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How Jewelers Can Defy Amazon with the ‘Best Buy’ Strategy

You have advantages that the online retail giant can never match.

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AMAZON HAS RETAILERS everywhere scared.” That’s the first line in a recent YouTube video by CNBC. In it, they talk about the fall of retail giants like Circuit City and Toys R Us. Five years ago, if someone had said that Best Buy was closing its doors because of online competition from Amazon, no one would have been shocked. But today, CNBC presents a different story for Best Buy. And this is one that jewelers should pay attention to.

Best Buy Did What Amazon Couldn’t

It’s hard to imagine anything that Amazon can’t do. But Amazon doesn’t have physical stores and in-person expertise. This is what Best Buy leveraged in order to prosper in the age of Amazon. According to CNBC, Best Buy was able to turn things around by focusing on in-store service, stocking key products, and leveraging their network of stores.

The Jewelry Store Advantage

Like Best Buy, jewelers have advantages over Amazon. Here are just a few.

Physical location – Jewelers have beautiful physical spaces that are pleasant to visit.

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Luxury brand – While Amazon can sell an engagement ring, people usually think of it as a place to get cheap stuff fast. Jewelers, however, are seen as upscale.

Better customer service – This is better in several ways:

  • In-store service – Your sales staff can provide a buying experience that Amazon can’t match.
  • Real people on calls and email – Calling or emailing Amazon for help is very different than calling or emailing a local jeweler who will talk to you like a human, not a robot.
  • Personalized suggestions – Most suggestions we get from Amazon are done by a computer. Very different from a jeweler who takes the time to get to know your story and find the perfect piece for you.
  • Community involvement – Every local jeweler is seen as a part of their community, and many are active in organizations and charities. That’s a relationship worth reciprocating.
  • In-Store Events – As much fun as “Prime Day” is, it doesn’t hold a candle to a ladies night or a trunk show. We see jewelers with a strong focus on events flourish.

The “Best Buy” Strategy for Jewelers

Best Buy’s strategy wasn’t to do anything terribly new or innovative. It was to better focus their energy on things they had already been doing. Things that made them different from Amazon that people appreciated.

Jewelers can replicate this success in much the same way. The digital phenomenon has left a physical experience void in the lives of shoppers. Best Buy has proven that retailers can use that to their advantage without reinventing the wheel. And as we saw above, jewelers are well suited to do just that.

The Jewelry Store’s Online Advantage

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Customers today are still going to see you online first. This is the one major point that’s different from the pre-internet days. But this is actually not a weakness. It’s an extension of your advantage.

Local jewelers won’t compete with the Amazons of the world with sophisticated tech and fancy ecommerce options. Instead, use the internet as a megaphone for your brick and mortar appeal. A “call now” button on a jeweler’s website carries more weight than on Amazon. Online ads for jewelers can proudly encourage people to stop in and experience their expert level service.

Customers are looking online for a reason to choose you, and everything that happens from clicking on an ad to calling the number on the site can be used to highlight the experience that jewelry stores offer. An experience that has become far too uncommon in today’s age.

So, the next time you hear that “Amazon has retailers everywhere scared,” remember that Best Buy has successfully defied that phrase, and you can, too.

Want to work with an agency that knows how to promote the advantages of jewelers like nobody else? Contact suits@fruchtman.com.

Charles Pobee-Mensah is the director of digital marketing for Fruchtman Marketing. Contact suits@fruchtman.com.

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Fifty-four years is a long time to stay in one place. So, when Cindy Skatell-Dacus, owner of Skatell’s Custom Jewelers in Greenville, SC decided to move on to life’s next adventure, she called Wilkerson. “I’d seen their ads in the trade magazines for years,’ she says, before hiring them to run her store’s GOB sale. It was such a great experience, Skatell-Dacus says it didn’t even seem like a sale was taking place. Does she have some advice for others thinking of a liquidation or GOB sale? Three words, she says: “Wilkerson. Wilkerson. Wilkerson.”

