THE BIG SURVEY 2017

We're rolling out the results of Big Survey 2017.

We had two primary objectives with this year’s Big Survey: to gain fresh insights into what it means to be an American jeweler in 2017, and, given it was 10 years since our first such survey, to determine how far jewelers have traveled professionally since 2007.

The findings were fascinating. In some areas – jewelers’ enthusiasm for the start of the workweek, the basic demographics of the industry, the best-selling watches – it’s as if time has stood still. In other areas – such as marketing, security and management – the changes have been profound.

Over the next few weeks we will preview some of the results – which will be published in their full glory in the October edition of INSTORE – in our daily bulletin. To get you started, here are the views of our survey-takers (there were more than 715 in all) on the things they miss most and least about being a jeweler in 2017 compared to 2007.

What do you miss most about being a jeweler in 2007?

  • Everyone didn’t have a smart phone in hand with an item she saw on Pinterest that you need to locate only for her to see it live and realize it wasn’t as big as she thought it would be or look as good on her hand as she thought it might.
  • Impulse buying of affordable fine jewelry: “While I’m waiting for you to change my watch battery, how much is that gorgeous, puffed 14K gold bracelet? $350, really? I’ll take it.”
  • Face to face interaction. A lot of customers hide behind their phone now. They either want to text or email. Though sometimes easier, it’s nice to offer up a handshake to make a deal.
  • I miss the ease of customers buying ready-to-wear, pre-set pieces. Nearly half of everything we send out the door is custom-made now.
  • Good diamond margins and $700 gold.
  • Banks were easier to work with and there was more merchandise to buy.
  • Not worrying about managing my online presence on Facebook, website, Google ...
  • The bustle, the liveliness, the optimism and carefree attitude. People are much more worried about the future now.
  • There was minimal online competitor business. Brick and mortar was the way to go.
  • Being 10 years younger!

What do you miss least about being a jeweler in 2007?

  • Running my ass off selling $3 silver hoops.
  • Long mall hours.
  • The watch business.
  • Having to entertain sales reps in our store all the time.
  • Having to keep a giant bookshelf of catalogs and spending hours on the phone trying to source diamonds for client calls.
  • Not having the ability to manage remotely.
  • Lack of customer records and inventory management control.
  • I never did like advertising in local print and using local TV and radio. It was always extremely expensive. Now, with the world glued to the Internet, we get most of our advertising done through social media and other free services like Google reviews. One Google review is worth 10 front page ads to us.
  • Not having the experience of CAD and 3D printer.
  • Nothing. I was young then; everything was perfect.
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