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Eight Jewelers Getting Creative on Instagram

These jewelers tell a social-media story with personality and gorgeous images.

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Traci Hill of Got Rocks Jewelry in Harrisonburg, VA, loves the community she’s found on Instagram. And when she expresses herself on social media, she builds an even stronger community. After she posted her support for the LGBTQ community, for example, a lesbian couple drove two hours to purchase wedding bands. “It’s been one of my most fulfilling transactions thus far,” she says. 

Inevitably, independent jewelry store personnel are time-challenged when it comes to social-media management. At OC Tanner in Salt Lake City, Dominique Anderson is a one-woman social-media show, managing with part-time help just once a week. “It’s a big job,” she says. With that in mind, more than 80 percent of her Instagram photography posts come from vendors, including lovely examples of model photography. Whether she reposts from vendors or customers or posts her own stuff, the key is using photos “with life to them.”

Whether you’d like to express yourself or use vivid photos to best advantage, Hill says Instagram is the way to go. “It’s free and it’s fun. Check out what’s going on throughout the world of jewelry and build your followers,” she says. “If you’re a bit too old-school, find a young buck to get your Instagram started and hashtag away!”


Try Cross-Branding to Boost Reach
OC Tanner, Salt Lake City, UT

With Instagram, Dominque Anderson strives to engage customers while conveying the store’s personality. “We do some close-up things if we want to show exactly what we have in stock,” she says. They’ve also been inviting brides and grooms to share their pictures. “One of our couples got engaged at Versailles with a ring from the OC Tanner Collection.” She collaborates with local magazines, loaning the publications jewelry for photo shoots and getting access to beautiful photography in return. “We will repost that and tag the photographer, the florist, the dress and all the other partners; we post it and they do the same for us,” she says. Every Sunday she also posts the Weekly Wow, highlighting a stunning piece of jewelry not necessarily in stock.


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Consider It the First Step to a Purchase
Betteridge, Greenwich, CT

Win Betteridge uses Instagram as a storytelling platform aimed at generating brand awareness. It is also a wonderful service for product discovery, he says, frequently the first touch point leading to customers making an in-store or online purchase.


Drive Traffic to Your Feed
Got Rocks, Harrisonburg, VA

Traci Hill uses Instagram to build her brand, gain clientele and absorb inspiration from jewelry designers, bloggers and enthusiasts around the world. “I enjoy the fact that Instagram is more visual than other social media. It’s not as crowded as Facebook or Twitter. I’ve found I get more business and interaction from Instagram without paying to boost the posts. If I don’t pay on Facebook, I’m lucky to get three to five likes.” Instagram, Hill says, has an amazing jewelry community. Using hashtags drives more traffic to your feed. “Since Got Rocks Jewelry is a one-woman show, I like to show a bit of my personality and what I am passionate about, whether it’s the latest design from Ever & Ever, current events or my shop dog, Birdie. I enjoy what I do and try to have fun with it.”


Use Imagery That Reflects Quality
D&H Jewelers, San Francisco, CA

Lindsay Daunell uses Instagram as advertising for in-stock products as well as custom-design work. “We spend time producing high-quality images to reflect the fine quality of our jewelry and have seen tremendous results because of this. Instagram is a huge driver of foot traffic.”


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Open Up New Worlds With Video
Stephen Gallant Jewelers, Orleans, MA

Casey Gallant has made sales directly as a result of her store’s Instagram feed. Beyond that, though, her goal is to make more impressions on customers and potential customers to keep the store front of mind. “I begin with mostly beautiful pictures,” she says. “After all, that’s what Instagram is all about, the photo. It’s a great platform for showcasing a visual item such as jewelry.” Lately, she has posted more videos to “bring the customer places they normally wouldn’t go and show them things they normally wouldn’t see. Like trade shows, the minerals section at a museum or the sparkle of a piece in sunlight. That can be harder to capture in a still photo.”


Create Desire
Alchemy, Portland, OR

“We use our Instagram to create desire,” says Laura Mapes. It’s important to be seen and to be relevant online. Usually, Alchemy staff members take their own photos, although they have hired a pro on occasion. “I like to mix it up between high quality images that our designers provide along with in-studio process shots,” Mapes says. “When we take photos in-house of our designers’ work, I try to keep in sync with their brand story. I think it is important for designers to have control of how their brand is represented. I know I would want it that way.”


