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Ellen Fruchtman: Visible Pricing Yields Visible Results




Customers don’t want to have to ask a sales associate the price of every small piece of jewelry in your store.

This article originally appeared in the March 2016 edition of INSTORE.

Repeat after me: The rain in Spain stays mainly on the plain.


Repeat after me: My customers want to see pricing.

It’s hard to say, yes? Even harder to do. Well, I’ve been trying to get you all to say and do it for years, and one smart retailer actually took me up on the challenge. His name is Ryan Blumenthal, the third-generation owner of Corinne Jewelers in Toms River, NJ. Corinne Jewelers underwent a renovation in 2014, along with some re-branding efforts. As a retail jewelry store owner in New Jersey, Ryan faces lots of competition, not only from his immediate area, but from New York City in his backyard. I recently had a conversation with him about his initial reluctance to participate, the results, and his new mindset.

Display case with visible pricing at Corinne Jewelers in Toms River, NJ.

Ryan, for years you heard me discuss the importance of showing your pricing in-store (and online). What were your biggest fears to doing it?

Ryan: I guess the biggest fear is the aesthetics of it. I was taught that tags are ugly (and they are) and that if you walked by a case and saw a tag sticking out that was a big no-no because it looked sloppy. I also associated stickered prices as in “Sale price!” and a deceptive environment.

What was the impetus to try it now?

Ryan: For years, we have all known a big problem in our industry is our stores are intimidating. In every other luxury shopping experience you can play with the product. In our jewelry store, everything is locked up, and to find out the price of something, the customer has to ask a salesperson. I try to always put myself on the other side of the counter, forget that my family has been doing this for three generations and just try to think like the average jewelry-store customer. I imagine it would be annoying to me if I had to ask the price on everything I was interested in or just curious about. Knowing prices would definitely make me more comfortable before I engaged with a sales associate. [As intimidating as our store may seem] I want my customers to feel at ease.


You didn’t price every product in your case initially. How did you test the waters?

Ryan: I asked my staff to put pricing on every item in only one case. Then throughout the week I randomly asked people what they thought about the ticketed case.

What were some of the statements customers made about this?

Ryan: Every customer I spoke with preferred to be able to see prices as they browsed the cases. In fact, the strongest positive responses were unsolicited ones. I had a handful of people who came up to me to tell me they wished the whole store was like that.

How many products in cases are you currently showing pricing on?

Ryan: Right now about half the store and the other half will soon follow. I imagine 80 percent of the store will show pricing.


If you can say anything to any retailer out there about this endeavor what would it be?

Ryan: I think we often confuse transparency about price with submitting ourselves to a commodity-type selling environment where your price is all you are. We can still be aspirational and value-based while giving our customers the transparency they demand. I really feel like we currently live in a ‘text message’ culture. We would rather text than talk on the phone. What that means is that more and more customers are going to be less inclined to ask a salesperson every single question about a piece of jewelry and would rather do a little legwork themselves.

Ellen Fruchtman is the president of Fruchtman Marketing ( and can be reached at



He Doubled His Sales Goals with Wilkerson

John Matthews, owner of John Michael Matthews Fine Jewelry in Vero Beach, Florida, is a planner. As an IJO member jeweler, he knew he needed an exit strategy if he ever wanted to g the kind of retirement he deserved. He asked around and the answers all seemed to point to one solution: Wilkerson. He talked to Rick Hayes, Wilkerson president, and took his time before making a final decision. He’d heard Wilkerson knew their way around a going out of business sale. But, he says, “he didn’t realize how good it was going to be.” Sales goals were “ambitious,” but even Matthews was pleasantly surprised. “It looks like we’re going to double that.”

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