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Editor's Note

The More Things Change, the More They Stay the Same

The Big Survey reveals a decade of changes in jewelry retail.

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TEN YEARS AGO, we had a big idea.

That idea became our annual outreach known as “The Big Survey.” By now, you know the concept: to ask jewelry retailers anything and everything about your businesses in hopes of gleaning industry trends, useful advice and even humorous anecdotes. The results have become an encyclopedic resource for anyone seeking to understand the current state of jewelry retail in America.

A lot has changed over the past 10 years, and the jewelry business is in a state of flux unlike anything it has ever seen. This year’s survey examines these shifts using side-by-side comparisons to the results of past surveys. For example, we can see that the princess-cut diamond has dropped drastically in popularity since 2009, while demand for oval and cushion cuts is skyrocketing. Yellow gold, rose gold and silver are hot while palladium, titanium and stainless steel have cooled. Jewelers believe the biggest changes in how they sell jewelry include a greater need to create an “experience” for clients, more desire for customization, better informed customers and an increased use of technology in the sales process.

But as you’ll see in the survey results, what hasn’t changed are the basics: Customers still look for a retailer they can trust implicitly with a purchase that is sometimes technical, often weighty and almost always emotional.

P.S. — What do you see as the strongest competitive threat to your business in 2018, and what specific actions are you taking to address it? Answer this in a 500-word essay and you could win $500. Deadline is Oct. 27.

Trace Shelton
EDITOR-IN-CHIEF, INSTORE

trace@smartworkmedia.com

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

Want to Sell to Women?

Start with a welcoming attitude and a full-length mirror.

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WOMEN WHO OWN and manage retail jewelry stores are nothing new. Neither are women who buy their own jewelry.

But as numbers grow in both of those categories, it’s inevitable that jewelry stores themselves are changing. In this issue, we’re exploring some of the ways that’s happening, from store design and storytelling to creating experiences that take shopping to the level of adventure.

I know you’ll enjoy meeting all of the women featured in this issue. Here are just a few profiled in various sections:

  • Andrea Riso, who specializes in storytelling and creating offbeat experiences in her airy El Dorado Hills, CA, location.
  • Nicole Parker King, founder of Jet Set Candy, who, after establishing a jewelry souvenir brand online, opened her flagship store in New York’s Grand Central Terminal last summer.
  • Robin Lies of Burnell’s Fine Jewelry, who feels like a fairy godmother when she makes customers’ dreams come true in Wichita, KS.

Finally, of the many things I’ve learned researching stories for this issue, here are three key points to remember:

  • Always assume women who are in your store are both qualified and prepared to make a significant purchase on the spot. Act accordingly.
  • If women are pre-shopping engagement rings, recognize that how they are treated today will very strongly influence where the purchase is made tomorrow, next month or next year.
  • Always have mirrors, including full-length mirrors available. Jewelry is part of an overall look.

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

1. Send a bouquet of flowers on the birthday and anniversary of every woman customer who has spent over $3,000 in the last two years. (Manager’s To-Do, p. 28)
2. Collaborate with a high-end clothing boutique in town to offer jewelry makeover events. (The Big Story, p. 36)
3. To attract female buyers, develop an extensive library of reviews and comments. (Andrea Hill, p. 55)
4. Give online clients a reason to shop with you again by helping them identify other possibilities. (Kathleen Cutler, p. 56)
5. Have your sales staff research what, when and how their best 15 customers buy, and use this information to deliver more personalized service. (Manager’s To-Do, p. 28)

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Editor's Note

Stuck in a Rut? Take the Advice of Nike, and ‘Just Do It’

Our editor-in-chief’s favorite strategy to move from knowing to doing is “ready-fire-aim.”

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ARE YOU stuck?

As a writer, I know the feeling. The colloquial term is “writer’s block,” but the truth is that one can’t find the right word, the right metaphor, the right way to begin, or maybe even the right idea.

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For business owners, it can be similar to get “stuck” when you know you need to start a particular initiative, but you don’t know exactly how, so you put it off and go about business as usual. The problem is that your business suffers if the initiative is never initiated.

That’s why we asked our resident research buff, group managing editor Chris Burslem, to put together this issue’s lead story on how to bridge the gap between knowing and doing. Chris is a voracious reader, and he has pulled tips from the latest books on how business owners can best move from theory to execution.

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My favorite is the concept of “ready-fire-aim.” When you’re not sure how to start, it’s best to just start somewhere, with the knowledge that you’ll revise your plan as you go. Digital strategy seems to be the area that is causing the most headaches for jewelry retailers at the moment.

Those who are willing to constantly fine-tune or even make radical changes are the ones who are finding the most success online.

When you know you need to make a change, take the advice of Nike: just do it!

Trace Shelton

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

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

1. Preplan your front window displays and themed in-store displays for each selling season. (Manager’s To-Do, p. 26)
2. For idea generation, use brainwriting, wherein participants rotate between eight-minute individual writing sessions and three-minute group sessions to read over each other’s ideas. (The Big Story, p. 34)
3. Break your staff into groups and rotate store responsibilities each week. (Ask INSTORE, p. 58)
4. When planning your marketing for the year, come up with promotions to boost sales in slow months. (Andrea Hill, p. 52)
5. Post pics to social media of any pet dogs that visit your store. (Do You or Don’t You, p. 61)

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Editor's Note

For Jewelry Retailers, Being With Family Often Means Being At Work

But most say they enjoy spending so much time with relatives.

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FOR MOST PEOPLE, the holiday season means spending time with family. For most independent jewelry retailers, the holiday season means spending a whole whole lot of time with family.

That’s because being in the jewelry business frequently means being in the family business, with retail stores passed on from generation to generation. Brothers, sisters, cousins, in-laws, parents and grandparents all work together on a daily basis.

The average layperson might think that these jewelry families would be at each other’s throats since they’re around each other so often. But we’ve found that most in jewelry retail say they not only work well with family members, they enjoy it.

That’s why we thought it would be fun (and instructive) to do a photo essay on jewelry retailers who work with family members. Now, the story is not exhaustive by any means! After all, since you’re reading this, there’s a decent chance that you work with at least one relative yourself. But in reading about other families who work together in a small business like your own, we hope you’ll see yourself in them — and hopefully pick up some tips to improve relations in your own store along the way.

Being part of a family isn’t always easy. But being part of a family that also works together can be especially stressful — although many of you make it look easy. We hope your family has a fabulous holiday season, and we’ll see you on the other side of the new year!

Trace Shelton

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

 

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

1. Launch three new Pinterest pages: Last-minute gift ideas for her; Last-minute gift ideas for him; Gift ideas under $100. (Manager’s To-Do, p. 28)
2. Post photos of two best-selling jewelry pieces on Facebook each day, one when you open and the other around 3 p.m. (Manager’s To-Do, p. 28)
3. Limit the number of pieces that can be presented to a customer to between one and three pieces of jewelry or watches at a time, and post signage of this policy. (Ask INSTORE, p. 52)
4. Add one or two new descriptive words to your sales presentation, and then add more as you become comfortable with them. (Ask INSTORE, p. 54)
5. Always include some of the relevant search keywords you determined for your business in your social media posts. (Maccaroni, p. 53)

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