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Editor's Note

Our Big Survey Seeks To Answer Why Some Jewelers Thrive While Others Die

Why are some jewelers thriving while others are going out of business? In this issue, we seek answers.

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“WHAT’S THE SECRET? Why are some jewelers thriving while others are going out of business?”

We receive letters with some variation of this question at INSTORE every month. In this issue, we seek answers through our 12th annual Big Survey. This time, we sort more than 700 responses from jewelry store owners around the country into three categories: average stores, struggling stores, and thriving stores (without naming names, of course). Then we seek the common thread tying each given cohort together.

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Spoiler alert: the most successful stores are the ones that have embraced the millennial client. That means a concerted focus on digital marketing including social media and SEO. It also means more opportunities for customization and an emphasis on unique jewelry with meaning. Some stores have been willing to change with the times for a new clientele; others haven’t.

We also saw that thriving stores spent more of their own time on business strategy and marketing and less on bench work and sales than their struggling peers. So many owners get caught up in the day-to-day that they don’t take the time to make a plan for growth (and advertise to get there).

At the end of the day, the “secret” isn’t really much of a secret at all: those who seek to be the best merchants they can be — willing to sell whatever the client may want to whomever the client may be — are the ones who prosper. But there are many ways to get you there, and you’ll find quite a few in the pages of our Big Survey.

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Trace Shelton

Editor-in-Chief, INSTORE
trace@smartworkmedia.com

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

  • Print business-sized cards to throw into the customer’s bag saying to like your store on Facebook and give a review. (The Big Story, p. 63)
  • Text your clients every six months with the message, “Reminder! It’s time to get your jewelry checked and cleaned.” (The Big Story, p. 63)
  • Send each client their birthstone on their birthday along with a gift card toward custom design or mounting. (The Big Story, p. 63)
  • Bag each purchase into a custom canvas-printed bag that your clients can reuse. (The Big Story, p. 63)
  • Put morning duties on flash cards and have staff pick which card they want as they arrive (last person has to take two). (The Big Story, p. 63)

Trace Shelton is the editor-in-chief of INSTORE magazine. He can be reached at trace@smartworkmedia.com.

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Be Ready for ‘What Do You Have for $100?’ and Other Holiday Questions

As Christmas approaches, the queries you’ll hear from customers are actually pretty predictable, says jewelry store training expert Jimmy DeGroot. Here's how to make sure your team is prepared for the more common ones.

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Editor's Note

If You Haven’t Experienced All of INSTORE Online Yet, Why Wait?

A new website, podcasts, webinars and more come online from INSTORE.

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IF ALL YOU WANT FOR CHRISTMAS is a sizzling, user-friendly online experience that jam-packs the latest industry news, advice and stories into one easy-to-read format, then you’re in luck!

The new Instoremag.com is now live, and if you haven’t given it a look yet, prepare to be instantly charmed. The fast-loading site makes browsing a breeze. You can scroll through the latest news, tips, videos and podcasts, human-interest stories, and product coverage with big headlines and images galore.

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As excited as I am about our new website, I’m equally stoked about our fresh stable of podcasts. Kyle Bullock, a smooth-voiced fourth-generation retailer from Roswell, NM, presents “Over the Counter,” which tells the stories of inspirational and memorable jewelry sales. Jewelry journalist Barbara Palumbo interviews a variety of industry figures in “The Barb Wire”; it’s light-hearted, freewheeling talk radio for the jewelry industry. And group editorial director David Squires conducts in-depth conversations with top retailers in “Secrets of America’s Coolest Stores.” Search “INSTORE” in the Podcasts app on Apple or simply listen to the shows on instoremag.com.

And lest I forget, we’ve also come blasting out of the gates with several “INSTORE Live” webinars, featuring marketing experts like Andrea Hill and Shane O’Neill, top digital companies like Podium and respected organizations like Platinum Guild International.

That’s a lot of marvelous, unmissable information, and I haven’t even talked about this issue yet! Rest assured you’ll love our hilarious “Holiday True Tales” and feel uplifted by “Kids Quest,” the story of a young girl learning to love the jewelry industry.

Talk to you next year!

