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Las Vegas 2018
Buying Guide

Customers are beating doors down for this trending jewelry.

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So you want your client to feel at home in your store. You’ve got the space; you’ve got the staff. But just how welcoming is your jewelry selection? If you have old jewelry squatting in your showcases as if it were living in rent-controlled apartments, now’s the time to evict it and bring in more compelling product — the kind that will attract visitors. With the Las Vegas shows happening this month, there won’t be a better moment to ditch the old and bring in some new, exciting offerings. Here are the hot sellers and trending jewelry that your clients will want to take home, as well as expansion categories from which you can build to even greater heights.


Rose Gold

In the Pink

What was once a special order has now established itself as a superlative staple. Rose gold’s warm glow has found its way into everything from fashion jewelry to the height of haute couture design. This pretty metal isn’t going anywhere anytime soon. Your customers will expect you to have rose gold on hand, and you should be ready. 

Suneera

18K rose gold necklace with diamonds (1.00 TCW).

$5,520

(310) 598-5010, suneera.com

Sig Ward Jewelry

18K rose gold cuff bracelet with gray mother of pearl (10.00 TCW) and diamonds (0.40 TCW).

$6,740

(310) 871-5360, sigwardjewelry.com 

Noam Carver

14K rose gold engagement ring setting with 26 round diamonds (center stone not included).

$1,599

(866) 214-7464, noamcarver.com 

Adel Chefridi

18K rose gold earrings with diamonds.

$1,650

(845) 684-5185, chefridi.com 

Christopher Designs

14K rose gold ring with a L’Amour Crisscut diamond (0.81 TCW) and round diamonds (0.74 TCW).

$7,388

(800) 955-0970, christopherdesigns.com

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Word Jewelry

Wear Your Truth

These talismanic pieces literally make a statement. Each one proudly proclaims a motto or value important to the wearer, offering reassurance, empowerment, inspiration or comfort. It can be easier for customers to make an emotional connection with these pieces because they’re not just buying an accessory; they’re investing in their personal identity.

Eden Presley

14K yellow gold bracelet.

$1,600

(917) 952-7667, edenpresley.com

Lulu and Shay

14K yellow gold ring with sapphire, opal, amethysts, emerald, and diamond.

$2,850

(917) 523-8828, luluandshay.com

DRU Jewelry

14K gold medallion necklace with rubies and black diamonds.

$2,695

(310) 980-4257, drujewelry.com

Chamilia

Sterling silver breakaway charm set with black enamel. 

$60

(401) 463-2755, chamilia.com

Nora Kogan

Sterling silver ring with enamel.

$180

norakogan.com

Statement Earrings

Go Big or Go Home

Statement earrings have returned, first gracing the lobes of mega-celebrities and then spreading to the wider ranks of everyday jewelry lovers. Statement earrings’ blatant, unapologetic exuberance is joyful — a mood that fits perfectly into the current cultural moment. There’s sure to be a pair of statement earrings that expresses what each of your customers wants their ears to say. 

Les Georgettes

Earrings in yellow gold finish with Perspex.

$79

(718) 360-2917, lesgeorgettes.com

Gurhan

22K yellow gold earrings with faceted orange and yellow sapphire briolettes.

$4,995

(646) 795-1212, gurhan.com

Goshwara

18K yellow gold earrings with mother of pearl abalone shell and black diamonds.

$4,200

(212) 937-9727, goshwara.com

Frederic Duclos

Sterling silver and rose-gold-plated earrings.

$223

(866) 898-3636, fredericduclos.com

We Dream in Colour

Brass earrings with sterling silver posts.

$200

(978) 594-1425, wedreamincolour.com

Stiletto Earrings

Get in Line

Whether their design is flexible or firm, these long, lean face-framing lovelies add a dash of lengthening elegance to any look. Light and universally flattering, stiletto earrings are a great pick for anyone looking to update their look without getting too crazy. Start small for shy shoppers or go straight to the major dangles for those who seem amenable to daring designs.