Be Colorful and Creative
Susann’s Custom Jewelers, Corpus Christi, TX

Colton Bartel likes to show off the custom and creative side of the business. “We love color, and by featuring unique colored stones and designs, we get more people interested in and asking for a broader spectrum of gems,” he says. Bartel also enjoys offering customers a peek behind the scenes. “They really don’t have a good perspective of how much time, effort and skill go into making a fine piece of jewelry. I’m hoping to not only give them some insight on how we do things and what we produce, but also build our integrity and credibility so that when it comes time to make a purchase, they already know who to trust and what level of care and attention to detail to expect.”


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Tell a Good Story
eidos Contemporary Jewelry, Santa Fe, NM

Deborah Gordon tries to connect in a timely manner by posting new pieces just off the bench, gemstones just acquired or a recent outing or event. Gordon uses her iPad, taking advantage of its built-in photo-editing app that produces sharp photos. Using two sources of light helps with the photography, she says. She also likes to develop a bit of a story around each piece of jewelry. “I’m still learning how to do this, so that proves even low-tech Luddites can get onboard with new media!” Gordon says. “It seems to be an increasingly important aspect of running any business today.”


This article originally appeared in the May 2017 edition of INSTORE.

Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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Texas Jeweler Knew He'd Get Only One Shot at a GOB Sale, So He Wanted to Make It Count

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Benchmarks

6 Websites Setting a High Bar for Jewelry Retail

Personalize your website to drive more sales.

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TODAY, THE CONSUMER experience starts online. Make your customers feel welcome in your virtual store, and they are likely to show up on your threshold, too.

“Websites are the cornerstone of any small business,” says Shane O’Neill, VP at Fruchtman Marketing. “It must be designed as a sales tool and method of communication.” Showing photos of merchandise with prices is a good start. E-commerce is the next step. And communication can be had in real time with a live-chat feature. Even social media strategies should reflect back to the website.

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What makes a solid website goes beyond the technical bells and whistles to reflect the personality of your store and the customer experience that can be found there. Include attractive photos of the store itself, so that viewers know what to expect – in terms of atmosphere and interior decor, when they do cross your threshold.

Julie Gotz, chief marketing officer for Freshley Digital, works with her team to custom design clients’ websites. While they are all clean, upscale designs that are easily searchable and can accommodate e-commerce, each has its own personality; the team doesn’t use one-size-fits-all templates. Her job, she says, is to do a deep dive into what the client likes and doesn’t like, what their aesthetic is, what their competitors are doing, and then producing a website design that will help them gain market dominance.

If you’re making the leap to e-commerce, remember that the point of much of that effort is to drive those sales into your store, too. “When I think of e-commerce,” says O’Neil, “I think of it as not just online sales; I think of it as sales.” Most retailers are marketing and targeting local shoppers, and so it makes sense that if you’re selling big-ticket items, they will still come to your store after shopping your store online. “Even with items that are $500 or $600, if you’re right down the street, they may still want to come in and look at it. Foot traffic is down, yes, but sales may not suffer if you have a high quality website and a great digital presence.”
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Alchemy
alchemyjeweler.net

Alchemy Jewelers of Portland, OR, introduced its new website with shopify e-commerce features in July 2018. “It’s updated, clean and romantic, and it incorporates the rich colors of the store’s interior, so people coming to the website know they’re in the right spot,” says marketing director Megan Walsh. Photographing fine jewelry and reflective diamonds was a learning experience, she says, but having the right equipment — a professional grade lightbox and a Nikon DSLR camera — helps. Walsh also blogs and updates product offerings and event information.

 

Belle Brooke
bellebrooke.net

Although Santa Fe, NM, gallery owner Belle Brooke Barer believes strongly in the power of brick and mortar commerce, bellebrooke.net still makes a statement about the business by deploying eye-catching model photography to emulate the experience of walking into the distinctive Santa Fe boutique. Jewelry pieces are shown with prices and a selection of the core collection is available for online purchase. Each page displays information emphasizing the artist’s priorities.