Trace Shelton

Editor-in-Chief, INSTORE
trace@smartworkmedia.com

 

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

  • Create a custom visual standards manual (CVSM) to systematize the look and feel of your store. (Linda Cahan, page 51)
  • Hold special VIP shopping hours for your social media fans one evening during the holidays. (Manager’s To-Do, page 24)
  • Send your team members home whenever possible to avoid holiday fatigue. (Buzz Session, page 56)
  • Ask all job candidates to take a personality and skills assessment before you interview them. (Ask INSTORE, page 54)
  • On any piece with five to 20 gemstones, charge $28 to check, tighten and retighten within 12 months; $35 for 21 stones or more. (David Geller, page 52)
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Editor's Note

Become a Holiday Hercules By Following Our “4 Weeks to Peak Holiday Performance”

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas … at least, for your sake, I hope it is!

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IT’S BEGINNING to look a lot like Christmas … at least, for your sake, I hope it is!

Yes, it’s that time of year again: time to start thinking about jolly old elves dressed in red velvet (or more importantly, jolly new jewelry pieces gift-wrapped in a velvet box).

At INSTORE, we’re getting in the spirit by providing you with a big holiday advice story for the first time in several years. In the past, our annual Big Survey ran in our October issue, but we’ve received so many requests for holiday help that we’ve moved the Big Survey to our November issue. For now, in order to help you prepare for this merry season of madness, we’ve assembled a calendar of to-do items for your next four weeks in the areas of store environment, marketing, staffing/training, and inventory/display.

But that’s not all (it never is). Managing editor Eileen McClelland searched high and low for stores that offer a memorable experience appealing to the five senses, and she got so carried away that we couldn’t squeeze it all into two pages — so you’ll find the lion’s share of tips and examples in the online version of the story at instoremag.com. (This is a practice you’ll likely see more and more often from us: running extra content and stories online where we have unlimited space to work with.)

If you think reading INSTORE is a must for holiday prep, make sure you don’t miss all the important stuff appearing only at instoremag.com! Happy holiday planning!

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find Inside This Edition

  • 1. Set up a holiday schedule that puts your best people in position to do what each of them does best. (The Big Story, p. 43)
  • 2. Move your jewelry around to other areas of your store so current clients will notice and think you have new inventory. (The Big Story, p. 45)
  • 3. Serve snacks and drinks on a tray to every customer. (Sensory Experience, p. 52)
  • 4. Add Halloween spirit in the form of nail art, hair clips and maybe some extra makeup. (Ask Instore, p. 79)
  • 5. Survey your best clients on how your store is doing and offer an incentive so they’ll send it back. (Shane Decker, p. 78)
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Editor's Note

Mined and Laboratory-Grown Diamonds Compete in Retail Showcases Nationwide

Billion-year-old diamonds are competing with newborn diamonds in retail showcases.

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Diamonds are a girl’s best friend … regardless of whether they come from a mine or a lab.

That’s the message we’re hearing from many North American jewelry retailers. The only question seems to be whether laboratory-created diamonds are suited for special occasions, like engagements and anniversaries, or whether they should be relegated to lower-cost fashion jewelry. Laboratory-created diamond manufacturers are banking on the former — with one exception, De Beers, whose Lightbox imprint of laboratory-grown diamond jewelry targets younger, self-purchasing consumers.

With the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) recently weighing in with new terminology guidelines for diamonds (and gold, but that’s another story), it’s been an eventful summer for anyone involved in the sale of diamond jewelry. In fact, we had to delay layout of our special feature, “Lab Test,” in order to cover the most recent developments. Managing Editor Eileen McClelland did a fantastic job of talking to parties on all sides of the issue, including retailers who are doing big-time business in the category.

It’s a cornerstone of this special bridal-focused edition of INSTORE, along with a super-sized “New Arrivals” (with tons of hot-off-the-presses bridal rings) and our “What I’ve Learned” story, which interviews retailers, designers and industry consultants on their bridal lessons learned over the years. In fact, just about every feature in this issue is devoted to bridal, the most important sales category for most jewelry retailers.

So, do you think it’s time to take the plunge and commit already to this issue? I do!

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find Inside This Edition

  • 1. Tell clients the price of the item early on so that they can hear everything else you’re telling them. (The Big Story, page 46)
  • 2. Talk to your insurer about what would be involved in letting VIP customers borrow nice jewelry for their special days. (Manager’s To-Do, page 28)
  • 3. When you lose a big sale, call a “sales inquest” to figure out what, if anything, you could have done differently. (Ask Instore, page 75)
  • 4. Pull a ring out of the case, ask the client to hold out her hand and put it on her (instead of asking if she’d like to see it). (David Geller, page 82)
  • 5. Remove calculators from your countertops; they kill the romance of jewelry buying. (Shane Decker, page 86)
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