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Eileen McClelland

DPA Takes Consumers on The Diamond Journey in Time for the Holidays

Marketing campaign kicks off on Oct. 15.

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LAST WEEK THE DIAMOND Producers Association announced the details of its new Real is Rare, Real is a Diamond consumer marketing campaign, designed around a cinematic telling of the natural diamond story in a mesmerizing, three-minute film called “The Diamond Journey.”

The multi-channel media campaign will launch on Oct. 15 with a presence in Conde Nast magazines, the New York Times and Sports Illustrated, along with a social-media and television presence leading up to the holidays.

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DPA research reveals that most consumers don’t realize diamonds are the oldest thing they will ever touch or own. The campaign chronicles the transformation of a rough diamond from discovery to finished jewelry. A 2-carat cushion cut diamond engagement ring, set in yellow gold, becomes the symbolic star of the show by crossing time and culture to represent love, commitment and meaningful moments.

The campaign was developed in partnership with creative agency BBH London. The film was directed by Ian Pons Jewell, whose commercial portfolio includes Nike, Audi, Lexus and Michelob, and features music from Oscar winning musician, Atticus Ross. The film will live on Real is Rare, Real is a Diamond’s website at www.realisadiamond.com. Retailers can find more resources and tools at shop.diamondproducers.com

Here is a Q&A with Kristina Buckley Kayel, DPA’s managing director, North America, about the significance of “The Diamond Journey”:

INSTORE: In the video, what is the significance of the same diamond ring style displayed across time and various cultures? What message does that convey?

DPA: The same diamond ring appearing across time and various cultures conveys the heirloom quality of natural diamonds. It positions diamond jewelry as a cherished part of a family’s history and also speaks to the enduring value of a natural diamond. We chose to feature a classic design that has eternal appeal and feels just as relevant in the past as it does in the future.

INSTORE: How does the new campaign dovetail with other recent campaigns, and what sets it apart?

DPA: The new campaign builds on the objective of the Real is Rare platform, which is to revitalize the diamond dream among new and millennial consumers. ‘The Diamond Journey’ explores the human connection to diamonds much further than we have in past campaigns, with less focus on product and more focus on the story itself. This campaign also shines a spotlight on rough, which we haven’t done in the past. But now more than ever we need to celebrate rough, and the distinctive qualities of natural diamonds.

INSTORE: The target demographic is 21-39 year olds? Is it meant to appeal to both young men and young women?

DPA: Yes, we’re targeting both men and women during their engagement research journey.

INSTORE: Based on your research, how important is a diamond’s origins to today’s engagement-ring shoppers? And why is that such an important message to convey?

DPA: DPA consumer research has revealed that people develop a deeper appreciation and attach different meaning to diamonds when they understand the reality of diamonds, that they’re a finite natural resource, born of extreme conditions billions of years ago. And because of this, they’ve become an enduring symbol of love and human connection. It’s an important message to convey because it’s a part of the diamond story that consumers don’t know. Most are very surprised to learn that diamonds are older than life on earth.

INSTORE: What should retailers take away from this campaign when learning how to relate to young consumers?

DPA: Now more than ever, consumers, especially young consumers, want to know where the products they’re buying come from, and the story behind those products. This is especially true for luxury purchases. It’s vital for retailers to become true storytellers in order to reignite the diamond dream for younger generations.

INSTORE: What has the reaction to the Real is Rare campaign been to date and how successful has it been in conveying that message?

DPA: The Real is Rare platform has been very well received by the industry as a whole. Our last Real is Rare campaign, ‘For Me, From Me’ has been one of the most successful programs DPA has embarked on. It has helped mobilize the retail sector around female self-purchase, which represents 1/3 of all diamond jewelry sales. We’ve heard from many jewelers that the campaign has helped drive sales, and today it’s being executed in nearly 1,000 doors across the country. It’s a seasonless campaign, and one that is complemented by ‘The Diamond Journey’.

