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There was a time when the day-to-day life of a jeweler didn’t change too much. Technology and the upended retail landscape mean that is no longer the case.

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20. In the last decade, have any of these dates on the calendar become significantly less important to your business?

Prom Season
54%
Father’s Day
53%
Valentine’s Day
45%
Graduation
42%
Mother’s Day
41%
Tax-return season
35%
Christmas
14%
Spring weddings
12%
Fall engagements
10%
Other
3%
COMMENT: With more than half of jewelers identifying Father’s Day and almost as many listing Valentine’s Day and Mother’s Day as having lost much of their ability to pull in customers, it suggests the jeweler’s calendar is undergoing a fundamental change.
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21. Please check the following issues customers regularly ask you about:

Diamond origins/Conflict diamonds
56%
Lab-grown diamonds
50%
Colored stone origins
28%
Ethical sourcing
27%
Recycled gold
19%
Environmental impact of diamond mining
12%
Fair trade metals
7%

22. In your experience, who is the best fit for a cross-promotion?

Clothes/fashion retailer
28%
Bridal boutique
24%
Spa or other well-being business
13%
Auto dealership
7%
Restaurants
3%
Florist
3%
Bar/wine boutique/winery
3%
Coffee shop
2%
Bakery
2%
Beauty/nail salon
2%
A gym or fitness center
2%
Sporting goods retailer
1%
Optical retailer
1%
Photography
1%
Non-profit
1%
Others
5%
“Tie-ups don’t work for us.”
2%
*Among the “others” that caught our attention were divorce attorney, realtor, retirement home and donut shop: “We have a donut shop next door. So diamonds and donuts it is,“ noted the respondent.

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

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24-25. How would you describe the impact of social media on your business and on your personal life?

Tell us about the business impact
  • It’s how we reach a majority of potential customers now.
  • It has given me a nationwide market to sell my designs.
  • We sell almost all the items we feature on our Instagram and Facebook posts. It’s made a huge difference in our bottom line.
  • Our gallery is “outside the box” in most approaches, and social media expresses that well and instantly.
  • People love when we are active in posting pictures, especially “Before and Afters” or jewelry makeover pics.
  • We have an older clientele. Facebook inquiries take up time but are not very fruitful.
  • Time-sucking looky-loos are far worse in text … “Could you shoot a picture of it upside down with a green light?”
  • The use of social media has helped us generate excitement with our customers. Giveaways and contests where we ask them to share, like and tag someone has boosted our audience.
  • Allows us to interact with customers at their convenience, not just business hours.
  • Now you know “which half of your advertising is working.”
  • We are losing sales to costume jewelry seen on social media. Everyone wants to make or sell jewelry and do it with no overhead expenses.
  • It brings in referrals when clients allow us to share their engagement photos or tag us. I’m always surprised when a new customer comes in and says that her friend, who is not yet a customer, follows us on social media and referred her to us.
  • We actually get to know our customers on a more personal level, because they share more with us on social media than they would in person.
  • Google Reviews is huge for us. We’re No. 1 in our area. It’s cut our advertising down by $24,000 a year.
  • We are a little more visible, with no real impact. Those on FB are really fake friends. Real clients walk through the door.
  • Our hires are all in their 20s, and navigating social media is second nature to their age group. Most large sales now are text and social media component sales.
  • It’s a huge time waster. Employers are losing incredible amounts of production time to people on social media while at work.
  • We are a 96-year-old store, so we have a generational customer base, and social media has introduced us to the younger generation.
  • It’s allowed us to reach further, and also serves as a “paper trail” for quotes, comments, confirmations, etc.
  • Platforms such as Instagram connect me with new designs and designers. It helps to keep the pulse on market trends.
  • I feel like i am walking on eggshells. G-d forbid I make a mistake or a job isn’t completed in the time the client thinks it should be, which results in bad reviews.
  • It has become our major advertising media, but it has its pitfalls, such as an unhappy person’s ability to trash your business rather than resolve any issues with you in person.
  • Once I set boundaries for myself in terms of replying to inquires, setting up automatic replies and using the “do not disturb” feature for specific hours every day, it was nothing but positive. Customers love that I’m accessible (I’m a small store in a small town of less than 2,000 people) and that it’s a person replying.
Tell us about the personal impact
  • For me it has been positive. Connection is very important in business and in personal life. I do feel more connected to people because of it.
  • I keep its use on a personal level limited. It has allowed me to reconnect with many people across the years and miles. It has also caused me to “unfriend” some people in real life who have an addictive connection to it. (“Can we please do something together without you turning it into a post? Can you please stop checking your phone—I’m right here, across the table from you?!?”)
  • I’ve reconnected with old friends and stayed connected to my extended family in a way that was never possible before.
  • Met my wife there!
  • My spouse is always on her phone/computer, even in the evenings.
  • Neutral when you consider the pros and cons. Cons: Time sink. Need to ignore most of the content. Divisive. Pros: Great for connecting with friends. Have a worldwide network as a result. Recently traveled to NC, friends from Georgia saw the post, said “we’re here too.” Had lunch as a result.
  • Dozens of new customers from my hometown, people that knew me but didn’t know what I do for a living. Been here 38 years.
  • I use Facebook for learning about clients. I am too old to be affected by how happy other people look on Facebook and I don’t care what they had for dinner, no matter how beautiful the presentation.
  • It is a lot of work and it feels like you still work after hours because you’re connected.
  • I personally hate it. People know everything but are not connected.
  • I am able to keep up to date on happenings in fashion, the world and popular trends much more easily.
  • Met many great people, learned of many great businesses, hobbies, etc. Learned a lot about a lot of things.
  • I quit most social media because of its inability to determine fact from fiction.
  • I feel lost if I don’t have my phone near me. At work I use it to post pics for social media, at home it’s just my go-to … I hate that it has come to that. I miss the in-depth conversations at the dinner table or at restaurants. You look around and everyone has their face in their phone.
  • As a business owner, you and your employees will be judged by all posts and activity in your personal lives. Privacy is dead.
  • It makes me late getting out of bed every single day.
  • Time mentally away from work is almost nonexistent. Always on a leash.
  • Positive because I receive lots of millennial business. Negative that you can become a slave to social media. Especially for a one-man operation (no employees).
  • Too easily caught up in what others are doing, saying, thinking. I’ve deleted my personal accounts to focus more on myself.
  • I spend way too much time on it. It’s my drug of choice.
  • We don’t talk any more … everyone just stares at their phone. I want to be a better example to my 13-year-old daughter, but it is hard to say not to do it when I do it myself.
  • Allows me to see life outside of my own.
  • Waste too much time looking at my phone instead of experiencing life.
  • It’s dividing our country.
  • It has allowed me to keep in touch with my family who live in other states. I am also in several groups for the jewelry industry as well as for fun.
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26. How eco­friendly is your store? Check all the practices you employ.

