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Reading UK
Bounceback Toolkit

Video contributed by Adam Jacobs of Jacobs Jewellers

Independent retail and the importance of customers


We interviewed Adam Jacobs, chair of the board of Reading UK, about the strategies his business has used to move forward in 2020, with hints and tips on listening to your customers and improving your marketing, ready to bounce back in 2021.

For some, it's to sell products or services. For others, it's to generate leads. Or, sometimes, it's simply to provide visitors with more information about what you do. Why is it vital to pinpoint the purpose of your site? Well, it's the only way you'll be able to check if it's fit for purpose. Now we've discussed why purpose is important, let's take a look at how you can ensure your website is primed for success.

My name’s Adam Jacobs – I look after a third generation family independent jewellery shop called Jacobs the Jewellers in Reading town centre. Marketing + innovation are two vital components in our skill set and have enabled Jacobs to stay relevant and attract new customers over ¾ of a century. We’ve won awards nationally and locally, recently winning Best Customer event in 2019’s British Jewellery Awards.
Jacobs the Jewellers blend technology, personal service, craft skills and fantastic products together with our team, physical shop and website to deliver what we hope is a fantastic shopping experience. I always look at the business with three lenses: customers, team and suppliers. I’ve picked out a few tips for innovating and marketing that have worked well for us over the years.
I don’t differentiate between offline or online – good practice + habits are applicable to anything. 


RUK003_Adam  Jacobs Reading UK Bounceback Toolkit_MEDIUM-1
Adam's marketing tips for independent retailers:


  • Know the business inside out and be able to communicate it clearly when asked ‘what do you do’ – I’ve heard it's called the ‘Granny method’: it is being able to explain it succinctly to an elderly grandmother, which is a good litmus test of expression and clarity!

  • Stay close to customers – it doesn’t mean serve everyone and do everything but observe, listen and reflect whenever it’s possible. In any business interaction, one can look at how their customers are treated and take or leave insights you make. Shopping, dining, on or offline, are all opportunities to get inspiration and ideas.

  • Test things
    • Fast for things that are easy and have low risk. They can be put in quickly, adapted swiftly and taken out quickly if needed.
    • Stay the course for longer, deeper changes – give time to bed in, and ideas a chance to thrive.
    • For us, we have a long buying cycle, almost 5 to 7 years, so, our marketing takes that into account in its planning horizon.

  • Meet people – not necessarily in a hardcore handshake speed date way, more simply being out and about. Participating in voluntary or business support groups where you have an interest or stake, being yourself will help forge new connections. You never know where clients will come from, or when. The Reading Recovery network is a great example of positive, supporting and likeminded people.

  • Know what the crowd is and what trends are, though remember one doesn’t need to follow it.
Team, Network & Suppliers
  • Extend your team by talking with a peer group of similar businesses – they don’t have to be in the same industry as you, they just need similar curious and co-operative mindsets.

  • With any marketing or ideas you have, involve the team – sometimes more, sometimes less, but staff are an organisation’s front line advocates so consider how, when and to what degree to bring them in.

  • Look for good ideas everywhere – suppliers often see things you don’t with other clients and can pass on best practice and ideas.

Jacobs the Jewellers RGB
Jacobs the Jewellers is an independent family business and has been a feature in Reading Town Centre since 1948
In 1948 Douglas & Jean Jacobs opened ‘Douglas Jacobs’ on the Kings Road in Reading, initially selling a hand-picked selection of second-hand silver & jewellery.
They developed the business together for over 15 years, with their son Ian taking over in 1966. Ian and later his wife Adrienne, looked after the business and were joined in 2003 by their son Adam.
Today Adam continues the family tradition running 'Jacobs the Jewellers’ for their existing & new customers in their sumptuous store on King St in Reading, opened in April 2005. Ian & Adrienne still drop in from time to time to help out! Jacobs offers an impressive range of exquisite jewellery, watches & gifts/ silver/ accessories with the same attention to quality as over almost 75 years ago. Additionally, Jacobs provides a first-class jewellery design & make up service, sourcing loose gemstones to customers’ exact requirements & creating memorable individual pieces.
We have been nominated, shortlised & won many awards - 2017 Winner Pride of Reading 'Business in Action' for services to the community & shortlisted for Reading cultural awards – 2015 UK Retailer of the Year at the National Association of Jewellers Awards - 2013 & 2015 we were voted Reading’s best Independent Retailer in the Reading Retail Awards - in 2009 we were FOPE’s Retailer of the year .


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