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Publisher’s Note: The Myth of the Digital World

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Look forward to 2016 with the knowledge
a screen can’t compete with the value you offer.

BY DAN KISCH

This article originally appeared in the January 2016 edition of INSTORE.


Welcome to the 15th annual January issue of INSTORE. OK, it’s not our 15th anniversary — that comes next January — but nevertheless, we’ve been around for quite a while. (Consider that Mark Zuckerberg was in his senior year in high school when INSTORE launched in 2002.)

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To be sure, there were a lot more print magazines around back then. But the best ones remain and continue to prosper. (See Vogue’s 832-page September issue.)

So, the digital world is not wiping out great print, and it’s not wiping out brick-and-mortar stores, either. There is an ongoing myth of Internet sales dominating retail. The headlines were quick to point out the 14 percent increase in Black Friday Internet sales and the drop at traditional brick-and-mortar stores. Internet sales over the past 10 years have almost doubled. All the way up to … 7.3 percent.

Yes, brick and mortar still accounts for a whopping 92 percent of the market. The “giant” of online jewelry companies, Blue Nile does — you guessed it — about 8.1 percent of what the giant of brick-and-mortar Signet does, and only 1.3 percent of the total jewelry specialty retail business.

Even Blue Nile opened its first physical store last year.

And even Blue Nile has realized the value of humans talking to humans face to face and opened its first physical store last year.

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The key to the magazine business is audience engagement, and it is the key to your business as well. From store design to making your customer feel they have a “personal jeweler” you can be more important in almost every aspect of the sale than a screen can. People rely on you for your knowledge, advice, product selection and, maybe most important, shared moments. Screens just don’t ever say “she’ll love it, you made a perfect choice.”

So make sure 2016 is the year you celebrate the great value you bring to your customers. Do it well and we’ll catch up again in the 30th January issue of INSTORE.

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