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Most of These Jewelers Saw a Nice Sales Bounce in May. How Did You Do?

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It was a comeback month.

May delivered a solid bounce in sales at the independent jewelry stores in our survey group, recovering much of the ground lost in April. Average results for May saw monthly sales of $134,119, up from May 2016’s figure of $127,694. This represented an increase of just over 5 percent in the year-on-year comparison. The rolling 12-month data shows an increase in annual sales from $1.589 million to $1.596 million, up 0.4 percent, which claws back much of last month’s 0.5 percent decline.

With a number of additional stores coming on board in the last few months, our data now consists of over 800 stores with total annual sales of more than $1.3 billion in the U.S., providing a depth of data which is continuing to increase every month.

Here’s a quick summary of the results achieved for the last six months.INSTORE chart1 July

So how do your sales compare? If you receive our monthly KPI report data you will receive information that will show your numbers alongside these figures, but if not you can still make a comparison.

Grab a recent “Sales Report by Category” for the month of May from your system and arm yourself with a highlighter. Find the following sales data from your own report:

  • Gross sales
  • Total units sold
  • Average retail sale value
  • Margin
  • Gross profit

How do your numbers compare to the data above? You should see areas where you are above and possibly other areas where you are below the data recorded.

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This data only represents one month, which can be misleading. Print a Sales Report by Category for the last six months and compare your average sale and margin over this time period. How does your average sale and margin compare with the figures indicated above across the six months?

Notice we aren’t focusing on sales here. Sales are a by product of other variables; you can’t increase sales without increasing either the average retail value of what you sell or the number of units you are selling. Likewise we aren’t focused on gross profit – this can’t be lifted without either increasing the two variables mentioned above or increasing the margin being achieved on your existing sales.

You will be doing better than the average in some areas of your business. Congratulations! You will also likely find that you are lower in other areas. You should be getting a clearer idea of which parts need your attention in order to improve.

Let’s dive a little deeper into the numbers.

Assuming your average sale is higher or your margins are lower you may be selling more diamond than the typical store. If you’re finding you have a lower average sale but higher margins you may be selling less diamond product than the averages indicated. So how do you know if this is the case? Easy – we have that breakdown also:INSTORE chart2 July

The above chart shows the typical breakdown of stores for the last 12 months in terms of percentage contribution from each of their main areas (the figure for diamond jewelry also includes the diamond rings percentage listed above it). You can now see your sales mix relative to the typical U.S. store.

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Grab your Sales Report by Category for the last six months (or 12 if you have one) and compare your own figures. How do you match up on diamonds? If you are achieving a lower percentage of diamond sales but your margins overall are lower then that’s a red flag.

You should not be achieving lower margins if diamonds are a less significant part of your business than the average data. Likewise if your contribution from diamonds is higher than this percentage but your average sales figures are lower than that might indicate that the average sales you are achieving in diamonds are considerably lower than that being achieved by the average store.

Data can be a good indicator of performance and can create the questions you need to ask in order to improve results. “Why is my store’s average sale lower than the data average when diamonds represent a more significant part of my business?” is a great starting question.


DAVID BROWN is president of the Edge Retail Academy, an organization devoted to the ongoing measurement and growth of jewelry store performance and profitability. For further information about the Academy’s management mentoring and industry benchmarking reports, contact inquiries@edgeretailacademy.com or phone toll free (877) 569-8657.

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2019 Big Survey: 10 Times When Jewelry Store Employees Left the Job in Dramatic Fashion

Results of the 2019 Big Survey have been rolling in. Here’s a sample.

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WE ASKED SURVEY respondents to share the most epic ways they’d seen someone quit or be fired. Dealing with employees on their way out can be touchy. Sometimes these unfortunate encounters even culminate in award-winning dramatic performances. Read on for the most memorable ways employees have parted ways with jewelry stores:

Top 10 Countdown

The award for best dramatic performance goes to the employees who:

10. Screamed at the top of their lungs, “I QUIT”

9. Showed up in pajamas, had a breakdown, then quit and walked out.

8. Threw rings at the boss while asking for a raise, then quit.

7. Threw a crystal piece through a showcase shelf.

6. Hit the jeweler in the head with a bag of bananas.

5. Threw his key at me.

4. Came in wielding a pipe wrench screaming that we were liars.

3. Ran out of the shop, arms raised in the air, saying “he’s trying to kill me.”

2. Got drunk at a charity event we were sponsoring, hit on one of the ladies and pulled her skirt up. Police were called.

And the No. 1 best dramatic performance goes to:

1. The employee who hired a marching band to quit.

The 2019 Big Survey was conducted in September and October and attracted responses from more than 800 North American jewelers. Look out for all the results in the November issue of INSTORE.

