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Inbox: November 2015

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GIFT OF THE HEART

Have I turned into one of “those” consumers? I found myself asking after ordering an electric toothbrush online recently. I decided no, an electric toothbrush is an electric toothbrush. But a diamond, a ruby … that’s different. It requires romance, touching, trying on. We need to keep jewelry a gift of the heart. We can’t compete with mass production, but we can be a friend, a confidant, a supporter of a dream, “their jeweler.” Never lose that. — Amber Gustafson, Amber’s Designs, Katy, TX

This article originally appeared in the November 2015 edition of INSTORE.

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Left on the hook by Liability Shift

To ensure we’re compliant with the new credit card rules, we bought a new PIN pad — one that would let customers slip their cards in themselves. The new PIN pad arrived but the software update was not ready. I called and was told the update from Mastercard/Visa is still not ready. I find it crazy that: a) they have pushed so hard to ensure the U.S. was ready for this change (in payment processing) and now they are not ready; and b) they throw the liability back on us when we are ready and they’re not. — Tom Nelson, Nelson Jewelry, Spencer, IA


Rethinking Service Vs. Price

I read recently the industry has lost a net 400 or more jewelry stores this year. In our local newspaper’s readers poll, Costco was named the third-best jewelry store in our area. What that tells me is the public’s view of what a jewelry store is may not be what we in the industry see. I try to price my comparable items in step with Costco’s prices — items like stud earrings, etc. But the online and big-box stores are still perceived to offer better value. It seems to me that more and more purchasing jewelry is all about price and nothing about service. I read and hear that if the independent jeweler is to remain viable it will be all about service. I’m thinking more and more that may not be the case. Forty-some years ago when I was first in the business an old jeweler asked me the question, “Where do you buy your shoes, from the cobbler or from the shoe store?” His question is making sense more and more. — Murphy McMahon, Murphy McMahon & Co. Fine Jewelers, Kalispell, MT

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Wilkerson Helped This Jeweler to Navigate His Retirement Sale Despite a Pandemic

Hosting a going-out-of-business sale when the coronavirus pandemic hit wasn’t a part of Bob Smith’s game plan for his retirement. Smith, the owner of E.M. Smith Jewelers in Chillicothe, Ohio, says the governor closed the state mid-way through. But Smith chose Wilkerson, and Wilkerson handled it like a champ, says Smith. And when it was time for the state to reopen, the sale continued like nothing had ever happened. “I’d recommend Wilkerson,” he says. “They do business the way we do business.”

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