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07 May 2020 Updated 15 Sep 2020

Shop closed but jewellery store finds customers online

The Straits Times Sue-Ann Tan

Merlin Goldsmith Although Merlin Goldsmith cannot open its physical store (right) during the circuit breaker period, it is receiving orders (above) via its e-commerce platforms, with online turnover rising 50 per cent. PHOTOS: MERLIN GOLDSMITH

Jewellery store Merlin Goldsmith has had to close during this circuit breaker period, but its director Janice Chin is grateful that business can continue in some measure, thanks to the shop's online presence.

She said: "Instead of choosing not to operate our business totally during this period, our company chose to focus on our online sales as we still want to try to keep up with the many overheads that we still have.

"Although we are most grateful that the Government has provided us with various subsidies and rebates, we still believe we should also do our share to keep our business and team intact."

Overall sales have fallen by 75 per cent as most of the shop's business comes from walk-in customers, but online turnover has risen by 50 per cent.

Ms Chin added that a combination of loyal customers and social media strategies is keeping the business, whose shop is in Serangoon Road, going.

"We started operations on various online channels in 2014, but it was only after 2018 when things started picking up and we could see some transactions online.

"We are on all major e-commerce platforms in Singapore and also on Facebook. Currently, we attend to several inquiries on a daily basis.

"What we have learnt is, when consumers want to buy something, they will find all ways to buy it despite the stores being closed."

The outbreak also taught her that even items like jewellery can draw consumers online.

"In the past, we used to think that customers would not want to buy luxury goods online as they are unable to see the item physically before they make their purchases.

"However, since this coronavirus pandemic, we have seen for ourselves how younger consumers are open to buying goods online, even if these items are higher valued."

Ms Chin had earlier attended a social media clinic run by SME Centre@Little India, where an adviser helped her develop a three-month social media strategy for the business to gain more followers.

"The consultation with her has come in most handy with our progress," Ms Chin said.

Source: The Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Limited. Reproduced with permission.

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