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Wow Your Customers with This Video Messaging App

Jewelers can make online experiences feel a lot more like in-person experiences.

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DO YOU REMEMBER the last time a business did something unexpected for you? Something you truly appreciated? Of course, you do. Those are the moments that imprint themselves on our memories. For me, it was with a video messaging app called Bonjoro.

My Wow Moment

When I signed up for their free trial, I expected to get a video message from them. That’s what they do. And they told me I would. What I didn’t expect was to get a video answer about a tech issue I was having minutes after I emailed them about it. That blew me away.

In the jewelry industry, we pride ourselves on our in-store service and fret about our online marketing. Gone are the glory days with greater foot traffic. Now everyone wants to kick the tires online before they commit to coming in. But what if you could bring your amazing customer service to customers before they ever stepped foot in the store?

Bonjoro to the Rescue

That’s exactly what Bonjoro allows you to do. Bonjoro is an easy to use video to email messaging app for businesses. They make recording and emailing a personalized video to customers almost effortless. And you can even send these videos when they’ll have the biggest impact, like right after they fill out a contact form on your site.

Imagine a prospective customer visits your site. They fill out a contact form with some details about the type of engagement ring they’re looking for. After they press submit, someone on your sales team gets a notification. Once they have a free minute, they pull out their phone and record and send a video in less time than it would take them to respond to the email.

“Hi, Jim! I know exactly the style that you’re looking for, and we have some great options for you. You can see a few of them in the case behind me, but I have a few more that I’d like to pull out and show you. You mentioned that you have a lunch break at noon. Why don’t you stop by tomorrow, and I’ll have them all ready for you? In the meantime, there’s a link to our website’s engagement ring gallery in this window. If you see anything else you like, you can write me a quick message, and I’ll be sure to add it. See you soon!”

An Experience Like No Other

This is an experience most jewelers aren’t going to offer. The enthusiasm and confidence communicated in a video are hard to match in an email response. And the customer has likely never received a response like this from a jewelry store. Just the thought that someone took the time to personally address them with a video will make them more likely to stop in. Plus, they already feel like they know you.

Almost Face-to-Face

Bonjoro is a way to send quick, personalized videos to customers. They’re meant to be mixed into the daily routine and workflow of your sales team. This isn’t the time for high-quality video production or perfect angles. This is much more personal and organic than that.

People online aren’t used to being addressed personally by video. It gives them a personal touch that usually only happens in the store. When you use Bonjoro, the most important thing is to press the record button and talk to the customer like they’re right there in front of you. What a wonderful way to wow your customers!

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Commentary: The Business

Customer Fired for Cause

Her phone manners left something to be desired.

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Laurelle Giesbrecht of French’s Jewellery says her daughter Heidi, now 15, is not afraid to answer the phone despite what happened and calls it “a learning experience.”

WHILE VISITING A great friend and store owner, Laurelle Giesbrecht of French’s Jewellery in Alberta, Canada, we were commiserating over coffee. I have always loved hearing her stories about community involvement or win/win sales interactions. This time, she had a real doozy.

A customer had recently purchased a $300 ring for her daughter and had sent her back to the store for a free sizing. The young girl had decided it was not going to be on her third finger but the much larger first. That meant the ring needed to be sized from 5 to 10. For this, there would be a charge. The girl left the ring.

Laurelle’s daughter, Heidi, was answering phones as her mom finished closing the store. It was the last call before locking up. Heidi asked how she could re-direct the caller and then, holding the phone to her chest, asked her mom if she wanted to take the call. Mom assured her she was doing fine. It brought a smile to her face when she heard her daughter tell the caller that she would pass the message along to their HR manager.

But later at home, the true story emerged. The call had been from the original purchaser of the size 5 ring, and using a long string of vulgarities, she had demanded a full refund. The next day, typically affable Laurelle left a message requesting a return call. When the return call came, Laurelle informed the customer that the swearing she had done over the phone had been directed at her 13-year-old daughter. She added that she would not allow that treatment of any of her staff. After informing the customer that she would process a full refund, she asked for her mailing address so she could mail it. Laurelle calmly informed the customer that she was not to come back to her store.

But the story was not over. The customer ignored the request to not return to the store and instead brought a beautiful bouquet of flowers with a neatly written card. She wanted to personally deliver them to the 13-year-old child who had listened so intently to her vulgar language. This customer knew that the depth of her apology could only be appreciated by a face-to-face meeting between an embarrassed adult and precocious child!

If there are lessons here, they are written between the lines.

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