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10 Tips to Keep Your Jewelry Store Safe During the Holidays

It’s no time to cut corners on security.

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THE HOLIDAYS are a crucial time for jewelers to make sales and rack up profits.

However, they are also a time of long hours, increased temporary or part-time help, and more customers and confusion in the store. During this busy season, jewelers need to stand fast with their regular security procedures and not try to cut corners on security, which could result in a sour note in the season of holiday cheer.

Here are a few reminders for jewelers to keep in mind. Good security is good business.

  1. Holiday inventories may be substantially greater than a jeweler’s normal inventory. Make sure your jewelers’ block insurance coverage is sufficient for any higher inventory.
  2. The holiday season may cause days of hectic selling (hopefully!). Even in busy times, keep all showcases locked except when actually taking out merchandise or returning merchandise to the showcase.
  3. During the holidays, jewelers may hire additional seasonal or part time employees. Even these seasonal employees should receive basic instruction on proper security practices through short staff briefings.
  4. Even with long and late holiday workdays at the store, don’t try to save time by leaving merchandise in the showcases overnight.
  5. There is currently a wave of distraction thefts in the U.S. by gypsy gangs. Beware of three or more “customers” entering the store together. Their purpose may be to distract you. These gangs often seek to get into your open safe or unlocked showcase.
  6. Even when there is the hope of a big sale, show only one item at a time to reduce losses from grab and run thefts.
  7. During a jeweler’s busiest season, a security guard can be a good investment.
  8. Make sure all employees know of a simple and innocent sounding code word or phrase that can be said aloud when a sales associate feels there is a suspicious situation. At that point, other sales associates can focus on and assist if trouble is brewing.
  9. When accepting in-store credit or credit card transactions, check supporting identification carefully. There are times when you need to consider the question of why a person from a distant state or country may be buying an expensive item in your store on credit.
  10. At closing time, make sure all customers have left before you start breaking down the showcases and putting away the goods for the night. Do not unlock the door to let in customers following closing or before opening.

John Kennedy is president of Jewelers’ Security Alliance, a non-profit trade association with 20,000 members that has been providing crime information and assistance to the jewelry industry and law enforcement since 1883. Reach him at jsa2@jewelerssecurity.org.

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Jan Rose of Rose Jewelers, located in Long Island's famous Hamptons beach district, explains how she chose Wilkerson for her closing sale. Jan's suggestions: reach out to jewelers who have been in similar situations to find out what worked for them, and look for a company with experience in going-out-of-business sales. Once you've done that, the final step is to move ahead and trust the process.

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Dave Richardson

Why Flip Charts Are Superior to Whiteboards

This could be extremely important to your sales performance.

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WHY IT IS TRUE: Many powerful ideas are shared in brief meetings with your sales staff prior to opening the store. Traditionally, these ideas are recorded on an erasable whiteboard in the training room or office. Once erased, the ideas may be lost forever.

PLAN OF ACTION: Invest in a flipchart and marking pens, and use them generously to record sales training conversations, discussions and commitments during your staff meetings. At the conclusion of the meeting, post the valuable information recorded on the chart to prominent locations in your office or training room. Refer to these in future daily meetings, focusing upon ongoing value to your store and your customers.

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Editor's Note

We’re All Quitters Someday

A successful ending to your retail career requires planning.

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ALL GOOD THINGS must end. Yet every ending is a new beginning. I could keep going with the clichés, but you get the point: everyone eventually has to move on from jewelry retail. When the time comes, you want to go out on your own terms.

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With that in mind, our lead story takes you inside the transitions of six different jewelry retailers and explains why business expert Seth Godin says that one of the secrets of successful organizations is “strategic quitting.” Everyone reading this issue will leave the industry one day; now is the time to begin planning for it.

That said, many of you aren’t ready to retire, you’ve just lost your inspiration. You’re down and out, dejected, or maybe just bored. We’ve got just the thing for you to help you get your mojo back: our second lead story, “Mojo to Go.” It includes 12 different action items guaranteed to bring the excitement back to your business life.

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If that weren’t enough, we’ve also got what group managing editor Chris Burslem calls “lots of fun and interesting side bits” throughout, including why you shouldn’t discount shop labor, how to sell more safely, what your inventory management strategy can learn from dieting, and of course much, much more.

So remember, it’s not the quitting that matters — it’s how you plan to quit!

Trace Shelton

Editor-in-Chief, INSTORE
trace@smartworkmedia.com

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

  • Have your kids or your employees’ kids make Valentine’s Day cards and use them as props in your displays. (Manager’s To-Do, page 26)
  • Hold office hours for an hour or two a week for staff to talk to you. (Mojo To Go, page 44)
  • When role-playing sales with your staff, always take the role of salesperson first. (Ask INSTORE, page 58)
  • Renegotiate everything from your lease to Internet, cable, phone and even garbage pickup to save money. (Evan Deutsch, page 52)
  • Use an open-to-buy calculation to balance what you’re buying with what you’re selling. (David Brown, page 53)
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Commentary: The Business

Want to Survive? Go Custom

Tapping into jewelry customers’ desire for individuality is the key to retail success.

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YOU OFTEN HEAR THE words “it’s custom made” when referring to jewelry, but is it really? We all know there is a difference between “off-the-rack” and “custom-made” when it comes to clothing — jewelry isn’t any different.

The magic starts when the customer meets the maker. Each custom piece of art (which is what jewelry really is) should start with a conversation. Then the information provided — including style ideas, desired gemstones, personality traits and tastes, hobbies, work and social environments, favorite colors, you name it — should be incorporated into hand-drawn or 3D CAD rendered images for the client to choose from. Once a favorite design has been chosen, the creation and fabrication processes can begin.

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This specific value-add and brand differentiation is where clients realize the importance of knowing your jeweler. You have to trust the individual making the piece for you — that is paramount.

People are tired of sameness. From rampant copying to boring, uninspired designs, jewelry clients are becoming wise to seeing the same thing over and over again. The jewelry they are seeing does not speak to their individuality because these products are made for the masses on a gigantic scale. The anonymity behind fast fashion and easily consumed products that break or lose stones in a short amount of time after purchase don’t help the cause. Customer service only goes so far; the product has to have its own legs to stand on.

If you are creating one-of-a-kind pieces, you do not have the carrying costs associated with pre-fabricated designs and styles. You do not have to have liquidation sales of old, tired merchandise. You are creating exactly what the client is looking for. Being a specialty shop does not limit you to only creating custom pieces. It empowers you to design out-of-the-box and far-out jewelry that pushes the boundaries of style and uniqueness.

Seth Godin said that “survival is not the goal, transformative success is.” It is not always the strongest that survive, but those most responsive to change. Change is an opportunity that many see as a threat. It all boils down to our individual creativity. There is no competition when you create.

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