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Do You Or Don't You?

Do You Keep Tabs On Local Competitors? Here’s What Our Brain Squad Said

The results were split 50/50.

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Yes: 48%

    • I have sent paid people to secret shop to get prices and see what repair services are recommended. — Josh Rider, Dylan Rings, Montgomery, AL
    • I click on every ad and check out all the social media and website of every online diamond engagement ring seller/promoter. I experience their vibe, accessibility, shopping features, value add-ons, education, etc. and use the experience to ask our guests where we can improve and then start making those improvements. It’s a constant work in progress, but well worth it as so many guests find us online and then realize we’re their neighborhood jeweler. — Jill Keith, Enchanted Jewelry, Danielson, CT
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    • I have the other area jewelers in my Facebook insights. It lets me see when they post, what they post, and what the response from the public is. That said, there is more than enough work for all of us, and I deeply respect my competition. All good folks. — Jo Goralski, The Jewelry Mechanic, Oconomowoc, WI
    • We check Facebook, ads, Instagram, Pinterest and community activities. — Dale Robertson, Dale Robertson Jewelry, Loveland, OH
    • Always checking out the other stores. Local and far away when on trips. Always call on the new for-lease signs, even if I just signed a new lease. Must always be aware of your market. Moved my store one mile nine years ago. Knew the market turned down some other spaces. When this landlord called, I knew the market, the prices and how desparate he was. Got a great lease with a great landlord. — Stephen Ware, Ware Designs, Lafayette, CA
    • Our “covert operations” tend to be sending in friends or family to the other local jewelers with gold to sell or repairs to fix so that we can gauge whether our pricing is competitive. We want to get a feel for their pricing but especially the level of customer service because that is extremely important to us! — Mary Jo Chanski, Hannoush Jewelers, Rutland, VT
    • I follow all of their social media pages and I am always trying to go see what special events they have going on. Plus, I secret shop ALL THE TIME! It is vital to know what your competition is doing and how they are selling. Gotta beat the best if you want to be the best. — Erica Lorenz, Michael & Sons, Reno, NV
    • Talk to manufacturers’ reps and secret shop. Also participate in our state jewelers association. Word gets around. — Chuck Kuba, Iowa Diamond, Des Moines, IA
    • Keep watch for commercials and billboards, print ads … always pay attention to what they are advertising and how. — Kim Hatchell, Galloway & Moseley, Sumter, SC

    No: 52%

    • What others are doing doesn’t influence me. — Kelly Jensen, Plateau Jewelers, Sammamish, WA
    • I know who is around already. I know that I am one of the very few real goldsmiths in my area. I rely on word-of-mouth advertising and have an extremely high customer retention rate. — Catherine Dining, CG Designs, Lafayette, CA
    • If you keep looking in the rear view mirror, it is hard to go full speed ahead! — Jon Walp, Long Jewelers, Virginia Beach, VA
    • I think the answer is really somewhere in between. We do talk to sales reps and customers about their offerings. We do also watch their advertising, both traditional and digital. — Steve Floyd, Floyd & Green, Aiken, SC
    • I do keep tabs, but I don’t do much. Most of my “competition” is more what I consider “colleagues.” We’re friendly neighbors. But I follow them on social media, and they follow me. It’s as more to see what they’re doing so we DON’T overlap. But if you do find yourself in hardcore competition with others in your market, you better have Google alerts set up for them as well as yourself. — Casey Gallant, Stephen Gallant Jewelers, Orleans, MA
    • We don’t feel we have competition. The other stores are outdated in inventory, decor and customer service. I would rather worry about what we are doing right than what they are doing wrong. — Elysia Demers, Barnhardt Jewelers, Spencer, NC
    • Because other jewelers are not my competition — cellphone, computer and new technology sellers should be looked at as our competitors. As jewelers, we should all be colleagues! It should not be how I can beat out the jeweler down the street; rather, how as an industry can we get the public to realize that the gifts of technology are obsolete once they walk out the door whereas jewelry is a lasting legacy? — Patty Gallun Hansen, Dorothy Gallun Fine Jewelry, Cedarburg, WI

    What’s the Brain Squad?