 

Jack Lewis Jewelers
jacklewisjewelers.com

Jack Lewis Jewelers of Bloomington, IN, does an excellent job of personalizing the online shopping experience by featuring quality photos of each staff member, and, in particular, introducing their “superstar” custom jeweler, Jim Leeds, who can create the ring of the client’s dreams. Rather than announcing, “We do custom design,” this innovative introduction begins to create a relationship between the customer and the jeweler.
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Croghan’s Jewel Box
croghansjewelbox.com

The elegant look of this Charleston, SC store is reflected in its easy-to-navigate website. You can instantly buy (or gape at) a 1950s sapphire, diamond and gold bracelet for $14,950, or pick up a $65 pair of gold-plated “goldbug” earrings designed to look like Palmetto bugs. About half of customers live out of town. Standard shipping is free when shoppers spend $100 or more.

 

Walters and Hogsett
waltersandhogsett.com

Walters and Hogsett’s website raises the bar in function by cross-marketing relevant content on other pages. For example, the jewelry and watch repair page refer back to the new watches page and also to the custom jewelry design page. So if a customer is considering repairing a piece of jewelry, they might instead consider repurposing it into something new. Doing this throughout a site keeps people engaged and on the site longer, says Shane O’Neill of Fruchtman Marketing. The business also provides clear opt-ins for their email newsletter, and uses sitewide banners for trunk shows or other events. They link to Instagram shopping options and have a loose diamond search tool.

 

Williams Jewelers of Englewood
Williamsdiamonds.com

Freshley Digital custom designed the website for Williams Jewelers of Englewood, CO, integrating Edge POS with the website and making it fully e-commerce enabled. “Every market is different; every client is completely different,” says Julie Gotz of Freshley Digital. Freshley Digital simplified the user experience while retaining the brand history of the store, one of the priorities of the Williams family. “It’s all about having a very clean, very upscale design that reflects the store. We only have a few minutes to grab their attention and lead them to the next step,” Gotz says.

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Benchmarks

These Jeweler Direct Mail Samples Shine Bright for the Holidays

Use these direct mail pieces as inspiration to create your own attention-getting holiday promotions.

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DIRECT MAIL is a great holiday marketing tool, as it lets you reach out specifically to your biggest and best customers, hitting them with invitations to swanky Christmas parties, wish lists to be filled out and returned, and discounts or gift cards for that perfect present. (You can also track it more easily than other advertising media, by instructing recipients to bring in the mailing to receive whatever the special offer is.) At the same time, we’re on the verge of the postal service’s busiest season of the year, so whatever you send needs to get noticed. And the examples we’ve collected here are harder to miss than Rudolph’s nose or, say, a bright star shining over a manger.


So Fresh, So Clean Shetler Wade Jewelers, San Antonio, TX

This snappy postcard alerts customers to a neat idea: a post-holiday “3-Day Detox Customer Appreciation Sale,” scheduled for the end of January, when things have settled down and it’s time to go through your inventory and get rid of some dogs. The layout is appropriately clean, signaling a new start to the year and nice deals for shoppers.

No Frills, No Nonsense Schmitt Jewelers, Phoenix, AZ

As Schmitt Jewelers reminds us, your holiday invite doesn’t have to shout “HOLIDAYS!” — it just has to snag the attention of your would-be customer. The strong, solid colors of the invitations for the store’s December “Shop Like a Man” promotion promised beer, food, and a straightforward gift-buying experience for red-blooded American guys.

Three Times the FunGUNDERSON’S JEWELERS, IA, NE AND SD

This Christmas party invitation is strikingly gorgeous, stands out by not relying on a typical holiday palette, showcases some beautiful jewelry, and serves as three invites in one, for soirees at Gunderson’s locations in three different states. Plus, it conveys a ton of information, including the designers who will be present at the events, in a markedly clear fashion.


Two Eyes Not Made Out of Coal Wixon Jewelers, Bloomington,

With its strong, contrasting colors and clever mix of snowman imagery and jewelry, this postcard from Wixon is tough to ignore and easy to smile at. The reverse has simple messages pertinent to holiday shoppers: Extended hours, front-door parking (important during the Minnesota winter) and gift-wrapping.

A Good BetBrinker’s Jewelers, Evansville, IN

Brinker’s is no stranger to the Benchmarks page, and for good reason. Their marketing materials consistently set a stylish, sophisticated, but approachable tone. This men’s night invitation promises a good time for the recipient. The invites each came enclosed with a guest pass, and the aesthetic here and alluring casino vibe suggest an event most gentlemen would be proud to bring a friend to.

