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Jeweler Makes Thoroughly Convincing Case for Brick-and-Mortar Retail

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It’s the small businesses that make a community.

[Editor’s note: This letter is a submission from Marc Majors of Sam L. Majors in Midland, TX.]

For years now we’ve been hearing about the rise of online shopping with consumerism turning toward the internet and how it’s going to negatively affect brick-and-mortar retailers. I honestly took little warning and didn’t put a whole lot of thought into it until 2017.

I’ve watched the trend get worse and worse but now it’s a two-headed monster and I have no idea how to slay it. With tremendous discounts and deals given and the promise to deliver in two days, it seems like this has appealed to people more than running down to your local retailer and buying what you need. Do people really think it’s more convenient to have something delivered to your doorstep than driving down the street? Have people been consumed with shopping for a price instead of a piece? Would you rather put something in your “shopping cart,” type in your credit card info and shipping address and hit “confirm”? Where is the pride in that?

There is none.

Look, I get it, some things you just can’t get locally, especially in smaller towns. I’m understanding of that. But if there is a nice store in your community that provides good products and services then why wouldn’t you buy locally?

Obviously, I’m a big fan of buying locally because I’m in retail, too, but what people don’t realize is that it’s the small businesses that build and make a community. And when you take your money elsewhere, like the internet, you are doing a disservice to your local community. You’re giving your business to an online retailer who could care less about who you are, what you’re about and your family. They don’t care if you come back or not. They have your money and they are done with you until you make another purchase from them.

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As a local retailer, I see you at restaurants, church and the grocery store. Our kids play together, they go to school together, we coach teams together, etc. Now why wouldn’t you want to support someone you know so well?

Take pride in what your community offers! Take pride in knowing that you’re supporting someone who turns around and supports the community. Take pride in knowing you bought a quality product from a local merchant who can answer any questions and take care of any customer service issues immediately.

Isn’t it more exciting to go shopping, talk directly to a human being, pick out exactly what you want, try it on if needed and walk out with your new purchase? Sure it is!


This piece is an INSTORE Online extra.

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Gene the Jeweler Gets Kicked Out of the Studio

In the latest episode (#42) of Gene the Jeweler, Gene is going about his business, recording a new episode. But that doesn’t last long. Four-time NFL Pro Bowl leading rusher Ahman Green walks in, and Gene finds that his time in the studio is over — whether he likes it or not. (See more Gene the Jeweler episodes at instoremag.com/gene.)

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On Successful Sale Events and More of Your Letters from August

One reader is looking for good ways to clear out her inventory dawgs.

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On “Best Day Ever”

We enjoyed reading “Best Day Ever.” We used to think that day was ahead of us rather than behind us. With recent things going on, that sadly may not be the case. We hope we are wrong in those future tidings. — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA

It was a good article. The jewelry industry is old and beat up. The article hopefully gives life to those who are ready to throw in the towel. — Christopher Sarich, Noah Gabriel & Co. Jewelers, Wexford, PA

Loving Decker

We love your magazine! July was a good edition. We would like to see more articles by Shane Decker! — Sarah Vatter, Thomas Michaels Designers, Camden, ME

Kickstart My Dawg

With mid-year inventory reviews in the rearview mirror and serious thought going into dumping the underperforming dawgs, I was curious as to the best options other stores have successfully tried? One we recently were batting around was a Facebook auction for those “lazy items.” Who doesn’t love a sale and then frenzied bidding until the buzzer rings? We also considered if the item sold for more than its original retail value (hey, it could happen!), then we could donate the excess. Our customers could choose from the store’s favorite charities. All transactions would be done in the store to avoid those less scrupulous types. Has anyone tried this? Tips, suggestions or cautions? — Denise Oros, Linnea Jewelers, La Grange, IL

Time to Adjust

Online jewelry sales have hurt the brick-and-mortar establishments, but it’s time to move on and adjust to market changes. Nothing can replace quality personal service, and the Internet does not offer face-to-face interaction with a live human being with knowledge and a kind demeanor. — Joe Caron, Caron’s Jewelry, Bristol, RI

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Your Letters On The INSTORE Design Awards, the Return to The Sands, and More

Are retailers obligated to buy things back?

