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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 80 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?

Yes or No: Print Advertising for the Holidays?

Our Brain Squad weighs in.

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Yes: 54%

  • People look for jewelry at the holiday season more than other times. — Steve & Alice Wittels, Aljan Jewelers, Mahopac, NY
  • There are still people in our area who get the local daily paper. Demo probably 45 years and up. — Cindy Fuller, Fuller Designs, Poplar Bluff, MO
  • We have a clientele that encompasses all ages. Older clients still follow and advertise using traditional methods. We still have to do everything. — Jon Walp, Long Jewelers, Virginia Beach, VA
  • We have a weekly newspaper in our small town and we advertise every single week of the year. Ironically, our print ads are our most effective form of media. v Nicole Shannon, Keir Fine Jewelry, Whistler, BC
  • We receive co-op for some vendors. Seems more people are looking at print during the holidays. — Brenda Hefner, Oz’s Jewelers, Hickory, NC
  • Christmas catalog is the only print media that works for us. — Joe Thacker, Thacker Jewelry, Lubbock, TX
  • People still respond to print! Postcards, ads in popular local magazines. Some of our customer base is still not digital. — Kim Hatchell, Galloway & Moseley, Sumter, SC
  • We do very little in print. We focus more on direct mail, email blasts and social media. We feel that you just don’t get the bang for the buck with print today. — David Lindsay, Purdy’s Jewellery & Gems, Bobcaygeon, ON
  • I believe that you need to utilize all levels of marketing in today’s world. Print reaches an older generation that is not as comfortable with social media. As well. I believe that with social media at times, it feels like you are bombarded with ads. — Stacey Gemici-Saunders, Gelmici Jewellers, Edson, AB
  • I only run print ads in November and December, with the bulk in November because we are a custom shop. I cut print advertising by 70 percent this year, and our numbers are running neck-and-neck with last year. Social media brings customers to us far better than print ad ever did. — Jo Goralski, The Jewelry Mechanic, Oconomowoc, WI
  • I use it to feature a specific product (i.e., diamond stud earrings) or some other item that I may stock in anticipation of a trend for the holidays. Small ads as a reminder. — Murphy McMahon, Murphy McMahon & Co., Kalispell, MT
  • Though it has lost its effectiveness, our older customers are almost exclusively receptive to print advertising. — Steven Wardle, Forest Beach Design, Chatham, MA
  • Even though the Houston Chronicle only has a circulation of about 7 percent of the population, that readership is a core demo for the holiday jewelry buyer: male, educated, employed, disposable income … and it provides an immediacy that no other media replicates. — Rex Solomon, Houston Jewelry, Houston, TX

No: 46%

  • Doesn’t work well in my area. — Laura Pool, Laura’s Jewelry Designs, St. Robert, MO
  • Diminishing results for last decade. Finally redistributed entire ad budget. Switched to social media. Still doing direct mail but no newspapers, shoppers guides, etc. — Robert Borneman, Diamond Jewelers, Centereach, NY
  • Too much money and no guarantee to increase sales. — Tommy Thobe, The Village Gem, Perry Hall, MD
  • I do not. I think billboards, social media and email marketing are much more cost effective, and I like the idea that you can target a specific audience. — Michael Kanoff, Michael’s Jewelers, Yardley, PA
  • Not this year; will be doing more radio. — Cathy Graves, Ellis Jewelers, Frankfort, IN
  • Digital works better for us. — Tim Sherrer, Lou’s Jewelry, Mobile, AL
  • Circulation in the newspaper business has decreased, and those reading already have most of their jewelry wardrobe. — Laurie Cusher, Hyde Park Jeweler, Hyde Park, NY
  • It stopped working. — Ken A. Apland, Apland Inc., Hood River, OR
  • I used to send direct mail. I am planning not to this year. Emails are working; why waste the dollars. — Varsenne Massoyan, Massoyan Jewelers, Old Tappan, NJ

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?

Try To Sell Wedding Bands With the Engagement Ring? Our Brain Squad Is Almost Split

Slightly more jewelers say ‘don’t do it.’

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THIS MONTH’S QUESTION: Do you try to broach the wedding band sale immediately after closing the engagement ring sale?

