CEO Gina Drosos Discusses Signet's Transformation
In a discussion earlier this week at Shoptalk in Las Vegas, Gina Drosos, CEO of Signet Jewelers, parent company of Kay Jewelers, Zales, Jared, among other jewelry brands, detailed the path the organization has taken to transform itself, both culturally and digitally.
First, Drosos sought to change the long-held belief by many that jewelry can’t be sold online. To help in that mission, one of the first steps Drosos did when she became CEO of Signet Jewelers nearly five years ago was to acquire JamesAllen.com, a digital-native jewelry retailer. The smaller brand has been used as a testing platform for many digital initiatives. If proven to be a successful test, the feature/functionality/strategy is rolled out to Signet's other brands.
Furthermore, Drosos noted that 67 percent of consumers start their purchase journey online, giving online retailers an edge over classic brick-and-mortar retailers in the fierce competition for customers' wallets. The goal for Signet is to seamlessly integrate the online and offline channels so that customers dictate their purchase experiences. Signet doesn't necessarily intend to close the sale on one of its brand's e-commerce sites, however. The goal is to get the shopper a virtual consultation that will steer them towards one of its physical stores for further assistance.
Drosos explained that Signet's previous technology debt left it with inefficient legacy systems, hampering its digital growth prospects. However, with the retailer in a much healthier financial position, it has been able to implement state-of-the-art systems and tools. Those technology investments will be integral to Signet's goal of reaching an annual revenue threshold of $9 billion, a significant from the $6 billion it recorded in its most recent fiscal year.
Developing the Right Culture
Culture is always harder to change than strategy, Drosos told the audience. For Signet, the right culture means caring for customers and employees, embracing diversity, responsibly sourcing its products, and being a purpose-driven company. As Drosos noted, a rich culture and consistent mission bring comfort to customers.
Signet and the products its brands sell are inspired by love. With that in mind, the organization recently made the decision to stop mining diamonds in Russia. While the decision introduces operational and execution challenges and complexity, Drosos and the organization knew it was the right thing to do.
Signet is a responsibly sourced company, Drosos said, and mining diamonds right now doesn't align with the corporate culture that has been built.
What's on the Horizon
It’s the year of weddings, declared Drosos. Of course this means great things for the jewelry industry, including the sale of diamond engagement rings as well as wedding bands, which are typically purchased closer to the wedding date. Looking to capitalize on the pent-up demand for wedding jewelry, Signet is piloting bridal rental jewelry, enabled by its purchase of Rocksbox, a jewelry rental subscription platform. Drosos is excited about what this new business offering could mean for Signet's brands.
In addition to growing its bridal business, Drosos and her team have identified additional avenues of growth for Signet. They include the potential for additional acquisitions, with companies in the jewelry repair services sector potential targets.
"We invested in our own business first," Drosos said. "Now that we’re in a much better cash position, we can think about other uses of cash. We want to build big businesses, including bridal. Expand the boundaries. Rental or service businesses could be an integration for us."
Lastly, like so many other retailers, Signet is trying to figure out its potential presence in the metaverse and what impact it could have on the business. Drosos noted that the metaverse offers the opportunity for new relationships and new ways to express love. What exactly that means for Signet is still to be determined, but Drosos is targeting virtual product (e.g., NFT rings, diamond-studded tattoos) as a potential revenue opportunity.
Devon Russell is the Editorial Intern at NAPCO Media. She has written for The Temple News as a freelance news writer and is currently a staff writer and artist for Lunar Lit Magazine. She is a junior at Temple University pursuing a degree in English with minors in Journalism Studies and Geography & Urban Studies.