. He worked at Hertz, before landing his dream job. If you are in the Boston area in February of 2017, I highly recommend attending the Harvard Retail & Luxury Goods Conference. Sign up for my email at the top right of the page to keep up to date on more posts!