Chris Burslem

Chris Burslem

“How much later can a shopper wait?” wondered James Sickinger in the immediate aftermath of the 2014 holiday season.

It was a question jewelers across the country were asking themselves, as a late surge of buying turned the season into a surprisingly merry one for many store owners.

Black Friday’s not what it used to be. It’s not even what it was a year ago. With U.S. consumers spending an estimated 11 percent less in the four days following Thanksgiving Day compared to the same period in 2013, it’s no surprise many jewelers also reported a subdued start to the holiday season.

Thursday, 11 September 2014 20:00

Do Men or Women Make Better Jewelry Salespeople?

Do men talk over you in conversations? Fail to register what you're saying? Explain things to you in a tone that suggests you're a bit slow?

Chances are you are a retiring, shy man. More likely, though, you are a woman.

The data-sorting process continues as we prepare the results of our 2014 Big Survey for the October edition of INSTORE. And, while we've been through this many times before, the responses never cease to amaze us. Here is a good example: the pre-editor's cut of Question 18: What’s the most interesting thing you’ve taken in as barter or trade-in in lieu of a cash payment? Enjoy!

Thursday, 21 August 2014 20:00

Turning Around a Sinking Store

If there was one "good" thing about the Great Recession, it was that just about all retailers had company in their misery. With the economy in such a bad way, it was hard for anyone to thrive no matter how strong their business model.

We'll soon be closing this year's Big Survey and from the early returns we're confident it will be one of our best yet. We have managed to get a great response -- one of our biggest ever -- and collected some fascinating data.

Here are just 10 findings that caught my eye after taking a quick glance through the early results:

Thursday, 07 August 2014 20:00

iPads Mature as a Salesfloor Tool

In an upcoming Tech for Your Store column, we look at how iPads and other tablets are evolving as retail tools.

When it first appeared just over four years ago, most retailers immediately saw the iPad's potential as a high-resolution look book with a capacity to show off more inventory than any one brick-and-mortar store could possibly hold. This was particularly useful for custom designers who create a lot of one-off pieces (or even if they just wanted to show off CAD renderings in an eye-pleasing way.)

Go to any business school and they will drum into you the importance of treating memory and intuition with suspicion. If it’s a decision that’s important, recurring, and amenable to improvement, you should invest in gathering data, doing analysis, and examining “failure factors,” or so goes the orthodoxy (and the jargon).

Each year we attempt to create the biggest, best, most awesome survey the jewelry industry has ever seen … and usually we fall just short. Not because of the quality of data – our survey edition won us a prestigious Neal award a few years back – but because we probably set the bar a little too high. We’d love to get 1,000 independent jewelers to answer, which in the world of business surveys is akin to the kind of results North Korea achieves with its presidential elections.

Thursday, 17 July 2014 20:00

Remembering Retail Designer Bruce Brigham

Acclaimed interior designer Bruce Brigham, whose projects included a makeover of Cartier stores worldwide, work on the storied Raffles Hotel in Singapore and a redesign of the Seattle Supersonics’ Courtside Club, died earlier this month. He was 63.


Two-Time Winner

When it was time to close its doors, Cranstoun Court Jewellers of Sun City, Arizona chose Wilkerson to handle its liquidation sale. For all involved, the sale “far exceeded expectations.” But it wasn’t the first time Wilkerson helped sell off the store’s aging merchandise. They were there 13 years before, when ownership changed hands. See how Wilkerson can help you when it’s time to liquidate or sell off aging inventory.


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