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The Big Survey 2018: Manmade Diamonds

67% of jewelers say they would at least consider stocking them.

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24. Would you consider stocking laboratory-grown diamonds?

 201620172018
Yes21%16%18%
Maybe36%37%37%
Already do10%15%16%
Never33%32%29%

 

25. What is your strongest feeling about laboratory-grown diamonds?

 20162018
Afraid12%10%
Intrigued18%14%
Excited10%11%
Disdainful19%21%
Neutral41%43%

 

26. If you stock laboratory-grown diamonds, what’s your approach to marketing them?

I aggressively let everyone know I have them.
10%
I market them in much the same way as any other product
42%
I quietly let customers know they are an option
48%

27. In what order would you recommend these alternatives to a customer who was reluctant to buy a freshly mined diamond?

2016
1. Previously owned
2. Colored gemstone
3. Lab-grown diamond
4. Moissanite
5. CZ
2018
1. Previously owned
2. Colored gemstone
3. Lab-grown diamond
4. Moissanite
5. CZ

NOT SO FAST: Though the ranking remained static, more jewelers (20%) said laboratory-grown diamonds would be the first alternative they recommended to such customers compared to just 13% in 2016.

28. Legal Quiz
Check the terms you’re allowed to use to describe laboratory-grown diamonds, according to the FTC:

Laboratory-grown
94%
Manmade
56%
Laboratory-created
47%
Synthetic
35%
(Manufacturer-name)-created
34%
Cultured
20%
Simulant
7%
Imitation
6%

Comment: Overall, you did pretty well. The top six terms can all be used, although with some qualifications, while the bottom two — “simulant” and “imitation” — are verboten, according to the FTC. Now, those qualifications: “cultured” can be used, but only if in addition to one of the FTC’s three pre-approved terms: laboratory-grown, laboratory-created, or manufacturer-name created, says Tiffany Stevens, CEO and president of the JVC. “‘Synthetic’ can still be used, but it shouldn’t be used to imply that the lab-grown is a simulant,” she says, or to disparage competitors. “Lastly, please also keep in mind that ‘real, natural, genuine, precious and semi-precious’ can only be used to describe diamonds and colored gemstones from the earth,” she says.

 

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Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

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Big Survey

Jewelers Studied These Topics In-Depth … And Decided They Weren’t Worth It

They’d rather spend their time pursuing other things.

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ONE QUESTION WE asked in Big Survey 2019 was this: “In recent years, is there anything that you studied deeply and decided wasn’t worth pursuing?”

In-house CAD/CAM capabilities were the overwhelming winner here, as many jewelers studied it but decided that outsourcing was a better option for them.

Interestingly, e-commerce was next-most mentioned (tied with “new lines of product”). Most experts and top jewelry stores have concluded that e-commerce is a must-have for selling to today’s consumer, who likes to shop via mobile device.

  • CAD/CAM (19)
  • E-commerce (12)
  • New lines of product (12)
  • Laser welder/engraver (9)
  • Lab-grown diamonds (7)
  • Pandora (7)

Some other interesting answers included buying rough diamonds, joint ventures, hiring an IT person, cloud-based appraisals, and “cutting debt.”

Many of our readers have researched, and then decided against, doing things that may seem valuable to other jewelry stores. Here were some of the things that just didn’t work for them.

  • We have tried a few “new and exciting” lines over the past few years, only to find that they were overhyped and complete duds!
  • CAD design … too long to get proficient.
  • Researched Pandora and charm jewelry and decided against it.
  • Buying a 3D printer. Just pay for the file instead.
  • Laser welder. I have wanted one for years, but have realized that at 60-plus, I simply do not have the TIME during the day, week or year to learn this new skill to the level that I would require of myself.
  • Brand name lies and fads. Our market is just too small.
  • Several online review subscription services, those that would help to build reviews. Most are overpriced and inefficient.
  • Photography of jewelry … I have had to delegate it.
  • Manmade diamonds; I learned a lot, but my clients want “real” ones.
  • CAD/CAM in-house. I spent time and money into something that I can now outsource much more cost effectively. The more CAD/CAM business that comes online, the less expensive the services become. My time is better spent designing than going through the mechanics of computer operation.
  • Online marketing: You buy these expensive websites with the hopes of boosting your bottom line as a mom-and-pop shop. Customers may look online before they buy, but still do the touchy-feely in the store.
  • Constantly looking at new small US designer lines and knowing with our weak dollar, it won’t sell at a profit.
  • Geo-fencing … actually pursued it and found it to be a total waste of money and time.
  • But our favorite answer was this one:
  • I don’t believe anything you study isn’t worth a try.
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Big Survey

These Are the Tech Innovations That Jewelers Find Most Useful

They make a big difference for time-starved business owners.