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On The INSTORE Design Awards

  • I was pleased to see our own Wichita lady, Debra Navarro, featured. We carry her work and have done several shows with her, and have been able to see her growth and just the guts and determination it takes to do this. — Robin Lies, Burnell’s Creative Gold, Wichita, KS
  • Loved the men’s jewelry winner [by Tavannes Watch Co.]! I always wanted to have a watch as a belt buckle. What an innovation for men … it will tell you it’s time to eat, but not to eat too much … then you’ll never be able to see what time it is. No big bellies here! — Bruce Goodheart, Goodheart Jewelry, Overland Park, KS
  • Enjoyed looking at the unique pieces of the INSTORE Design Awards. Gives me inspiration and ideas for clients. — Lyla Ismael, Lyla Jewelers, Oak Lawn, IL
  • Amazing to see new jewelry ideas in the INSTORE Design Awards. Such a great issue every year! — Jennifer Farnes, Revolution Jewelry Works, Colorado Springs, CO

You Bought It, You Keep It

Interesting discussions going on about lab-grown diamonds. One of the things talked about is what do you do when the customer brings it back to sell or trade and the prices have dropped on them. I’ve always thought, aside from standard 30-day returns or exchanges offered, why is it that a retail store is obligated in any way to take back merchandise that is used? How is it that somehow consumers feel that they can wear a piece for years and then just sell it back to stores? I realize that some in our industry thrive on buying back, but why should the store do the same when that is not their business model? Always puzzled me. — Alex Weil, Martin’s Jewelry, Torrance, CA

Brilliant Move

Vegas was a nice boost to remind me how special our industry is. And the move of JCK/LUXURY back to The Sands convention center this year was brilliant. It’s a thousand times better! — Marc Majors, Sam L. Majors, Midland, TX

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Readers Sound Off On E-Commerce, Signet and Millennials

There’s hope in the form of Generation Z.

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Forward Revolution

The jewelry industry is undergoing significant changes because the concept of jewelry has changed. The very high-end luxury goods markets seem to be holding, but the squeezing of the middle class has changed disposable income. Who is buying the jewelry has changed as well. Self-purchasers prevail in this era of self (and selfie) celebration. These factors have evolved my purchasing and merchandising strategies. A pared-down inventory with only essential quick-sellers in understock coupled with targeted memo support is the new reality today for profitability. For their support, vendors must be viewed and treated as true business partners, not simply suppliers. This wasn’t how we did things in the past, but it has been instrumental in not just surviving but thriving. You adapt or die.

Podcast: A Flash of Cash and Other Meditations on the Value of Jewelry
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Podcast: A Flash of Cash and Other Meditations on the Value of Jewelry

Podcast: Craig Husar Discusses His Career, and His Spectacular New Store, on ‘The Barb Wire’
The Barb Wire

Podcast: Craig Husar Discusses His Career, and His Spectacular New Store, on ‘The Barb Wire’

Podcast: Make Sure You Open the Dang Box
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Podcast: Make Sure You Open the Dang Box

E-commerce alone does not bring enough people through your door. We have found a way to give our clients the opportunity to do research on our website, narrow their selection and then come into our store for the final decision and purchase. We do this via our partnership with Stuller and the free addition of their online selling platform, which includes a cart system. It’s an easy addition to any website, it drives traffic to the store and it increases our online presence. — Jessica Rossomme, Mucklow’s Fine Jewelry, Peachtree City, GA

E-Futility

I have two stores; both have excellent web presence, nice SEOs, solid cost-per-click campaigns, display ad campaigns, and a nice social media following. Our websites show our inventory, which can be purchased online. We have included the e-commerce option in all of our advertising and marketing and even coded the site to offer sale discounts during events and holidays. All of this has been in place for six-plus months, and we are still yet to sell a single piece through the site. How about that! — Chad Elliott Coogan, Gems of La Costa, Carlsbad, CA

Hard to Keep Up

Trying to stay ahead of the many changes Google, Instagram and Facebook make after we have somewhat mastered their previous algorithms is a career in itself! Wish there were some Cliff Notes for us retailers! — Susan Eisen, Susan Eisen Fine Jewelry & Watches, El Paso, TX

Signet Silence

Why are we not talking about Signet and sexual assault? Talk about taking the glamour out of jewelry — or is this entire industry tone-deaf? — Alan Lindsay, Henry’s, Cape May, NJ

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