COMMENT: Jewelers showed they were making more environmentally conscious decision in nearly all the areas we highlighted compared with five years ago. The only significant declines were in 1) the use of local suppliers, which is likely explained by the ease with which it is possible to order supplies online from just about anywhere in the world in 2019, and 2) fewer jewelers stocking “green” jewelry designers. Then again, everyone seems to be a “green” jewelry designer these days.

27. As a business owner, tell us whether each of these new technologies or trends excites, scares you or makes you go “meh”.

COMMENT: Most of the technological breakthroughs that have been hailed as having the potential to revolutionize the jewelry industry (blockchain) or society at large (A.I.) don’t seem to excite jewelers. The two that stood out in terms of getting the emotions going were 3D printing (yay!) and lab-grown meat (ech!).

28. How would you describe the contribution of e-commerce — via your website, Facebook, eBay, Etsy, etc. — to total sales?

COMMENT: It’s been a steady but undeniable trend with e-commerce sales now accounting for a moderate to substantial portion of four in 10 jewelers.
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29. Who do you think is the most powerful (consumer-facing) social media influencer in jewelry?

By far the single biggest response to this question was “Don’t have a clue”. That suggests an admirable lack of interest in the often frothy world of social media influencers, but also an opportunity. There is something to be said for finding out who may be guiding your customers’ fashion or jewelry choices. For those jewelers who were a little more clued in about the people their customers were following on Instagram, YouTube, Facebook or other social media channels, here are their choices for top 10 influencers, ranked from top to bottom:

  1. Danielle Miele @gemgossip
  2. Kim Kardashian
  3. Meghan Markle
  4. The Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise
  5. Kylie Jenner
  6. Hayley Paige
  7. Beyoncé
  8. Jennifer lopez
  9. Taylor Swift
  10. Cardi B

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].

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Hosting a going-out-of-business sale when the coronavirus pandemic hit wasn’t a part of Bob Smith’s game plan for his retirement. Smith, the owner of E.M. Smith Jewelers in Chillicothe, Ohio, says the governor closed the state mid-way through. But Smith chose Wilkerson, and Wilkerson handled it like a champ, says Smith. And when it was time for the state to reopen, the sale continued like nothing had ever happened. “I’d recommend Wilkerson,” he says. “They do business the way we do business.”

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