The state of the religious gift shop industry is ever changing. As with all retailers, it depends on the current market climate, consumer’s discretionary spending, and external competition. The outlook for gift shop retailers is generally bright, though many will have to continue to be diligent and develop a keen understanding of both internal and external factors that will shape the industry today and in the future.
Steady Growth Ahead
As the economy continues to improve, consumers are increasing their discretionary spending on items deemed nonessential. The gift shop industry has seen marked improvement, with projections expected to reflect a 1.8% increase in sales and a total industry revenue of $20.6 billion reported in 2016.
As consumer spending increases, people will turn with increasing frequency to premium products, which will continue to boost profit for gift shop retailers - including those in the religious gift market. In fact, the industry is expected to continue its growth over the next five years in line with disposable income. Consumers will feel increasingly comfortable treating themselves to products such as sterling medals, deluxe rosaries, and high quality wood crucifixes.
Of course, the industry is not without its challenges. Smaller retailers continue to struggle with big box competitors, so differentiation remains essential!
Explore New Channels
The explosion of e-commerce, particularly in big box stores, has consumers accustomed to the prices of discount retail channels. External competition may encourage customers to purchase religious gifts from alternative channels. This is where differentiation and specialization shine.
Retailers must seek to brand their specialty and strive to show customers how a specialized shop can offer more. Use your niche as a religious store to attract and retain loyal customers. Your unique guiding philosophy will help you stand out from the crowd, so don’t be afraid to use it to your advantage.
E-commerce, in particular, is expected to drive more customers to purchase gifts online rather than in a physical storefront. If you only operate a brick-and-mortar location, it’s time to consider an e-commerce channel. This will provide growth, opportunity to reach a broader audience, and decrease your operational costs.
Quick Tips for Success
Armed with the current and future industry knowledge, it is now time to implement some best practices to guarantee your continued success as a religious gift and jewelry retailer.
Check out some of our recommended tips below:
- Look to the Competition: As the saying goes, if you can’t beat them, join them. Look to what large e-commerce is doing, and use their actions to inform your own inventory and practices. This provides a good opportunity to align with market tendencies or providing contrasting specialty.
- Keep Up to Date with Trends: Talk to your manufacturers and determine what’s trending based on market research. Update inventory to reflect these trends and have stock to anticipate the evolving desires of your consumers. Check out Google Trends to keep up to date!
- Spend Time Arranging Your Products: For those who prefer a brick-and-mortar shopping experience, it’s all about the details. Ensure good lighting and attractive window displays to increase your sales.
- Understand the Demographic: Purchases of gifts, decorations, and cards usually display a seasonal uptick, and are made particularly by women (ages 50+). Get to know this audience closely and strive to provide an experience in-line with their needs.
- Innovate with New Products: Don’t be afraid of stocking new products, such as personalized items or gift cards that are re-loadable.
A Bright Future
The future of the religious jewelry industry is bright for those who are conscious of trends and anticipate customer needs. Though big box stores will always present challenges, leveraging your niche and delivering outstanding customer service will help your business thrive.
For additional help in growing your business, both online and off, check out our 10 Tips for Religious Retailers ebook!