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6 Trends in Display and Packaging from JCK Las Vegas

You have many options for conveying a brand and creating an experience.




IF YOU ARE SEARCHING for displays and packaging that go beyond the functional, the marketplace this year is brimming with new ideas. The unexpected, outstanding, delightful, beautiful and clever filled the JCK Las Vegas expo. From the immediacy of attention-getting to the lasting impact of memorability, jewelry marketers and retailers have options for conveying a brand and creating an experience.

Here are the key trends to watch among display and packaging exhibitors:

Color is Colorful

Mixed color gems, enamels and metals are a major jewelry trend — an idea that is carrying through to displays and packaging. Rich velvets have made a comeback on displays and boxes. Under newer LED lighting, darker shades of navy and slate gray help gold and colored gems pop. The soft neutrals that have dominated the industry continue to be strong with added textures and subtle gradated tones, moirés and ombrés instilling a sophisticated sense of luxury.


The Showcase as a Show

Compelling open space and custom lighting of clean, modern wood frames around recessed blocks of color is how Adria Lanham, the design director at Bufkor, used windows to highlight packaging and displays. The simplicity reflects a refreshed philosophy and design approach with just enough style to set the stage. Box Brokers Group showed a wide variety of design techniques, materials and production capabilities. What struck me was the detail of a ring slot wrapped in color-coordinated bengaline — subtly set into suede and leather trays. What appeared as an aesthetic use of contrasting materials served a much greater function. Bengaline is a material that resists ink-stains that result from price tags inserted into the slot and pen marks. Wood laminated surfaces contrasted with satin-finished steel frames and conveyed modernity that reflected trends in home furnishings at Alfa Box. They also set off the drama of clean tall window neck forms, in suede done in natural tans and creams.

Bufkor 2019 JCK booth

Box Brokers Group 2019 JCK booth

Alpha Box 2019 JCK booth

Alpha Box 2019 JCK booth

System of Touch and Touches

Shoppers who touch products are more likely to buy them — 40% to 60% more likely — and they are willing to pay more, according to “The Power of Touch,” a study of consumer buying behavior. For displays, it means finding ways to bring consumers through the glass. The use of colors, textures, risers, props and other “touches” creates focal points and draws attention along the customer’s journey. Thinking of the shopping experience as a designed and branded system that goes from overall store ambiance to displays, to in-case details and top of counter pads is a way to create a deliberate and cohesive experience that moves the jewelry closer to the customer, culminating in interaction that can make the sale.


Small Is Big

Wedding rings continue to drive profits for many in the jewelry business.

The box it comes in is an important part of the proposal and wedding experience. Elegant and small is a major trend. The Jewelers Box, based in London, makes bespoke ring boxes with small leather coffrets like the Italian one in which my dad kept his cufflinks. Naturally dyed leathers in luxe colors are embossed for a rich artisanal package experience in both stock and custom options. Of all the boxes at the show, the company had the tiniest and most precious. At Gunther Mele, a darling box dubbed “The Sweet Heart Box,” is done in vintage velvets of amethyst, berry, blush and teal, hinged for those popping the question. As CEO Darrell King explained to me, it “speaks to romance and heirloom.”

Ring boxes from The Jewelers Box

Ring boxes from The Jewelers Box

Ring boxes from Gunther Mele

Ring boxes from Gunther Mele

Useful Interactivity

Tech is a much talked about trend and has been for years, however, this year’s show focused on technology that is actually useful for retailers. An example is Gunther Mele’s display app that helps you create layouts for your showcases, allowing you to interactively swap out counter pads, risers and other elements — calculating costs as you go. You can also create a box or design a bag. All of it is easy, changeable and quick, with stress-free ordering.

Flexible and Dynamic: Alex Velvet has long been a first stop for retailers in search of new ideas in displays and packaging. Owner, Koko Alexanian showed how newness can be subtle and compelling with sculptural shapes, neck-forms, and fresh metallic fabric finishes. Koko also shared clever ways of instantly creating completely different looks by flipping around window panels in an array of dynamic colors and subtle natural tones and textures.

