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If I Owned

If I Owned: Bryan Eisenberg



Bryan Eisenberg, author

Some might think I would be crazy to open up a jewelry store in today’s competitive landscape. Many people said the same thing about Steve Jobs when he decided to open the first Apple store and completely redefined what retail could look like. Apple generates more revenue per square foot than any other retailer. Here’s to the crazy ones …

This article originally appeared in the March 2015 edition of INDESIGN.

I am fortunate I get to start without legacy. I have no store or image to maintain.


With that in mind, let’s do away with the conditions that make most high-end jewelry stores feel pretentious and unapproachable in the minds of their potential customers. The store design would have to be open and accessible, like an Apple store, but not made up of cold glass and steel. It needs to have the feel of an upscale Starbucks. We want the store to convey a feeling that is warm, inviting and radiates a sense of belonging. Most items would not be locked up inside of displays; they would be available for people to pick up and hold and feel what it would be like to own the item. In addition, as people walked in, they would see a prominent counter, always manned with staff ready to clean their jewelry, change their batteries or fix a clasp right in front of them at little to no cost.

Much like an Apple store, there would be a tight inventory control integration. That means that any inventory displayed online would also be in stock in the store. Clients could just walk into the store, or they could use their smartphone or computer to schedule an appointment with a representative to show jewelry or have their jewelry serviced. The customer could spend some time with our Jewelry Genius staff who are never on commission but are trained rigorously to understand their customers’ buying journeys and all their different needs. Their job is never to sell jewelry but to help customers buy the jewelry they want. These Jewelry Geniuses would be trained to tell great stories about each product and to respect customers’ budgets.

We’d have a secluded part of the store without price tags for customers craving high level status. Think about how well casinos accomplish this with special areas for high rollers.

Products and collections would be built around their stories. Imagine a J. Peterman-style story next to your display, where clients can learn about the designer, the design, the gems and every other detail about the product, including pricing options, before they had to speak to anyone. The inventory would feel like it was curated from the most interesting collections from around the world. We would make sure to also include the most talented upcoming and local designers. There would, of course, still be some select and exclusive items in a secluded part of the store without price tags for those customers who crave that high level status. Think about how well casinos accomplish this with special areas for high rollers.

Much of this would be enabled by the use of technology throughout the store. On screen, interactive displays would share the stories of the products. There would be stations for customers to design or customize their own jewelry. We would have beacon technology to get a good sense of what was working in store and what wasn’t, and camera/virtual model stations where people could try on their jewelry with their favorite outfit and share it with others.

We would have regularly scheduled exclusive events that select customers would be invited to based on their previous purchase history and market intelligence we gather from their customer profiles. These events could be based on fashion shows, wine tastings, or special guests like designers. All of these community-building experiences are focused on creating special memories and making people feel special.


Of course, making this work would require the ideal location. I’d probably start looking in an affluent town, perhaps my hometown of Austin, TX. I would let our algorithm sort through over 5,000 variables to predict which location had the best chance for success.

This isn’t hard or time-consuming. All it requires is some of the data from the most successful jewelry stores, picking a few feeder locations, and will predict the location with the lowest risk.

Bryan Eisenberg, the founder and CMO of IdealSpot, is a co-author of the brand new book Buyer Legends: The Executive Storyteller’s Guide. He has also co-authored the Wall Street Journal, Amazon, BusinessWeek, and New York Times best-selling books Call to Action, Waiting For Your Cat To Bark?, and Always be Testing. He works with his co-author and brother Jeffrey Eisenberg at, and together they also blog at



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