Yes: 45%

  • We offer a credit based on the amount of the engagement ring purchased towards wedding bands. We mainly let the customers know that, and if they want to look, we do. — Rick Sanders, Sanders Jewelers, Gainesville, FL
  • Actually I mention it before we close the engagement sale: “What band will we be making to match?” — Russell Criswell, Vulcan’s Forge, Kansas City, MO
  • We offer a coupon for money off both their wedding bands when an engagement ring is sold. It does well for us, too. — Beth Cevasco, Scott’s Custom Jewelers, Fairlawn, OH
  • Many years ago, I read that statistically, people don’t even buy their bands from the same store as they buy their engagement ring. From that time on, I’ve always at least planted the seed and often offer an incentive to have the clients come back. After all, you’ve already done the heavy lifting. Why not finish the job? — Jon Walp, Long Jewelers, Virginia Beach, VA
  • I like to show all the options available when the engagement ring is here and the customer is excited. Also, many guys don’t necessarily think about rings for themselves, and they start to have fun looking. It’s finally their turn! — Robin Lies, Burnells Creative Gold, Wichita, KS
  • They are in a happy, excited mood and still in the buying mood. — Paul Reiniger, Reiniger Jewelers, Swansea, IL
  • Why … to educate, to create satisfaction with our product quality/care/maintenance plans, to create additional ring sales and to create lifelong customers/friends and referrals. I always tell people that they want to consider the type of band that will be worn with the ring (integrated, contour, stacked … ), that guys tend to get a few alternative bands for fashion, and that we offer a Tough Love silicone band to each of them complimentary as we’re describing best care for fine jewelry. — Jill Keith, Enchanted Jewelry, Danielson, CT
  • Always looking for the add-on sale because if you don’t ask, you will not always get it. — Rick Nichols, Nassau Jewelry, Fernandina Beach, FL
  • If they decide on a ring that does not have a matching wedding band, then they need to start thinking about having one made right now if they are going to consider more than one ring. I have had customers come in a week before the wedding and want a band that will have to be custom-made. We can’t usually help them at that late date. Even if they don’t purchase now, they need to be thinking about a band for the guy and the girl. — Murphy McMahon, Murphy McMahon & Co., Kalispell, MT

No: 55%

  • I don’t ever pressure my customers to buy anything. I don’t like it and would never do such a thing to them. — Craig C. Curtis, Belfast Jewelry, Belfast, ME
  • Only if we are custom-making an engagement ring do we approach the band sale at that time. We have found in our area that an engagement might take a year or few, and we do not want to push the issue and lose the engagement sale. — Tim Wright, Simply Unique Jewelry Designs, Yorktown, VA
  • They are usually exhausted from the decision-making, if they were selecting as a couple. If he’s making the decision alone, HIS band is the last thing on his mind! The exception is for same-sex couples. We look for both together — it’s cool! — Debbie Fox, Fox Fine Jewelry, Ventura, CA
  • Still in shock from selling the engagement ring. — Bill Elliott, Ross Elliott Jewelers, Terre Haute, IN
  • Why ruin the moment? If it needs to be resized or they bring it in for cleaning, then we will bring the wedding bands up. — Donald Killelea, Killelea Jewelers, Midlothian, IL
  • Too pushy. If you’ve done a good job, the chances are high you’ll get an opportunity down the road. — Bob Goodman, Robert Goodman Jewelers, Zionsville, IN
  • We always let the buyer know that they will receive a discount on their bands as a reward for buying the engagement from us. When we meet the bride-to-be is when we really drive that point home. The guy has forgotten every detail as soon as his feet hit the curb. We feel it’s better to let him get out of the store feeling excited about what he’s about to do and follow up with the bride-to-be a few weeks later. We have over 90 percent conversion on wedding band sales to clients who bought their engagement from us. — Mark Snyder, Snyder Jewelers, Weymouth, MA
  • I should. I get lazy. — Steven B. Goldfarb, Alvin Goldfarb Jeweler, Bellevue, WA
  • Relationships take time to form and evolve. Things should happen in gradual steps. First maybe the engagement ring, next would be a birthday or holiday gift. I should also see her a few times for a cleaning where we can talk about the wedding planning process and than bring up wedding bands, wedding gifts and something borrowed. — Christopher Sarraf, Nuha Jewelers, Plainview, NY

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?