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Benchmarks

7 Jewelers Share Their Fun Approaches to Dressing for the Holiday

In touch with their inner elves, jewelers dress the part for fun and profit.

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This story was originally published in the October 2017 edition of INSTORE.

HOLIDAY OUTFITS appeal to some jewelry retailers and appall others, who consider them a slippery slope toward total tackiness.

To Jennifer Farnes of Revolution Jewelry Works in Colorado Springs, CO, dressing up is just not worth the effort: “Too busy to worry about that! Take a shower, wear clean clothes, survive Christmas,” she says. But Nicole Shannon of Keir Fine Jewelry in Whistler, British Columbia, says wearing tacky Christmas sweaters from a shop next door actually saves time, since staff members can grab sweaters from a communal bin on the run, rather than worry about their wardrobes.

Others swear by a show-off-the-jewels approach. “I encourage my staff to wear our jewelry during the holiday season,” says Marc Majors of Samuel L. Majors Fifth Generation Jewelers in Midland, TX. “It’s much more personal when it’s on someone and not a prop, and 99 percent of the time it closes the sale.”

Read on for a range of wardrobe ideas intended to break the ice with customers and bolster staff morale.


Let the Tipsy Elves Break the Ice
Goldsmith Gallery Jewelers, Billings, MT

Edgy holiday-themed suits purchased from a company called Tipsy Elves make a statement on December Saturdays at Scott and Kelly Wickam’s store. “It actually made for a great selling day last year,” Scott,  at left, says. “It showed that we are not just stuffy jewelers trying to sell you something. We love what we do and we have fun doing it.” The suits cost $80 to $100 each. “For the money, they fit nice and look great,” he says.


The Tie Guy
Goodman’s Jewelers, Madison, WI

For John Hayes of Goodman’s Jewelers in Madison, WI, it’s all about the ties. “I have a collection of holiday ties and wear a different one each day from Thanksgiving to Jan. 1. I always start with Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin.” He has 38 and counting, although some have fallen apart after 25 years of collecting.


The Sweater Fest
Miller’s Jewelry, Bozeman, MT

Jennifer Hornik Johnson says the whole staff at Miller’s participates in the annual Ugly Sweater Party in December. The store offers a 10 percent discount to any customers brave enough to wear their own ugly items to the event.


Don’t Be Afraid to Live in the Past
Cornerstone Jewelry & Engraving, Palos Park, IL

At Cornerstone Jewelry & Engraving, owner Bryan Blaha and team believe “Old Jewelers Have Old Souls.” To enhance their theme, they ramp up their sartorial savvy for the holiday season with bow ties, vests, hairstyles and facial hair that evoke the early 20th century. “We tend to dress to the ‘9s,” says manager Ryan C. Karp. “Like the 1909s.” It leaves a lasting impression on clients, together with incense, old-school holiday music, classic decor and demonstrations.


Make a Statement With the LBD
K Hollis Jewelers, Batavia, IL

Black is never basic at K Hollis Jewelers, where Karen Hollis, center, and her staff feel confident wearing their little black dresses for holiday events. “It shows a level of class that makes my staff get noticed,” Hollis says. “Jewelry really stands out on black, and it’s fun to wear a bigger diamond or more expensive items for holiday parties.”


Family Morphs Into Elves!
Perry’s Emporium, Wilmington, NC

“I made my sons dress up in elf outfits for an after-Christmas ad on TV,” says owner Alan Perry. In the commercial, Perry says he’s leaving the store till next year. His sons say, “We’ll show him! Come in now and get up to 50 percent off until Jan. 15!” Perry admits he had to pay his sons to be elves, though.


If You Are the Designated Elf, Be a Good Sport
Talisman Collection, El Dorado Hills, CA

Owner Andrea Riso isn’t above dressing up. “I look like a super giant idiot as an elf, but I’m a good sport about it because it makes sales spike and it’s fun.” Sales associate Becca Souders, pictured, picked up the elf outfits at Fredericks of Hollywood. “It worked, sales and morale-wise,” Riso says.


This article originally appeared in the October 2017 edition of INSTORE.

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