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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?

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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Do You Or Don't You?

7 Out Of 10 Jewelers Surveyed Will Do House Calls

Those that won’t cite security concerns.

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Yes: 70%

  • I will go see my existing clients with whom I have a relationship or have them come to my home office. I recently moved from one suburb to another. I feel it’s not fair making my old clients drive an extra half-hour to my new location, so I give them the option of having me come to them or coming to my home, which is near my old location. — Shahraz Kassam, Shamin Diamonds, Surrey, BC
  • My most recent was a trip to a doctor’s office to adjust eight watches that were purchased for Christmas for all the nurses. — Jim Wolf, James Wolf Jewelers, Mason, OH
  • Limited occasions, rarely for the sake of financial gain but more of a “do into others” good karma situation. Usually, it’s delivery of a completed item to an overwhelmed, homebound or otherwise in-need person. Recently, we delivered a chain repair to a woman whose homebound hospice patient husband broke his cross chain. We fixed and delivered it for free because it was right. I’d never her seen her before, but I couldn’t take her money. — Heather Wahl, R.C. Wahl Jewelers, Des Plaines, IL
  • If the sale calls for it and is going to close but requires something extra. If delivering a ring means the engagement is going to happen on time and we’re going to get the sale, I am going to do it. I don’t mind taking a ride to make sure my customers are happy! — Evan Silbert, Thurber Jewelers, Elk River, MN
  • I’m a private jeweler, so this is the norm for me. Businesspeople and people in the country music business that have very full schedules. Disclaimer, though, is I do have to know them or have vetted them very well. — Ben Brantley, Ben Brantley & Co., Shelbyville, TN
  • We have gone to people’s homes to deliver a gift as a surprise. We have gone to people’s care homes to cut a ring off because they won’t come off naturally. We’ve even delivered reports to people at work if they cannot leave during their work day! — Mary Jo Chanski, Hannoush Jewelers, Rutland, VT
  • All the time. Home, office, golf course or bar — delivering something nice or bringing a few options for someone to choose from is thrilling to me. It’s something my good customers love and tell people about; sometimes I end up serving the whole office. — Ray Lantz, The Diamond Center, Claremont, CA
  • We will make house calls anytime. I just did one last diamond ring for one of my favorite and best clients. He was deteriorating rapidly and needed me to come to his house. What a privilege to help someone’s legacy live on through a token of love! — Natasha Henderson, Saxon’s Fine Jewelers, Bend, OR
  • I have a customer waiting for me to come over and go through her jewelry so she and her husband can decide who to leave pieces for between her nieces and nephews. She is not in shape to come in. I have taken loose diamonds and complete rings and wedding sets to ladies in the hospital before and made sales on them all! — Cindy Fuller, Fuller Designs, Poplar Bluff, MO
  • I do a lot of probate work, and it is much easier on the families to have the sorting and appraisal prep work done in a more comfortable setting. It also saves time and return trips. Quite often, people become emotional when handling the deceased’s jewelry, and it helps if they are at home. — Jim Doggett, Doggett Jewelry, Kingston, NH
  • I have a customer who has ALS. He has been with us since we opened 14 years ago. He is not able to make it to the store since he is confined to a wheelchair. It’s easy because his wife and I have the same taste in jewelry. I bring 4-5 things and he picks one. I wrap it in our fancy bags. She calls every time and thanks me, and it makes my whole month just to see her happy for that brief moment. That’s what it is all about for me. — Karen Hollis, K. Hollis Jewelers, Batavia, IL
  • To make personal custom design appointments using a laptop and Countersketch. To assess a client’s jewelry inventory for storage options, which provides a great way to see their entire collection of jewelry and wardrobe so you’ll know their style preferences in the future. — Jessica Rossomme, Mucklow’s Fine Jewelry, Peachtree City, GA

No: 30%

  • Never requested. We have been open for 62 years and have an aging customer base that may need assistance. I’m sure if requested by a repeat customer for some very important reason, we would make that call. — Toni Kinder, Farr’s Jewelry, Ogden, UT
  • Rarely and only if customer is physically challenged. — Sam F. Edwards, Sam Edwards Jewelers, Chattanooga, TN
  • If we were really sucking wind, I would start to do so. Fortunately, we have not had to do so. — Joseph Villarreal, Villarreal Fine Jewelers, Austin, TX
  • I used to, way back, but have no time now. Also, my store has a special ambiance, which sustains our image as creative designers; showing jewelry elsewhere robs it of the magic. — Eve J. Alfille, Eve J. Alfille Gallery and Studio, Evanston, IL
  • Afraid of robbery. — Alexander Rysman, Romm Diamonds, Brockton, MA
  • Too high a risk factor. What’s the point of having a store if you make house calls? The store is a much more secure and comfortable environment. — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA
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Do You Or Don't You?

Only 31% 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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