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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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Travelers Should Be Super Careful with Their Jewelry — Here’s Why

Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group released a new survey.

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THE NUMBER OF travelers reporting lost or stolen jewelry has doubled over the past four years, according to a national survey conducted by Jewelers Mutual Insurance Group. The survey revealed that 20% of respondents suffered a jewelry loss while on vacation. That’s up from 10% just four years ago.

Jewelers Mutual reports the most risky place for travelers to wear fine jewelry is at the beach. And while the insurance company advises sun worshippers to protect their jewelry in a room safe or hotel vault before heading to the water’s edge, too many are choosing to tempt fate. The result: 27% of all travel-jewelry losses can be traced to where the surf meets the sand.

Still another pain point is that only 1% of the lost or stolen jewelry is ever recovered by their owners.

“Travel continues to be a vulnerable time to misplace or have jewelry stolen,” noted Don Elliott, director of claims at Jewelers Mutual. “Travelers can and should insure their jewelry, and there also are steps they can take to minimize risk.”

Elliot outlined these important tips…

  • Document: As you’re packing, take a photo of the pieces you’re taking with you. If you need to file a police report for any reason, this proof of ownership will be very helpful.
  • Carry It: Never put jewelry in a checked bag. Wear it or stow it in your carry-on bag and keep that bag in sight at all times.
  • Don’t Post It: Avoid being an easy target. Don’t share photos of your jewelry or where you are staying on social media.
  • Wear Wisely: Avoid wearing jewelry while swimming, especially in cold water where finger sizes can temporarily shrink.
  • Tuck Away: Never leave jewelry out in the open. Use the safe in your room or hotel vault.
  • Conceal Don’t Reveal: Tuck necklaces inside your shirt, turn your engagement ring to the inside of your hand and cover any bracelets or watches with a sleeve when in dangerous areas.
  • Button Up: If you’re packing earrings, fasten them to an extra button to avoid them being separated or misplaced.
  • Suck It Up: Thread necklaces through a paper straw. This will prevent them from being easily misplaced or lost, with the added benefit of avoiding a tangled mess.

Jewelers Mutual also introduced its new digital publication called “Your Guide For Traveling With Jewelry.” It covers packing, time away, and upon-return tips, as well as advice for buying jewelry on vacation and what to do if your jewelry is lost or stolen while traveling. Click this link for more information.

Conducted in May 2019 by Kantar Group, the Jewelers Mutual survey reflects the experiences of 1,044 adults, ages 18 to 64.

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Sales Truth

Never Be Afraid to Hop In a Car And Hand-Deliver An Item

You could make a customer for life.

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WHY IT IS TRUE: The resulting gesture will be phenomenal. The customer will be pleased, and will not only become a customer for life, but will tell all of her friends about this generous experience.
PLAN OF ACTION: Follow up with the customer by phone to make sure everything went well, and most importantly, to validate your action in this difficult situation. You now have a customer for life.

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Commentary: The Business

To Stand Out From the Crowd, Build a Real Marketing Plan

A scattershot approach won’t work.

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WHO CARES ABOUT fine wine and nice cars? We should all be drinking two-buck-Chuck and driving a practical car, right? It would be cheaper, and cloth seats are the new leather. And while we’re at it, forget about the Jimmy Choo stilettos. You can match a sensible pair of shoes from Payless with that skirt … think of the money you’ll save. So, why don’t we? Because you would never bring two-buck-Chuck to a dinner party. Nice cars are reliable and fun to drive. And Jimmy Choo stilettos … come on. What do all these things have in common? Image, reliability and brand recognition.

It wasn’t that long ago that people were adamant about being different, building their brand and separating themselves from everyone else. But now a dark shadow of complacency has settled upon us, fueled by cheap services. Most of this comes from the fast growth of digital media and the slew of small companies that have popped up offering services from social media to paid search and email marketing. With most jewelers still not fully understanding this “new media,” it all comes down to cost.

There are a couple of reasons for this; first is a lack of buy-in. Many retailers don’t really believe in social or digital media. They just know everyone else seems to be getting involved, so they probably should, too. As a result, they seek out resources who will do the work cheaply and with minimal marketing dollars behind those efforts. That’s also the No. 1 reason their efforts fail. The second reason is believing these services are all the same. They’re not. Posting on Facebook or managing paid search in and of itself is not marketing. Without a sound strategy with objectives, you could actually be doing more harm than good. You don’t really think you get that for a couple hundred dollars a month, do you?

It’s sad but true: you get what you pay for. Most of the time, it’s templates, spitball marketing, below average results and a lot of time on the hamster wheel. What does that say about your store and your brand? When we all get over the cheap services, cheap websites, cheap everything, we’ll realize that there is something about being different, building the brand and separating ourselves from everyone else. That’s the day we’ll look back on the Age of the Cookie Cutters, open a bottle of Chateau Margaux and say, “Let’s build a marketing plan.”

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