Discounts For Cash Payments? 6 Out of 10 Brain Squad Members Say Yes

Most jewelers will offer at least a small discount for dollars.

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Yes: 60%

  • If cash, the discount can be 4 percent, but usually only offered if the customer keeps insisting on a discount. — Spencer K., Sheridan, WY
  • 3 percent. It’s what I would pay to run a credit card. — Kelly J., Sammamish, WA
  • No matter how low I go on a sale, I always leave 2-4 percent for a credit card. If a client offers cash (or a check), I will give them 1-3 percent off, depending on the item. The credit card companies have created a truly dependent society. Everyone uses them for every purchase. Clients do not even KNOW that there is a fee to the vendor! We receive our 1099 every year from Mastercard/Visa and we could pay another employee a full salary with what we pay them just to accept cards. It’s crazy and nobody even knows! — Mark S., Weymouth, MA
  • Courtesy 10 percent if asked for. — Gordon L., Santa Fe, NM
  • With repeat customers, I like to offer them a discount as an incentive to keep coming back. — James S., McMinnville, TN
  • Usually 10-15 percent, if at all. Not too often, but some customers are insistent, and it’s not usually the millennials. — Cathy M., Austin, TX
  • If they ask, I’ll give them up to 20 percent off of in-case items, never any discount for custom or repairs. — David P., Durham, NC
  • Depends on how often the customer buys from me and how long I’ve had the piece. Maybe 30 percent off. I have a month-long clearance in September, which most of my customers wait for. — Laura P., St. Robert, MO
  • 2-5 percent. I’d rather give it to my customers than the credit card company. — David E., Tacoma, WA
  • I offer my credit card discount if someone is haggling and only for dollars. A check will not do. — Paula D., Asheville, NC
  • When someone negotiates in cash, I am happy to offer them the 3 percent discount for what it would cost me in credit card fees. However, I always respond to them by saying, “I look terrible in orange” (meaning going to jail in an orange jumpsuit), and we pause and chuckle a moment, and then I further explain that I will still be giving you a receipt for this purchase, on which I will need to include sales tax. Reminding them that sales tax is “collected” for our state … and I am obligated to collect it. It is NOT my money. Most of the time, they understand and are grateful for the additional 3 percent. — Rita W., Rocky Mount, NC
  • 20-30 percent. No choice. Everything is available everywhere for cheaper. — Christopher S., Plainview, NY
  • The discount depends when I purchased the item and at what gold market I paid. Some items will get a 30-35 percent savings. — Anonymous

No: 40%

  • The customers who are offering cash are usually expecting big discounts for cash, and that is not our business model. It all goes in the register and on the books, so our savings are less than 2 percent, so they usually plunk down a card. — Alan L., Cape May, NJ
  • We stick with one price for everyone … cash, charge, rich or poor, frequent flier or new customer. Our egalitarian mindset may cost us a sale every so often, but in the long run, our clients have learned that we are not desperate and that they receive the best value. “You can get money anywhere, but this one-of-a-kind piece … only here. Sorry, we don’t discount.” — Steven W., Chatham, MA
  • In order to offer a discount, you need to add dollars to the price up front. When you do this, where do you stop and who do you offer this to? It is kinda like a stripper: they have to put on the garments before they can remove them. I know that this comparison is crude, but think about it and determine what kind of business person you want to be. My pricing scheme is to charge all customers the same and not play favorites. I know that I lose some customers because I don’t give discounts, but I have very loyal customers that would abandon me if I were to offer discounts. If you explain that you price your product correctly to start with, most customers understand. — Ed M., Brainerd, MN
  • Never. Our credit card merchant agreements state that it is against the contracts to offer a discount for a payment that is other than having the customer use the respective credit card. Additionally, our bank charges our company a cash handling charge and we have to fill out a lot of paperwork when people pay with cash. Bottom line: the price is what it is. — Andrea R., El Dorado Hills, 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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