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ONE QUESTION WE asked in The Big Survey 2019 was this: “What tech innovation or app has had the biggest positive impact on your life as a time-starved business owner?”

Here were the top 10 most valuable tech innovations to jewelers in our survey.

Unsurprisingly, mobile and remote technology captured seven of the 10 spots, as they allow business owners to accomplish tasks from wherever they may be, in speedy fashion.

Here’s what some of our readers had to say about why they chose particular technologies as most valuable.

  • Email on my phone and text messaging. While it can be too much and annoying, I sell more stuff to friends and customers via text than I ever dreamed I would. Guys don’t like to shop, and if you know their significant other, they love it if you can do it for them.
  • The smartphone. We put it off for years before we got one; now I don’t know how we can do business without it.
  • The innovations of The Edge software system in letting you know “where you are” with your business very quickly.
  • Texting and emailing customers estimates and information instead of phone calls. I can do these in the evening and not during those precious working hours.
  • Wax printing. Even though I am a very competent sculptor, there is much to be said for getting the wax printer to make things while you barbeque some dinner.
  • The ability to order/reorder from vendors online to keep best sellers in inventory.
  • Alexa. I love that I can tell her what song I am feeling like and it plays right then.
  • Bank innovations that allow me to pay online, transfer money, set up auto-pay. I used to write a lot of checks!
  • Podium. The ability to directly communicate with our customers in a non-spam way has changed a lot of the way we do business, especially custom and repairs. It is expensive, but in our minds, it has been worth it.
  • Online grocery ordering apps that let you place the order for a particular time, drive in, and have it delivered to your car. No more walking through the grocery store with a list. love it.
  • My iPhone. Everything is at my fingertips. This is especially important now that I find that as I get older, I can’t spell anymore.
  • Ipevo camera at each employee’s desk, so every inventory item has a photo. Inexpensive and high quality.
  • GoToMyPC to access my computer and server from anywhere in the world.
  • iPad Pro! It has revolutionized our custom process. I can either draw up a design from scratch, or for custom shadow bands, I take a photo of their existing piece and then draw right on the photo digitally for a great visual. I do it right in front of the clients and they are always wowed by the technology.
  • Grubhub for sure. I love getting home and having a hot meal made by someone else ready to eat.
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Big Survey

This Is How Often Most Jewelers Check Online Review Sites

It’s tough and time-consuming to stay on top.

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YOU’VE LIKELY HEARD accounts of small-business owners, especially restaurant operators and hotel managers, who now live their lives as if at the mercy at review sites like Yelp or TripAdvisor. From the moment they wake up and take that first look at their phones until they take a final glance at their phone before turning into bed to see if someone has posted a negative review, such ratings sites have placed considerable power in the hands of the angry customer.

Well, jewelers, for the most part, aren’t like that. More than half, according to our 2019 Big Survey, check barely once a week.

How often do you check online review sites for comments about your store?

That suggests both good and bad outcomes: Jewelers aren’t feeling overly burdened by the thought that business success is chained to their online reputation, but also that they might not be fully aware of how they are being perceived on the internet.

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With studies showing that more than 80% of customers read online reviews before making a purchase, it’s obviously important to to know what’s being said about your business. But with an endless list of review sites from Yelp, to Google Reviews to comments on Facebook and Instagram and then the plethora of local listings, it’s tough and time-consuming to stay on top. Setting up a Google Alerts should be your first step. If you suspect reviews are having a significant impact on your business, consider investing in an online monitoring service, which will alert you when — in theory — a comment is posted somewhere online.

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

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