    If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 76 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

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Do You Or Don't You?

Only 31 Percent of Surveyed Jewelers Have a Structured Onboarding Program for New Employees

Most feel they are too small to bother with it.

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Yes: 31%

  • I’ve had a general manager for the first time the last two years and I also have a sales manager. They now take all new staff through a training program, but I don’t think it’s what it needs to be. It doesn’t include the history of our company, our philosophy, values, or the “why” we do what we do — it’s more nuts and bolts, like, “Here’s how you write up a repair, enter a sale, here’s where the bathrooms are, here’s how you read up on the brands we carry, etc.” — Valerie Naifeh, Naifeh Fine Jewelry, Oklahoma City, OK
  • The first couple of days are spent reading and learning our policies and procedures. From there, a lot of shadowing and online training; we need to break bad habits. — Tom Schowalter, Miner’s Den Jewelers, Royal Oak, MI
  • I wrote two booklets to help new employees. One was a day-by-day training (to be conducted with an existing staff member). The other is about a hundred questions that I want them to learn (what’s the difference between 14K and 18K gold, pros and cons of platinum heads, what the danger code word is and what to do, etc.). — Peter Tims, White Mountain Jewelers, Show Low, AZ
  • We have a training manual and I ask each existing staff member to choose areas of expertise to train the new staffer. I include my entire staff in training a new member. This gives each of them time to get to know the new person and creates a sense of community. — Kristin Cornwell, Cornwell Jewelers, Athens, OH
  • My daughter manages one-on-one training and is good at recognizing and promoting specific talents. She has created a manual and chore lists, and empowered new hires to improve them. — Eve J. Alfille, Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio, Evanston, IL
  • We use 10-day training checklists followed over time by multiple two-hour courses on different topics. — Robert Borneman, Diamond Jewelers, Centereach, NY
  • New hires are to work behind the scenes and shadow for one month. During that time, we drill on how we gather information, make wish list entries, take in guidelines, layaway, etc. Then on weeks five and six, they are allowed to engage customers. Time flies and everyone bemoans the first month, and THEN I hear: “Wow! This system take so long to learn. There are so many rules. We have a lot of customers; how can you remember everyone’s name? How am I supposed to do a complicated return and smile?” — Denise Oros, Linnea Jewelers, La Grange, IL
  • New staff participate in our morning meeting every day for 30 minutes, going over new product, new policies, new pricing, role play and the daily challenge. New staff are not allowed on the floor for two weeks, then we place them on a staged pricing routine starting with showing products under $500. When we see how this is handled, we increase to $ 1,000, and so on. — Ragnar Bertelsen, Ragnar Jewellers, Vancouver, BC
  • The store manual covers everything. It’s great reading for insomniacs. — Bill Elliott, Ross Elliott Jewelers, Terre Haute, IN

No: 47%

  • There is never enough time to structure and enforce it properly. — Dorothy Vodicka, The Gem Collection, Tallahassee, FL
  • Our turnover has been low, but now that is changing. I will need to develop one for the new people I have to find and hire. — John Hayes, Goodman’s Jewelers, Madison, WI
  • We’re family run, so it’s more “trial by fire” when we have someone come in. — Wadeana Beveridge, Community Jewelry, Brandon, FL
  • Working on one. Just brought on new employee this week. Some protocol but not written in stone, let alone on paper. — Michael Cook, Walter J. Cook Jeweler, Paoli, PA
  • I’m not a corporation, nor do I want my new employees to feel that way. We train the way we want to train and it’s different every single time. It really just depends on the person and how they learn best. — Marcus Majors, Sam L. Majors, Midland, TX

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

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Do You Or Don't You?

Our Brain Squad Sounds Off On Security Guards

92% of all stores don’t have one.

