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Editor's Note

As the Pandemic Slows, Jewelers See Opportunity in Specialization

Times of upheaval often precede periods of innovation.

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THROUGHOUT HISTORY, times of stress and upheaval have preceded renaissance, and the COVID-19 pandemic seems to be no different. As cases drop and Americans begin to peek their heads outside their front doors, the retail jewelry landscape appears very different than it did a year ago.

Many jewelers have realized the benefits of the appointment-only model. Some have even closed the doors of their showrooms and moved into office locations. Most have expanded their digital presence into e-commerce and other online services. Video-based selling, curbside services and other social distancing measures are now as effortless as they are ubiquitous.

When the old ways of doing business become suddenly impossible, new ways necessarily emerge. Among those approaches is the move toward specialization.

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The “department store” retail model of selling a huge variety of product categories has been dying for years, but in some ways has persisted in jewelry retail. But now, store owners are seeing the value in focus, whether it be specializing in the bridal business, designers/brands, colored gemstones, estate jewelry and over-the-counter buying, custom design, repairs/services or some limited combination thereof.

If you’re looking for ideas or ways to improve in your specialization, I invite you to turn to our lead story, “How to Make Money (No Matter What Type of Jeweler You Are)”, on page 38.

As the Pandemic Slows, Jewelers See Opportunity in Specialization

Trace Shelton

Editor-in-Chief, INSTORE
[email protected]

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

  • Set up counter cards throughout the store that list the services you offer. (Manager’s To-Do, p. 26)
  • Organize your bridal showcases by style rather than by vendor. (The Big Story, p. 38)
  • Use a large workflow chart in your shop to track jobs from start to finish. (The Big Story, p. 38)
  • When dealing with a difficult client, mentally frame the interaction as if you’re looking back at what is happening instead of living it. (Ask INSTORE, p. 92)
  • In a social media post, ask your audience to drop an emoji in the comments to receive a direct message on “something special” (sneak peek, discount code, special item, etc.). (Kathleen Cutler, p. 88)

Trace Shelton is the editor-in-chief of INSTORE magazine. He can be reached at [email protected].

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Wilkerson Testimonials | Sollberger’s

Going Out of Business Is an Emotional Journey. Wilkerson Is There to Make It Easier.

Jaki Cowan, the owner of Sollberger’s in Ridgeland, MS, decided the time was right to close up shop. The experience, she says, was like going into the great unknown. There were so many questions about the way to handle the store’s going-out-of-business sale. Luckily for Cowan, Wilkerson made the transition easier and managed everything, from marketing to markdowns.

“They think of everything that you don’t have the time to think of,” she says of the Wilkerson team that was assigned to manage the sale. And it was a total success, with financial goals met by Christmas with another sale month left to go.

Wilkerson even had a plan to manage things while Covid-19 restrictions were still in place. This included limiting the number of shoppers, masking and taking temperatures upon entrance. “We did everything we could to make the staff and public feel as safe as possible.”

Does she recommend Wilkerson to other retailers thinking of retiring, liquidating or selling excess merchandise? Absolutely. “If you are considering going out of business, it’s obviously an emotional journey. But truly rest assured that you’re in good hands with Wilkerson.”

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