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Do You Or Don't You?

Do You or Don’t You Send Holiday Cards to Clients? Here’s What Your Fellow Retailers Do

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Yes: 50%

“We have special Christmas cards printed that display either a piece of our handmade stock (a “wow” piece) or a picture taken of a local nature scene, sometimes with a picture on the front and back. Inside, we have printed the following: “One of the true joys of the holiday season is to reflect and say thank you and wish you the very best for the new year.” The entire staff signs each one and adds a personal message when appropriate. We then hand address all of our Christmas cards. We start at the first of the year addressing the envelopes and double-check them before sending them out from Dec. 5-10. I find it amazing the number of comments and sales that we get at Christmas and the following year. This year, we had one customer drive 200 miles in July and make a several thousand dollar purchase because of the card. We do not try to sell or use a commercial message because we feel that that would not be sincere. — Ed Menk, E.L. Menk Jewelers, Brainerd, MN

  • Personalized card (sometimes completely custom-designed), including a special offer (thank you coupon in the form of “store bucks”) in those going to a special segment of customers from the past year. — Jennifer Hornik Johnson, Miller’s Jewelry, Bozeman, MT
  • We mail out Starbucks’ $5 gift cards. — Ragnar Bertselsen, Ragnar Jewellers, Vancouver, BC
  • We rock it old-school … handwritten Christmas cards to our customers. We do not include an extra discount. We have discussed it, but came to agreement that we don’t want a holiday card to be a sales pitch. “We look forward to seeing you this holiday season.” — Mary Jo Chanski, Hannoush Jewelers, Rutland, VT
  • We send a large postcard wishing happy holidays and advertising our annual November sale to take advantage of discounted prices before Black Friday and the holidays. — Frank Salinardi, Linardi’s Jewelers, Plantation, FL
  • We send customized holiday cards each year to our top 250 customers. In addition, we make branded gifts with purchase for each holiday sale; last year, it was individually wrapped chocolates with product images and our logo on each one. — Jill Hornik, Jae’s Jewelers, Coral Gables, FL
  • When we are sending handwritten notes wishing people a happy holiday season, we do not include a commercial message. The purpose of the card is simply to let the client know that we are thinking about them and their families. There is a time and a place for a commercial message, and a holiday, birthday/anniversary, or thank you note is not one of them. — Michael Derby, D3 Diamonds and Fine Jewelry, Clermont, FL

No: 50%

  • We did for years and stopped maybe 10 years ago. It was replaced by our Ladies Night invitations and Men’s Night mailers … felt like too much mail in a short window of time. We do, however, send birthday, anniversary, and thank you cards throughout the year, always hand-addressed and written. — Mark Kasuba, M. Edward Jewelers, Pittsfield, MA
  • We used to send a card with a discount. But as years went by, it got lost in the muddle of all the year-end promotions coming from all the companies. Did not want our wishes to be seen as “junk mail.” — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA
  • Great idea, not enough hours in the day. — Janne Etz, Contemporary Concepts, Cocoa, FL
  • Such a waste of time and money. Plus, I do not get my customers’ information. I do not want such things, so I would not do that to my customers. — Craig C. Curtis, Belfast Jewelry, Belfast, ME
  • Specific holiday greetings are dangerous unless certainty about the customer’s faith is known. Non-specific holiday greetings have no more meaning than saying “good day.” — Gary Richmond, Van Horne & Co., Granger, IN
  • We don’t send out cards because almost all of our business is bridal, and we don’t want to blow the surprise by accident. — Chuck Kuba, Iowa Diamond, West Des Moines, IA
  • I base all of my email marketing on seasons, not holidays. — Annette Evans, RD Allen Freeport Jewelers, Freeport, ME

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?

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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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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