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David Geller

What You Can Learn About Turn from Clothing and Furniture Stores

Hint: Turn more, earn more.

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THERE ARE REALLY only three important numbers in a retail store: gross profit dollars, inventory on hand, and inventory turn. So who’s better at managing money among these three retailers?

Store                         Gross Profit %
Jewelry                      42.6%
Furniture                  45.0%
Clothing                    46.5%

Darn close, aren’t they? The grass isn’t so green on the other side after all. Or is it?

Let’s look at inventory turn, which means how many times a year an item sells. (These numbers are from stores doing “pretty well.”)

Store                            Turn            Days in the Store
Jewelry                   1.4                       260
Furniture               3.5                       104
Clothing                 4.3                       84

A clothing store won’t keep a shirt/suit/jacket/blouse in the store more than three to four months. They will heavily discount it at that point to get it out the door; they don’t just “squash” merchandise closer together to show more like jewelers do.

Furniture stores work the same way. They have a natural problem: available floor space. The biggest reason for high turn in a furniture store was told to me by a furniture store owner: “Where am I going to store an extra 100 mattresses?”

Clothing stores get rid of their merchandise every quarter. Furniture stores get rid of their inventory every four months, and a good jeweler turns their merchandise a little over once a year. But most jewelers I meet have had their total merchandise for two-and-a-half to four years! This causes terrible cash flow and piles of debt.

If you buy jewelry in January, it should sell at least once by Christmas; that would be a turn of 1.0. If it stays until after Christmas, discount it or give a spiff to the sales staff to unload it, or even return it to your vendor and exchange it.

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If it is still there in 18 months, scrap it. That’s what clothing and furniture stores do.

Let me show you the money-making power of turn. All three stores are going to buy an item for $200. For a jeweler, this might be earrings; for a clothing store, a nice jacket; and for a furniture store, it might be a chair. In the table below you can see the cost, profit margin in dollars, and what that brings in for total product dollars in a year.

Keeping an item long-term is a detriment. Even if someone buys it three years from now, you should have had that $207 in profit for each of the three years, totaling $621 brought into the store (not the measly $163.35 you would make by holding it three years).

When it’s over a year old, most things need to be disposed of and replaced. Maybe your customers just aren’t buying what you have in stock. Change that!

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Star-Studded Breitling Summit Makes Waves in Southern California

All attention was on the new watches. And then Brad Pitt walked by …

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AS HE SLOWLY WALKED past my table, he glanced at my face, catching my eye. Blushing, I quickly lowered my head, wishing desperately he hadn’t looked at me. Never in my life had I seen a man so beautiful that I became almost ill being in his presence. I felt, for a lack of a better term, “unworthy” to have been anywhere near someone so biologically perfect.

No, this is not the beginning of the sixth chapter of a Jackie Collins romance novel (however, I highly recommend 1969’s The Stud). It’s exactly what happened to me last week at the Breitling Summit at the Four Seasons Hotel in Beverly Hills when Breitling Ambassador Brad Pitt joined retailers and members of the press for an outdoor dinner.

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When I received the email invite from the brand asking if I’d like to attend the summit, I was thrilled. The first part of the event was to be held in the prestigious Four Seasons in Beverly Hills, and as if that wasn’t reason enough to hop a flight across the country, the summit would end with a full day at Kelly Slater’s Surf Ranch in Lemoore, a 20-acre property containing a wave machine that creates 6-to-8-foot surfable waves for 2,100 straight feet. Oh, and did I mention there’d be watches to see, too? Yeah. Plenty of those were on hand. Read on.

The Summit started on Tuesday afternoon with Breitling CEO Georges Kern re-introducing the brand’s three “worlds”: air, land and sea. When Kern took Breitling’s helm in 2017, he made clear that the brand’s image was going to change. There would be less focus on some things that, frankly, turned a fair number of people off to the brand (scantily clad women in aviator-themed jumpers, anyone?) and more focus on design, quality and making a positive impact through partnerships.

