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Tip Sheet

Tip Sheet: March 2014

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MARKETING Mingle Digitally

Supermarket News reported recently on wine departments doing dinners and other educational events via Skype with wellknown vintners and chefs. So, the next time jewelry’s equivalent of Tyler Florence can’t make it to your store for a trunk show, roll out a big screen, hook up to the Net and let your customers mingle digitally with your industry name. Or perhaps you can just offer jewelry-wearing tips via Skype yourself. The mix of technology appeals especially to younger clients, says Supermarket News.

Fashionista Boost

A lesson in how to generate publicity from Robbins Brothers: Towards the end of last year, ahead of the fall fashion season, the Los Angeles-based chain invited fashion and beauty editors from The Knot, Houston Chronicle, cosmopolitan.com and others to review its “Fashionista” collection of popular engagement rings. The result was a plethora of positive press about rings, brands and current fashions. Are there influential bloggers in your area who might be interested in joining such a “Fashionista” panel to review your picks for the upcoming season?

Get Planning

In 2014, in-store events are one of the best ways for independent jewelers to differentiate themselves from online retailers, generate traffic and energy, build relationships, and show you’re human. They can also be a headache to organize. Speaking at The SMART Show Dallas last year, Jenny Caro of Jewelry By Design in Woodbridge, VA, told of how a simple thing — shifting from “seat of the pants” marketing to a yearlong calendar for events — had proved to be a huge stress reliever. It’s only March, get scheduling: Bridal event for the fall, designer trunk show for summer, loose diamond event.

FINANCESCyber Threats

The protections afforded consumers who use online banking are extensive. Even if your account is emptied, as long as you notified your bank promptly, you won’t be held responsible for the loss. Business accounts, however, are a different story: For the most part, banks aren’t on the hook in the event of cyber fraud. Security blogger Brian Krebs who broke the Target breach story, told BusinessWeek that the current laws leave him feeling so vulnerable he drives to his bank to deposit oldfashioned paper checks in person. When a strike on your checking account could possibly wipe your store out, you too may want to give paper a second thought.

Haggle and Save

One of the lessons of the Great Recession was that there are cost savings just about everywhere — if you are prepared to demand them. Don’t have time to negotiate? Billcutterz.com will do it for you. It haggles utility, Internet, cable, cellphone and trash bills for no starter fee. You and the site split the savings 50-50.

Not So Simple IRA?

Those SIMPLE IRA retirement plans popular with small-business owners may not be so simple after all. A review of retirement plans in USA Today suggests Savings Incentive Match Plans for Employees Individual Retirement Accounts could backfire by locking you into fixed contributions during a bad year when money’s tight. A better bet might be profit-sharing plans and SEPIRAs that give business owners the flexibility to contribute or not to their plans, the report said.

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GENERALOne Final Tip

In one of his last notes to INSTORE, Kirk Root, the owner of C. Kirk Root Designs in Austin, TX, told us he’d discovered the “best jewelry cleaner in the world” — hand sanitizer and a toothbrush. Root, who sadly passed away in January, said he made the discovery while doing appraisal work for the U.S. Marshals Service. “The jewelry was nasty and could not be removed from the room,” he said of his makeshift solution. “It’s a very simple process of dabbing on a glob and going to town with a toothbrush. Wipe off with a paper towel and you are done,” he said, adding that the cheap alcohol- based sanitizers work best.

Aim Small

Setting one simple, specific goal is the best way to cut your bad habits, finds Dutch research. While trying to curb unhealthy snacking, people who stuck to a single resolution lowered their caloric intake by 42 percent. But when the same people tried to implement three diet objectives, their calorie consumption shot back up to normal. The more goals you have, the less important each one seems and the more likely you are to ignore them, concluded the Utrecht University study.

Not Created Equal

All employees are not equal, and treating them as if they are leaves good employees feeling shortchanged and disengaged employees feeling entitled, says Trevor Wilson, an HR strategist and author of The Human Equity Advantage. “Acknowledge and reward employees who are going the extra mile and point out the ways they’re contributing that may not be quantifiable or part of their job description.”

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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