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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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Commentary: The Business

Put Yourself First and Cultivate Your Own Brand

Concentrate on custom and healthy vendor relationships to succeed in today’s jewelry retail environment.

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It’s time for independent jewelers to create their own brand identity by partnering with brands that respect and honor their relationships, and by doing whatever they can to build loyalty with custom design, whether or not they have in-house shops.

Larger stores possess the volume needed to buy branded products and the showcase space necessary to display them. Granted, branded products and their retailers have a rarefied environment, with packaging, advertising and a built-in national customer affiliation.

But Pandora truly changed the dynamic of the vendor/retailer relationship in the last decade by building their brand off the independent’s efforts. They demanded higher sales volume and reorder numbers, then removed underachievers from the supply chain. Many independents lost the branded customer base they had acquired.

Worse, once Pandora identified the larger established consumer markets, in a checkmate move, they established their own stores, thus selling directly to the consumer. Many retailers suffered serious financial losses with non-returnable inventory and had their reputations damaged with unfulfilled customer service requests.

Following in hot pursuit, several popular companies decided they could dictate to their retailers how much they had to spend and restock in order to keep their brands. But in the end, many of these demanding brands will diminish because trends and styles change!

The goal of a supplier-retailer relationship is to be both transparent and mutually beneficial. There are many companies that go the extra mile for their retailers. Find those, buy from them and remain profitable.

It’s also time for the independent jeweler to do everything possible to create their own following in the custom-jewelry wars. The popularity of custom has created a multitude of manufacturing jewelry stores showcasing their own products and increasing their own brand diversity.
Great local and online presence, along with professional training and an engaging and well-informed sales staff, allows your store brand to flourish. Self-branding, shameless advertising and polished elevator speeches help us gain and maintain our status in the community as the go-to jeweler.

 

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Dave Richardson

Here’s a Training Exercise to See How Well Your Team Knows Your Clientele

Here’s the fastest way to see how much your team knows about the customers they serve.

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Knowing Your Customer is Critical

WHY IT IS TRUE: Selling used to be about transaction; now it is about relationships. How many customers are in your database and what do you know about each of them?

PLAN OF ACTION: On a sheet of paper, ask your salespeople to write down the names of your top 50 customers. Ask them to write something they know about that customer, their spouse, hobbies, etc. Train your team based on how well they know your clientele.

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Shane Decker

Four Sales Tips to Make It Your Best Christmas Yet

To deliver an unforgettable holiday experience, you have to be on top of your sales game.

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There are four areas you’ll need to focus on this holiday season to be successful: store floor awareness, add-on sales, “wowing” clients, and shopping environment.

1) Store floor awareness: Based on closing ratios I’ve tracked over the years, your team’s closing ratio can go up 70-80 percent during the holidays. No client is “just looking”; they’re looking to buy. Clerk sales and impulse buys skyrocket. If you haven’t increased your sales staff or prepared for the rush, you will lose sales.

We all know that some clients will walk out if they’re not waited on immediately. Some come in only during the holidays, and if they don’t feel we meet their expectations, they will become clients of our competitors.

Store floor awareness deals with everything that is happening on your floor. Is the “sweet spot” covered and is everyone greeted within five seconds? If everyone is helping someone, clients need to be greeted by someone who isn’t about to close the sale.

Don’t let busy work get in the way of helping a customer — nor apathy or fear. When clients say they’re “just looking,” too many salespeople reply, “OK, look around and if you find something you want, let us know.” That’s a sale killer. If you’re not present, they’ll walk and give another salesperson in another store your money.

During the holidays, your sales teammates’ needs become very important. Don’t leave anyone stranded. They may need help closing or team-selling (an assist can raise the closing ratio by 50 percent). Never be too busy to help.

2) Add-on sales: During this time of year, the average Christmas buyer buys 15-20 gifts. The average jewelry salesperson sells them only one. Then the client goes to several other stores and buys the remaining 14-19 gifts. When a client has chosen the item they’re looking for, instead of walking to the cash register, use a lead-in line and say, “How many others are on your list?” He may say, “I have a 12 year-old daughter.” Then you reply, “You know, her first set of diamond studs should come from her dad. We have great studs for your young lady right over here.”

“Wow” your clients: Get a high-ticket item in each client’s hand before they leave. You can change it based on the client, your inventory, “wowing” smart and visual observation. Most clients have never had the opportunity to have an awesome item in their hand before they walk out.

Sometimes they buy it. Remember: it’s Christmastime, the time for giving. Not to mention, this will separate you from your competition.

4) Shopping environment: Make sure the store looks, smells and feels like Christmas. Offer coffee, cinnamon rolls, cookies, mulled cider, whatever a client may want. The longer they stay, the higher the closing ratio. Remember that the experience is even more important than the product they will purchase.

Lastly, show every client respect, patience and a great attitude. Tell them you were so glad to see them and wish them a merry Christmas with a smile. Small and large sales are all important. Gather information so that you can follow up, and remember not to mail thank-you cards until Jan. 15; you don’t want to blow the surprise!

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