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Is Print Dead and More of Your Questions for January

Plus, how to tell someone they need to remount.




Is Print Dead and More of Your Questions for January

Is print dead?

We just felt our pulse and can confidently declare ourselves still alive and relevant. Indeed, the wholesale shift to digital advertising allows INSTORE to attract the attention of a select audience amid the bombardment of digital advertising that most people are now exposed to. Kelley Jewelers in Weatherford, OK, has found success with print for many of the same reasons. “Jewelry is a tactile business, and we see value in getting print catalogs into our customers’ hands. A physical catalog also helps us to stand out from the endless stream of online ads that inundate our customers daily,” says owner Kim Ingram. Readers in small towns where everyone reads the same newspaper or magazine can be particularly fertile ground for a print campaign that aims to build top of mind awareness. Not everyone will see your ads, but someone in their social circle surely will. And when the time comes to buy an engagement ring or some other piece of jewelry you can be confident you’ll be mentioned as an option.

“In our small, rural area with an increasing tourist market, we have found that low-cost, ‘old school’ marketing tactics are surprisingly effective,” says Meredith Lusk, owner of Moonrise Jewelry in Cape Charles, VA. “Here print is not dead, and everyone reads the free weekly local paper, which has very affordable advertising rates.”

To be sure, you need a digital channel. But ultimately it comes down to what you’re paying to reach people. Non-branded cost per click has never been higher. Mass media costs have never been lower. Although if people search for you by name — let’s say because of a successful mass media campaign — then cost per click becomes very reasonable.

How do I tell someone they need to remount?

By outlining the great alternatives she’s got to that battered, thinning piece of metal clinging to her finger now. All right, language is key, as is research. You first need to find out the history and “status” of the ring. Once you get an answer like, “Oh, when I first got it, I loved it but now …” you’ll know how to proceed. A nifty transition also helps, like: “Take a look here (in the microscope). Can you see how some of the prongs that hold your diamond are very worn and thin? Consider that normal wear — but understand that it means that we’ll need to put some additional work in to your ring to ensure that your diamond stays secure in its setting.” You can then outline the options — sizing the ring, a whole new ring or a totally different setting. Keeping in mind that, priced right, a quality restoration is about as profitable as a new ring (in some cases, more profitable), you should be happy with whatever she chooses.

After years away from the business, I returned home and took over my mother’s jewelry store when she fell seriously sick 18 months ago. Along with the store I inherited two difficult long-term workers. They resist any changes I try to make and don’t seem interested in stretching themselves. Yet I don’t know if I could run the store without them and don’t think I could replace them as cheaply.

There are a bunch of issues here but they all seem to stem from a reluctance on your part to act. If you don’t trust your jewelry-business knowledge, bring in an outside consultant to set up structures so the business can operate properly without these recalcitrants. At the same time, the system should have in place incentives to motivate and upgrade the skills of workers. If they can’t be “retooled,” get rid of them. It sounds like these “indispensable” staff are making your life miserable. Bad businesspeople are masters at coping, and living with, bad situations. Change it up.

I’m moving my store. What are some ways to get my customers to follow me to the new location?

Have no fear — this is actually a great marketing opportunity because it gives you a valid reason to communicate with your existing clientele as well as prospective customers. Start getting out the news months before the move. “It is important to communicate why you are moving — a better location, a bigger location, a more convenient location, you purchased a building,” says James Porte of the Porte Marketing Group.

Place a small sign in your existing store announcing the move. You can also mention it all your emails, on your business cards, repair envelopes, and other mediums. A direct mail-out is critical, says Porte, adding that the more memorable way you can communicate this, the better the chance it will be remembered. “I once saw a pack of playing cards imprinted with the jeweler’s name that was packaged in a die-cut paper moving truck as a self-mailer. It was awesome!”

Next, get in touch with any local media and tell them about the move, and in particular what you’re bringing to the market; possibly its first repair department or a selection of lab-grown diamonds, or maybe a technological advance, your laser equipment or other services or products. As the day nears, get on the phone. “Contacting each and every customer by phone to let them know you are moving is by far the most effective way,” Porte says. Finally, a grand opening will help get your old customers to the new store so “they can experience what you have done that is improved and of greater benefit to the customer,” he says.

And don’t worry about overdoing the message. This is one time when repetitive communication is necessary, particularly to your existing customers.

At what point should I cut out of sales?

Working out the value of your time to the business is a fairly straightforward sum and if your financial goals are bigger than any sales you could close on the floor, then you are right to be looking to spend more time strategizing, working on marketing campaigns, meeting with potential partners, taking advanced business courses or whatever. But it’s a mistake to think you can or should ever stop selling. Your salespeople need to see you constantly looking to bring in new business. That can be with regular stints on the salesfloor, playing a support role, making the odd old-fashioned sales call or by trying to sell the company at a higher level. Once it stops with you, it’s over from the top down.



When the Kids Have Their Own Careers, Wilkerson Can Help You to Retire

Alex and Gladys Rysman are the third generation to run Romm Jewelers in Brockton, Mass. And after many decades of service to the industry and their community, it was time to close the store and take advantage of some downtime. With three grown children who each had their own careers outside of the industry, they decided to call Wilkerson. Then, the Rysmans did what every jeweler should do: They called other retailers and asked about their own Wilkerson experience. “They all told us what a great experience it was and that’s what made us go with Wilkerson.” says Gladys Rysman. The results? Alex Rysman says he was impressed. “We exceeded whatever I expected to do by a large margin.”

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