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Big Survey: These Jewelry Sales Pretty Much Sum Up the Past 3 Years

Retailers reveal their surprising sales feats and failures.

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Big Survey: These Jewelry Sales Pretty Much Sum Up the Past 3 Years

FOR BIG SURVEY 2018, we asked respondents to tell us about a sale that summed up the last three years for them.

Jewelers lamented shrinking diamond margins and celebrate unexpectedly large sales, and they revel in their customer-service skills when discussing defining moments. There were also big disappointments that seem to reflect the changing priorities of consumers: “A necklace we sold last week just came back for a refund because the customer told her husband she wanted a designer purse.”

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  • A customer wanted us to custom make her “death ring” — two penguins facing each other with a 1-carat heart-shaped diamond in the middle, set in platinum, to wear when she was buried. “No one in my family deserves it.” Now she wants to return it.
  • A guy drove over four hours to us to buy an engagement ring because he heard from a friend how well we treat customers.
  • A necklace we sold last week just came back for a refund because the customer told her husband she wanted a designer purse.
  • Return customer was ready to purchase high-ticket earrings but needed to get home to wire the funds (we are in a resort town), and when he got home, his wife was immediately hospitalized and he never finalized the sale. This has been our experience the last few years. I feel like I am in the twilight zone.
  • Spent three and a half hours with a couple looking for a custom set, educated them on the 4Cs. Drew sketches, calculated layaways and sold them a $70 silver set.
  • Sold two 2.5-carat diamond engagement rings. Made $2,000 on first sale and $4,000 on the second. The difference? Lab-grown diamond was the center of the second engagement ring.
  • Did eight CADs for a lady making her dream ring, and she decided against them all in the end and instead chose a ring in our case.
  • After three weeks the $10,000 diamond sale closed. We made $1,500. Can I do this and still make rent?
  • A client who had only bought batteries for her watches over the years decided she wanted 8-carat diamond studs.
  • A customer calling a Pandora CZ ring a diamond and after pointing out it was not, they said, “no difference.” Also, customers calling Alex and Ani silver-colored bracelets white gold.
  • We repaired simple items for a man who brought in his mother’s repairs. After five to 10 times, he said, “I live far but I’m here to buy an engagement ring because you never charged my mom and I want to give you the business.”
  • Just sold a 3.26-carat round brilliant diamond in a platinum mounting. To sum up my bridal business: Fewer, but more important sales.
  • A gentleman came in to check out engagement rings, looking at a quarter-carat max, but didn’t buy. He came in eight months later looking for a half-carat. Still unsure about marriage, he didn’t buy. He came in last spring and bought a nice 2.01-carat in a sweet platinum mount. He said it was kismet, that the perfect ring meant the time was right.
  • A customer told us he had been diagnosed with cancer and did not have long to live. Sad that he might not make it to his 55th anniversary, he ordered his wife a pearl necklace and asked if I could take it to her on their special day. He did die before their day, so I gave her the 55-pearl necklace and 55 roses. Sometimes I forget the only reason for our business is because someone loves someone. Nothing is better than that.

Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.

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Jaki Cowan, the owner of Sollberger’s in Ridgeland, MS, decided the time was right to close up shop. The experience, she says, was like going into the great unknown. There were so many questions about the way to handle the store’s going-out-of-business sale. Luckily for Cowan, Wilkerson made the transition easier and managed everything, from marketing to markdowns.

“They think of everything that you don’t have the time to think of,” she says of the Wilkerson team that was assigned to manage the sale. And it was a total success, with financial goals met by Christmas with another sale month left to go.

Wilkerson even had a plan to manage things while Covid-19 restrictions were still in place. This included limiting the number of shoppers, masking and taking temperatures upon entrance. “We did everything we could to make the staff and public feel as safe as possible.”

Does she recommend Wilkerson to other retailers thinking of retiring, liquidating or selling excess merchandise? Absolutely. “If you are considering going out of business, it’s obviously an emotional journey. But truly rest assured that you’re in good hands with Wilkerson.”

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