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Yes: 8%

  • We had an armed robbery in February of 2018. We brought on our officers after that to protect the store and evaluate customers. We planned to only keep them until we had our mantrap doors installed, but shortly after install, we heard another rumor of a gang member discussing robbing our store, so we have kept them on. I like having them because it relieves our staff of the responsibility of evaluating customers. Our officers can easily protect them and move any odd customers out of the store. We are in a heavy walking traffic area with a lot of tourists, and customers mostly thank our officers for protecting them. If they ask why we have officers, we tell them it’s to allow our staff to better focus on service and sales. — Elizabeth Kittell, Pretty In Patina, Omaha, NE
  • Customers love it, staff loves it. Everyone feels safe and also that any jewelry they buy from us or leave with us is safe. Ours are off-duty uniformed sheriff deputies, though, and that may make a difference. — Dorothy Vodicka, The Gem Collection, Tallahassee, FL
  • We hire our local PD at Christmas when we are open late to do details. It is expensive, but it gives me great peace of mind. It also makes it so I don’t need to be there every hour. In the end, we get to know our local officers and they appreciate the cushy detail. Most have wives or girlfriends (or are female officers), so sometimes they even buy something. — Mark Snyder, Snyder Jewelers, Weymouth, MA
  • We sell high-end watches, so customers and employees feel much safer with a guard at the door. Today, most insurance companies require it. Besides, we have been robbed before and our jeweler was shot. After that, I said I would no longer work in our downtown store. The guard can have my paycheck so we feel safe! — Teddie Gause, Gause & Son Jewelers, Ocala, FL
  • Customers love it, staff loves it. Everyone feels safe and also that any jewelry they buy from us or leave with us is safe. Ours are off-duty uniformed sheriff deputies, though, and that may make a difference. — Dorothy Vodicka, The Gem Collection, Tallahassee, FL

No: 92%

  • I used to have one until an off-duty policeman said, “Do you really want someone with a minimal education to have a gun in your store?” That was one reason. The second reason was the confidentiality issue. Did not like that they were hearing what was going on. Now I have a locked door and like it a lot better. — Susan Eisen, Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry & Watches, El Paso, TX
  • Added security will not be productive because the current clientele do not pose a risk and we are not big enough for the professional to bother us. We have a great alarm system along with CCTV with monitors outside of the sales floor. Law enforcement response to an alarm is less than one minute away. — E.L. Menk Jewelers, Brainerd, MN
  • We do not because of the extra cost. Missouri is also a concealed-carry state, and we can and do carry our own firearms at times. We are well-trained on personal security and have taken courses on how to be safe and what to do in case of a robbery. — Scott Schlagenhauff, Jewelry By Morgan, Kansas City, MO
  • Sadly, I believe that having a guard makes the environment consistently tense and exudes distrust. We prefer to keep staff trained in security measures to allow our customers a warm, inviting atmosphere. — Morgan Bartel, Susann’s Custom Jewelers, Corpus Christi, TX
  • We live in a relatively safe place and we all carry a weapon. Keep in mind that the weapons are for saving lives, not jewelry. — Chris Snowden, Snowden’s Jewelers, Wilmington, NC
  • We do not have a security guard, but we do have a locked door with a door buzzer and a doorbell that alerts us that someone is at the door. — Frank Salinardi, Linardi’s Jewelers, Plantation, FL
  • Robbers can take it all. I have insurance; I don’t need any gunplay in my store. — Donald Killelea, Killelea Jewelers, Midlothian, IL
  • We had one, which seemed to intimidate clients. We have installed self-locking doors, a mantrap and clearly visible cameras inside and out. — Steven Goldfarb, Alvin Goldfarb Jeweler, Bellevue, WA
  • When we have had security guards in the past, it made our customers feel uncomfortable. We buzz customers in through a double door system. No system is foolproof. We all need to be very aware of what is happening at all times. — Bob Richards, Bob Richards Jewelers, Germantown, TN
  • We are fortunate in that our retail center provides 24/7 armed security as part of our common area maintenance. It was certainly a plus in choosing our location. — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

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Do You Or Don't You?