In an instant, Kern was off and running, talking about the purpose of the summit and the worlds in which the brand lives before being joined on stage by a handful of the brand’s ambassadors. Audience members were treated to a greeting (via video) from astronaut Scott Kelly – the first member of Breitling’s “Aviation Pioneers Squad” – before watching a film featuring Rocío González Torres, a commandant in the Spanish Air Force and the first Spanish woman to log 1,000 hours at the controls of an F­18 fighter jet, as well as world champion drone pilot Luke Bannister, who not only joined Kern in person, but who also gave a drone demonstration, including how to take a group selfie by drone. The presence of these “air” world squad members was the ideal segue to the introduction of Breitling’s Avenger collection of aviation-related timepieces. Also introduced during the “air” segment of the presentation was the brand’s new Aviator 8 Mosquito, a watch inspired by the famed de Havilland Mosquito, a plane constructed almost entirely of wood.

Moving on to the “sea” portion of the opening remarks, attendees were introduced to seven-time world champion surfer Stephanie Gilmore, who talked about her hopes for the upcoming Summer Olympics in 2020, where surfing is a competition for the first time. We were promised a demonstration by the Australian along with surf legend Kelly Slater at his surf ranch the following day (which did not disappoint). Shortly afterward, Breitling introduced both the Superocean Outerknown and the Outerknown ECONYL Yarn NATO Strap Collection.

Guests were then invited to a “touch and feel” by the brand in the gardens of the Four Seasons. High tables were covered in multiple versions of the new novelties with Breitling representatives available to answer questions. It was here I realized just how different this event was from many of the press events I’d attended in the past. This wasn’t just for press but was for everyone who would have anything to do with Breitling: store owners, watch buyers, managers, sales associates, etc. Across the room I could see Lisa Bridge, president and CEO of Ben Bridge Jeweler, along with the company’s watch buyer. At the same table as Bridge stood Slade Lewis of Lewis Jewelers in Houston, TX. And two tables over was Sara Beth Brown Prendeville, vice president at Brown & Co., which has two locations in Georgia.

When I asked Sara Beth how she felt the new collections would do in her store, she was optimistic.

“I think the new collections are sharp and will do very well in our Atlanta market,” she said. “Breitling holds a special place in my heart. It is nice to see the brand making moves, and the variety of new ambassadors is impressive.” When prompted for feedback about the summit, Prendeville said, “I was impressed with the professionalism of the summit presentation as well as the diversity amongst the brand ambassadors who were in attendance to support the brand. To my knowledge, Breitling is now supporting a unique variety of interests that no other brand has touched on.”

The afternoon quickly became evening and after a press conference and dinner (al fresco) with Brad Pitt, attendees turned in for the night in order to be ready for three-and-a-half-hour trip north to Lemoore in the morning.

Since announcing its departure from Baselworld, Breitling has brought a feeling of true intimacy to its events. Show booths can be cold at times (literally and figuratively) which may not be the best way to make a brand or its products memorable. In Lemoore, we stood – donned in bathing suits, covered in sand, and ever-so-slightly sun burned – taking in our surroundings and talking time. Retailers and press folks mixed with sales reps and marketing heads, which is the way it should be, because we all need to know what is going on in the worlds of the others. In order to keep my finger on the pulse, I make sure to pick the brains of the people at the stores in order to get their takes on how products are selling in their areas of the country. In Lemoore, I wasn’t alone in that thinking, because at any given moment, one could look up from the beautifully prepared gourmet lunch or from a glass of California wine and see the CEO of Breitling moving from group to group, asking questions and telling stories.

Breitling has yet again arrived, and brought with it a big, beautiful squad. But this isn’t just any squad. It’s a squad made up of impassioned people who are at the top of their respective fields. It’s a squad that cares about the planet, and what they can do to play a part in keeping it healthy. And it’s a squad that’s very much on a mission.

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