Capturing attention and creating lasting impact are how jewelry brands and retailers win in the marketplace. Exhibitors at JCK Las Vegas truly delivered this year with inspiring new ideas at every price point.


Pam Levine, president of Levine Luxury Branding, is an expert at harnessing the senses and the emotionally complex — often silent — drivers of purchase decisions in stores and online. Contact her at



Gene the Jeweler

It Was Hawaii Day at Gene the Jeweler’s Store … Or Was It?

In this episode of Jimmy DeGroot’s satirical Gene the Jeweler series, Gene learns that it was Hawaii Day at his store. At least that’s what his employee, Jeremy, says. But Jeremy’s answers aren’t quite adding up. It’s hard to say what this “Hawaii Day” was really all about.

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Shane Decker

What Not To Do During the First 30 Seconds of Any Sale

Huddling at the back is a big no-no.




HAVE YOU EVER walked into what appeared to be a nice store, only to spin and leave faster than you came in? Or, have you ever walked into a nice place of business and watched two salespeople look at each other, then you, then each other again, like they’re seeing which one of them is going to wait on you?

You’re not alone — we’ve all had this experience, and jewelry stores are no exception. At too many stores, you’re not greeted at all, and sometimes, you can’t even find anyone to take care of your needs. This is one reason the Internet is doing so well.

People today are time-starved, and they will decide within the first 30 seconds of entering your store whether or not they’re going to give you their money.

Let’s begin with the first five seconds: every customer must be greeted — ideally, from the “sweet spot” in your store (15 feet inside your door to the customer’s right as they walk in). When you’re a client and you’re acknowledged, you feel important. It’s a relief subconsciously to realize that the sales associates know you’re there.

Never allow your sales floor to be vacant when clients come in. Many say they are just looking, but that’s an opportunity for you to use your first close by saying, “I always do that before I buy; let’s get started!” or “I’m glad you came in to take care of that today.”

“I’m just looking” means “I’m just spending.” It means “I’m on a mission, and when I find what I’m looking for, I’m gonna buy it.” It does not mean, “Leave me alone.” Like I said before, we are a time-starved nation, and nobody is just looking.

Do not come from the back of the store to the front; you should be there already. When you come from the back, your mind is focused on the busy work you were doing or the donut you were eating.

Never greet a customer from a group huddle. It’s good to laugh in your store, but if you’re all laughing about something when the client walks in, they may think you’re laughing at them.

Do not use canned openings like “Hi how are you?” or “What can I help you with?” Clients don’t need “help”; they want professional assistance to make a purchase or information about a service needed. Likewise, don’t say, “Good morning, welcome to Smith Jewelers.” That gets old, fast. What if they come in three or four times a year and hear you say the same thing? Keep your greetings creative and make sure they’re welcoming. Your greeting should be professional and make your client feel glad they came into your place of business.

Be present for the start of the sale, and keep it professional. Starting strong allows you to make it to the end (and hopefully close the sale). By doing so, you’ll keep your client from wanting to go to the Internet — after all, we do want to talk to real people, especially when it comes to jewelry.

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David Geller

Close More Sales, Courtesy of David Geller’s Uncle Irv

These four “tricks” from an old sales pro will help you make more money in your store.




MY UNCLE IRV WAS the No. 1 car salesperson for every single dealership he ever worked for. When he retired in 1987, he was the No. 1 Jaguar salesman in the United States. Here are some tips I learned from Uncle Irv that will help you make more sales today.


My Uncle Irv had a Rolodex, and while the salesmen on the floor waited for a “hot one,” Uncle Irv was calling his previous customers to see if:

  • They had friends looking for a car.
  • Their lease was up and it was time to buy.
  • They were getting tired of the older model he sold them years ago.