Do You Use Messaging Apps to Contact Customers?

4 out of 5 Brain Squad members say no.

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Yes: 19%

  • Facebook Messenger: we embedded a “message us” button on our website that is linked to Facebook Messenger so customers can ask questions online without having to use email. — Chris Wattsson, Wattsson & Wattsson Jewelers, Marquette, MI
  • We use it to get responses immediately following a sale and reviews. — Joe Thacker, Thacker Jewelry, Lubbock, TX
  • Sending photos and replying to inquiries. I don’t have email sent to my phone in a failing attempt at having some privacy. I actively stay after sales via email. I use WhatsApp mostly when communicating with suppliers as I chase merchandise that I no longer can afford to stock in my cases. — Eric Ohanian, Leon Ohanian & Sons, Boston, MA
  • We send texts through The Edge software for completed custom and repairs. Our customers seem to prefer this for notifications. — Russell Criswell, Vulcan’s Forge, Kansas City, MO
  • I use ManyChat, which is a “messenger bot.” The bots are the hot thing this year on Facebook. It has helped create a series of questions that can communicate with customers and send the customer interaction through my sales funnel. — Rita Wade, Wade Designs Jewelry, Rocky Mount, NC
  • We’ve been using Podium since the fall of 2017. We text most of our repair customers now and they love it. Plus our Google reviews went from 4 to over 50 since using the app. — Travis Piper, Piper Diamond Co., Vincennes, IN
  • My 14 year-old son uses Snapchat to show jewelry he makes. — James Stinson, Diamond Classics, McMinnville, TN
  • I use Podium almost daily to correspond with my clients. From the request for an online review to sending images, quoting custom and/or repairs, setting up appointments or just a quick congratulations on an engagement, Podium allows us to communicate in one of the easiest platforms available: text messages. We have closed sales through Podium because of the ease and convenience of texting. I could talk forever about my satisfaction with Podium. — Erika Godfrey, Hawthorne Jewelry, Kearney, NE
  • We just use a texting app that has a different phone number so we don’t have to give out our personal numbers. Everyone can access it and it looks like a regular text to a customer. — Gabi Mecherkany, Bernard Jewelers, Tewksbury, MA
  • LiveChat on our website; it’s a great way to connect with people. Giving my cell number and texting customers personally (not autobot), we’ve turned into a sought-after concierge service while our store has been closed to move to a safer, more convenient location. — Jill Keith, Enchanted Jewelry, Danielson, CT

No: 81%

  • I do email marketing and social media but no texts. I hate when I get them from random stores, so I don’t want to do this to my customers. I do use my cellphone to text customers more and more. — Michael Kanoff, Michael’s Jewelers, Yardley, PA
  • One more thing I don’t have time to learn how to use. And I personally HATE being contacted by text or Messenger for business purposes, especially unsolicited. — Janne Etz, Contemporary Concepts, Cocoa, FL
  • I do not want to be buried in the never-ending deluge of digital crap that is ongoing. — Mark Thomas Ruby, SunSpirit Designs, Loveland, CO
  • We use Podium. It is a great multifunctional tool that allows us to ask for reviews as well as communicate directly with our customers. — Erica Lorenz, Michael & Sons, Reno, NV
  • We’ve been using Podium since the fall of 2017. We text most of our repair customers now and they love it. Plus our Google reviews went from 4 to over 50 since using the app. — Travis Piper, Piper Diamond Co., Vincennes, IN
  • Text. Especially our male clients love texts. It’s very efficient. — Valerie Naifeh, Naifeh Fine Jewelry, Oklahoma City, OK

What’s the Brain Squad?

If you’re the owner or top manager of a U.S. jewelry store, you’re invited to join the INSTORE Brain Squad. By taking one five-minute quiz a month, you can get a free t-shirt, be featured prominently in this magazine, and make your voice heard on key issues affecting the jewelry industry. Good deal, right? Sign up here.

Continue Reading

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