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Editor's Note

Our Editor-In-Chief Admits He Didn’t Know What WhatsApp Was … Do You?

Like other tech, it has the potential to make clients way happier with business owners.

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WHEN I SAW this issue’s “Do You or Don’t You” question, I was just as baffled as many of our readers.

The question, posed by our group managing editor, Chris Burslem, through our Brain Squad survey was this: “Do you use WhatsApp or another messaging service in your marketing or to otherwise communicate with customers?”

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I admit it: I wasn’t 100 percent sure what WhatsApp actually was.

So, I looked it up, and it’s a messaging app that sends text messages for free through an Internet connection. But its advantage is that you can create a business profile so users can see your address, website and contact info. It also allows businesses to save and reuse messages that you frequently send (e.g., “Your repair is ready!”), as well as sort your contacts by labels (e.g., “Frequent client,” “Engagement client only,” “Repair client only,” etc.).

In other words, I quickly learned that WhatsApp has some really cool features for small business owners.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of jewelry retailers are burned out on new tech. And yet, technology like WhatsApp, social media and review-management services like Podium can allow you to connect with clients in ways that they prefer and provide more efficient customer service.

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If you’d be willing to walk uphill both ways through snow and sleet to serve your customers, are you also willing to delve into the latest technology to do the same?

Trace Shelton

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

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

  • Geofence your competitor’s store. (Manager’s To-Do, p. 26)
  • When working with a female engagement ring client, ask her to close her eyes and describe the perfect ring. (The Big Story, p. 39)
  • When dealing with a customer complaint, say “Tell me more” in order to put them at ease. (The Big Story, p. 40)
  • Ask job candidates, “Tell me how you prepared for this interview.” (Tip Sheet, p. 47)
  • Bundle slow-moving product with a fast seller in order to clear it out. (David Brown, p. 52)

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

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Editor's Note

We’re All Quitters Someday

A successful ending to your retail career requires planning.

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ALL GOOD THINGS must end. Yet every ending is a new beginning. I could keep going with the clichés, but you get the point: everyone eventually has to move on from jewelry retail. When the time comes, you want to go out on your own terms.

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Podcast: A One of a Kind Family Heirloom is ‘Vaporized’ … and a Jeweler Goes Above and Beyond to Replace It

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With that in mind, our lead story takes you inside the transitions of six different jewelry retailers and explains why business expert Seth Godin says that one of the secrets of successful organizations is “strategic quitting.” Everyone reading this issue will leave the industry one day; now is the time to begin planning for it.

That said, many of you aren’t ready to retire, you’ve just lost your inspiration. You’re down and out, dejected, or maybe just bored. We’ve got just the thing for you to help you get your mojo back: our second lead story, “Mojo to Go.” It includes 12 different action items guaranteed to bring the excitement back to your business life.

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If that weren’t enough, we’ve also got what group managing editor Chris Burslem calls “lots of fun and interesting side bits” throughout, including why you shouldn’t discount shop labor, how to sell more safely, what your inventory management strategy can learn from dieting, and of course much, much more.

So remember, it’s not the quitting that matters — it’s how you plan to quit!

Trace Shelton

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

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

  • Have your kids or your employees’ kids make Valentine’s Day cards and use them as props in your displays. (Manager’s To-Do, page 26)
  • Hold office hours for an hour or two a week for staff to talk to you. (Mojo To Go, page 44)
  • When role-playing sales with your staff, always take the role of salesperson first. (Ask INSTORE, page 58)
  • Renegotiate everything from your lease to Internet, cable, phone and even garbage pickup to save money. (Evan Deutsch, page 52)
  • Use an open-to-buy calculation to balance what you’re buying with what you’re selling. (David Brown, page 53)
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Editor's Note

Don’t Swim Up for Air

Sometimes, the counterintuitive approach may be the best one for your business.

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DID YOU EVER receive a piece of advice that didn’t make sense on its face, but once you’d put it into action, you realized just how true it was?

When I was a kid and we vacationed at the beach, I remember my parents telling me not to fight against the undertow in the surf. Even so, the first time those waves hurled me down into the hard sand and began to suck me out to sea, panic rose up in me and I tried in vain to swim toward shore before I remembered my parents’ words. Only when I let go and allowed the undertow to cycle me out and up was I able to get above the waves and breathe air again.

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Sometimes, following conventional wisdom in retail can be the same as fighting against the undertow, especially when the sea that you occupy is changing rapidly. In this issue, we share a number of business rules (19, in fact) that provide alternative routes to success that just may be more appropriate for the times in which we live.

Ignore terrific opportunities? Yes, if they’re taking time and attention away from even better prospects. Don’t try to fix your weaknesses? Not when it may be more efficient to delegate to others. Don’t promise excellent customer service? Not if it’s going to set you up for failure.

You get the picture. It’s a new year, so it’s a good time to try some new ideas and see if they can catapult your business into greener pastures.

Trace Shelton

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

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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.

Podcast: A One of a Kind Family Heirloom is ‘Vaporized’ … and a Jeweler Goes Above and Beyond to Replace It
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Podcast: A One of a Kind Family Heirloom is ‘Vaporized’ … and a Jeweler Goes Above and Beyond to Replace It

Podcast: Using Social Media to Win Customers and Lower Your Intimidation Factor
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Podcast: Using Social Media to Win Customers and Lower Your Intimidation Factor

Podcast: Michael O’Connor, Jewelry’s Perfect Spokesman, Visits ‘The Barb Wire’
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Podcast: Michael O’Connor, Jewelry’s Perfect Spokesman, Visits ‘The Barb Wire’

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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