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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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Be Ready for ‘What Do You Have for $100?’ and Other Holiday Questions

As Christmas approaches, the queries you’ll hear from customers are actually pretty predictable, says jewelry store training expert Jimmy DeGroot. Here's how to make sure your team is prepared for the more common ones.

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David Brown

Four Ideas to Liquidate Your Extra Post-Holiday Inventory

Extra inventory left over from December could hurt your 2019 sales.

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THE BUSY DECEMBER SEASON is now behind you — it’s time to relax a little and recover from the most hectic time of the year … or is it?
The start of a new financial year can still carry something of a hangover from the December festivities you’ve just enjoyed, and foremost in this is the issue of your surplus inventory.
Unfortunately, this product can be a blockage to your ability to refresh with new purchases as it ties up cash flow that can be reinvested. Here are a few steps to follow in order to keep these items moving:

1. Determine how much of it there is. You can do this in two ways. First, print a stock list of items that you have more than one of. Second, print a stock list of all items over 6-9 months old. These two reports will show you the total dollar value of what is blocking your reorders.

2. Complete a physical stock take. Are these reports correct? Chances are that during the busy December period, there have been some errors in inputting, so you need to reconcile the value of the report with what you have on hand. In particular, check spare drawers for double-ups of your fast sellers.

3. Determine how you will liquidate this product. Is it time for a storewide sale? Can you offer a selection of these items in a “specials” showcase? What about your mailing list — could you make an offer to your best customers of an exclusive January deal on some of these items? Could you incentivize staff to move it on? There are a myriad of ways to promote shifting these items to your customers.

4. Don’t forget vendors and other store owners. Check with vendors in case they may want to replenish their own inventory. Often, they may be closed for manufacturing or receiving their overseas shipments during the early January window and may be happy to take back some items to fulfill other orders. Also, many of your fellow group members may be looking to re-stock some of these items, especially if they were part of a group promotion. Why not be their vendor for your own surplus product?

Fortunately, jewelry isn’t perishable, and you still have many opportunities to sell these items, but don’t allow them to sit around unattended. It can take a conscious effort to move these slower items on, so the sooner you start, the sooner you can get this money back into the bank.

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Shane Decker

24 Sales Meeting Topics for the New Year

Perfect practice every other week with your sales team can lead to new heights for your business.

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This article originally appeared in the January 2017 edition of INSTORE.

WHEN IT COMES to success as a retail jeweler, it all starts in the front. Your salespeople are your ambassadors to the world. And yet, many store owners still neglect to train their employees.

In 2017, commit to holding at least one sales meeting every other week, allowing enough time for learning and role-playing. Here is a list of 24 sales meeting topics for the new year.

1. The greeting — every client should be smiled at, greeted and spoken to within five seconds

2. Product knowledge — the knowledge of all products you carry, including branded jewelry and timepieces

3. GIA knowledge — the knowledge of diamonds, colored gemstones and precious metals

4. Romancing the sale — using value-added statements and romancing the beauty of the item and the reason the client came in

5. Asking relationship- and selling-specific questions — the more you get the client to talk and the more you listen, the higher the closing ratio

6. Handling objections — maintaining price integrity and being decisive; objections must be handled with speed and accuracy

7. Team selling and T.O.’s — having the right salesperson in front of the client

8. Selling company benefits — the reasons to buy from your company, like service and quality

9. Using the 8 types of closes and closing all the way through the presentation

10. How to sell with technical information when needed — make sure that the client doesn’t know more about the product than the salesperson

11. Store floor awareness — who’s waiting on whom, is the sweet spot covered, is anyone stranded?

12. Flawless execution of the basics — security rules, filling out job envelopes, and so on.

13. Proper follow-up in clienteling (An essential skill for any salesperson.)

14. Being organized during a presentation — don’t walk away and leave the client unattended

15. Add-ons — step-up, matching, and service counter additions

16. The 30-second window – how to time your close

17. Sales profiles — knowing each salesperson’s profile and understanding how to get the right person in front of a client

18. Understanding how to sell to millennials — young men buy peace of mind and freedom from risk (lab reports, guarantees, trade-in policies); young ladies buy style, fashion and sentiment

19. Knowing how to wow clients and the five reasons to do so

20. The three types of sales presentations — the coconut, the clerk and the created sale

21. The difference between a technical and a mechanical presentation

22. When and how to discuss price and knowing the price rules of your store

23. Price negotiation – the correct way to do so while maintaining profitability

24. How to follow up on all repairs (Big service opportunities here.)

If you’re a salesperson and you don’t get something on the first try, don’t give up: Continue to work on self-improvement. Many times, we give up too early and fall back on old bad habits. If you’re going to perfect your skill, it takes practice. So I don’t want you to just try it — I want you to do it over and over until you get it.

Sometimes, people try to fail because they do not want to change. But if you don’t like change, you’re going to hate extinction!

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Commentary: The Business

Hear Those Jingle Bells? They’re Also Wedding Bells

Hiding among the holiday crowds is a key customer who doesn’t want to be rushed.

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This story was originally published in the December 2011 edition of INSTORE.

THAT RINGING in your ears is jingle bells! Jewelers around the country are in the midst of the most important selling season of the year. According to J. Walter Thompson, the holiday selling season accounts for nearly 22 percent of annual diamond sales in the United States, meaning it’s still crucial to a successful year for retail jewelers.

Retailers invest months preparing for the season, not to mention dollars! Marketing, merchandising, packaging, special events, and sales training must all be in place.

The other ringing you hear is wedding bells! There is a vital statistic lurking inside that 22 percent number of which you should be aware: various studies show that about 25 percent of engagements occur during the fourth quarter in the U.S., making your diamond bridal business a key part of holiday sales.

Here’s the critical point: amid all the busy-ness of the season, don’t overlook this essential category. Make a list and check it twice. Focus on two important areas: Diamond inventory and the particular temperament of the engagement-ring shopper.

From an inventory/merchandise perspective, jewelers should be over-prepared and ready to present a wealth of options and styles to the engagementring customer. The adage that one can’t sell from an empty wagon applies! Savvy consumers will have scoured the Internet and other retail stores and seen hundreds of ring styles. Their jeweler of choice will have to provide options!

Engagement-ring customers are not the typical Christmas shopper. They are often walking into your store for the first time after, on average, three months of shopping (according to The Knot 2011 Engagement and Jewelry Study). This consumer is not preoccupied with getting a package under the tree, but rather with making one of the most important purchases of their lifetime. They require your full attention and will not respond well to being rushed just because it’s Christmas and you’re busy. Sales associates must be prepared to give the engagement-ring shopper the time and attention they require.

When making your “list,” be sure to include a training session or two to ready your sales staff to effectively engage the wedding-ring customer during the holiday season. Train them to change gears for this consumer so they don’t feel rushed or under-served. Use all the resources at your disposal to ensure an impressive engagement-ring inventory that will excite your customer. Make sure your collection of loose diamonds includes a good number of 1-carat diamonds, and if possible, have a 2 to 3 carat on hand. Overnight and “in time” inventory is great, but sometimes you can’t make the sale if you don’t have the goods!

That ringing in your ears is jingle bells and wedding bells playing two distinctly different but profitable tunes during this Christmas selling season!

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