He made appointments while the rest sat around and waited.

Tip from Uncle Irv: Call your customers twice a year to just say “hi.” Contact them or their spouse about milestone dates for gift ideas.


Uncle Irv fought in the Philippines, and at age 26, he was considered an “old soldier.” He told me they were preparing to go to battle and a 19 year-old started to cry. The sergeant came to the private and asked, “What’s wrong?”

“I’m scared, Sarge. I don’t want to go.”

The sergeant replied, “You don’t have to go, son. You just can’t stay here!”

In the 80s, I almost went bankrupt. Uncle Irv told me this story and said, “David, you just can’t stay here where you are now.” So, I got up enough gumption, fired half of my 16 employees, started over, developed the price book, and a year later, started to make it back.

Tip from Uncle Irv: You can’t keep doing things the way you have been. Times are changing and you must change, too.


When Uncle Irv was the sales manager of a big Chevy dealership here, he had to motivate and train the sales staff, but also give them confidence when times were tough. You’ve had the same feeling: it’s getting close to having to make payroll, funds are low and you’ll take any price to get money into the bank account. Uncle Irv didn’t want to have the salesmen look at a walk-in customer as their last meal ticket and give away the farm.

Out of his own pocket, he gave each salesman three $100 bills to carry around at all times. He wanted them to feel like they didn’t need the sale, so that they wouldn’t discount so much.

Tip from Uncle Irv: In one way or another, throw money and jewels at your sales staff. Make them feel and look richer, and they will sell better. I used to let my staff buy or custom-make any piece of jewelry at 10 percent above our cost and take it out of their paycheck over six payroll periods.


Uncle Irv told me that many salespeople are afraid of silence. He said, “Tell the customer the price and then shut the hell up!”

Scenario: You tell the customer $1,495 for the ring, and then there’s silence. Twenty seconds go by and you’re thinking “OMG, they aren’t saying anything. They are going to bolt or go online. Maybe I should give them a discount; I need this sale.”

Meanwhile, the customer is thinking, “Hmm, let me see — rent is due Friday, car note next week, summer camp dues in three weeks. No — I’m OK, I can do this.”

The first person who breaks the silence will give up their money to the person on the other side of the showcase.

Uncle Irv also brought his lunch every day. He told me, “I can’t afford a $500 hamburger.” (You’ll get it.)

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David Brown

Here’s How to Make Your Biggest Sale Ever … Again

To reproduce your highest-priced sale, you have to show the right product.




CHANCES ARE YOU easily recall the single highest-priced item that you’ve ever sold in your store — the adrenalin rush of seeing it appear on your terminal or as a line item in your reporting or maybe a deposit on the bank statement. The excitement of moments like this makes retail worthwhile.

Assess how it happened. What were the circumstances of that particular sale? Did you consciously create the opportunity, or did it fall in your lap?

A better question is, have you consciously tried to reproduce it?

Perhaps you thought you got lucky and it was a one-off sale. Yet, the reality is that if you did it once, you can do it again.

Let’s assume the item was a diamond ring, as that’s the most likely scenario. Do you have anything in your inventory at that price range? Perhaps it was a custom piece made for someone; nevertheless, chances are you do not have a similar piece displayed in your store.

The challenge is that your current inventory influences your customer’s perception. If your diamond rings range between $10,000- $20,000 retail, your customer will see you as a store that offers fine jewelry up to $20,000. A customer who is willing to spend $50,000 may not see you as the place to shop, causing you to lose these potential luxury sales.

We are not suggesting that you rush out to buy a lot of $50,000 rings. Instead, work out an arrangement with one of your top performing vendors that will allow you to showcase these higher-priced items. Remember, if you hope to sell a $50,000 ring, you may need to show a $70,000 one to get the market interested. Customers will seldom spend more than you show them.

The best way to reproduce your highest-priced sale is to make sure your inventory includes those price points and to prominently display them in your store.

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