Melissa Kaye

18K yellow gold earrings with diamonds (1.41 TCW).

$8,250

(917) 573-0388, melissakayejewelry.com

Rebecca Myers Design

18K yellow gold and oxidized sterling silver earrings with white diamonds and raw yellow diamonds.

$2,875

(800) 575-4569, rebeccamyersdesign.com

Susanne Klevorick

14K yellow gold earrings with Akoya and freshwater pearls.

$3,200

(646) 662-2110, susanneklevorick.com

Bellarri

14K white gold earrings with blue topaz.

$2,970

(800) 255-0192, bellarri.com

IO Collective

18K yellow gold earrings with tourmaline, sapphires, and diamonds (0.14 TCW).

$4,200

(646) 847-9098, iocollective.co

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Dark Romance

That Old Black Magic

Fantastical themes in jewelry aren’t new, but for the past few years they’ve leaned towards the sugary. Now we’re seeing a shift from everything nice to a darker spice; more sultry and spiritual. Think mystical fortune-tellers, Ouija boards, a sisterhood of modern witches dancing under the full moon. Too soulful to be categorized as goth, these designs are bold, eerie and utterly compelling.

Shelley Cavanaugh

18K yellow gold necklace with rubellite (11.40 TCW).

$4,225

(503) 756-4950, shelleycavanaugh.com

Acanthus Jewelry

14K yellow gold necklace with dendritic agate and black diamonds.

$1,295

acanthusjewelry.com

Dana Bronfman

18K yellow and black rhodium-plated sterling silver earrings with black, white, and gray rose cut diamonds.

$2,925

(650) 269-1101, danabronfman.com

Susan Elnora

Sterling silver stud earrings.

$180

(612) 716-1561, susanelnora.com

Ricardo Basta Fine Jewelry

Silver and 18K yellow gold ring with rutilated quartz (65.45 TCW).

$4,600

(310) 278-4792, ricardobasta.com

Rainbow Brights

Vivid, Vivacious, & Varicolored

Colored gems were trending before Princess Eugenie revealed her Padparadscha engagement ring in January 2018. After the peachy-pink royal bauble’s debut, the public’s interest was piqued. Pinks and purples are hot commodities, as are traditional ROYGBIV rainbows and more abstract assemblages of variously hued stones. These cheerful choices are sure to delight any shopper with an appreciation for whimsy, especially millennials seeking an updated take on the classics.

Baker and Black

18K yellow gold ring with rubellite tourmaline, blue sapphire, and rhodolite garnet.

$4,500

info@bakerandblack.combakerandblack.com

Little H

14K yellow gold necklace with freshwater Edison button pearls, ruby, and amethyst.

$5,670

littlehjewelry.com

Eriness

14K yellow gold earrings with multicolored sapphires.

$895

orders@eriness.comeriness.com

Suzy Landa

18K yellow gold earrings with peridot, tourmaline, aquamarine, imperial topaz, yellow beryl, and diamonds.

$11,880

(212) 874-2346, suzylanda.com

Kelly Bello Design

14K yellow gold choker necklace with amethyst, rubellite, sapphire, yellow beryl, emerald, and aquamarine.

$1,100

(505) 730-6686, kellybellodesign.com

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Georgian Inspired

Not Lost But Gone Before

One could say that all design is informed by that which came before, but one particular time period is having a definite upswing in aesthetic influence. Demand for genuine antique Georgian jewelry has recently skyrocketed, but it’s not just the good old stuff that collectors covet. Contemporary designers are interpreting iconic 18th century motifs in inspiring new ways — memento mori, girandoles, acrostic messages, rose cuts, the ouroboros, and even lover’s eyes are once again in vogue.

Beloved NYC

18K rose gold locket bracelet with white enamel.

$7,400

(212) 498-9002, beloved.nycbeloved.nyc

Erica Molinari

Oxidized sterling silver lock necklace with 18K yellow gold and diamonds (1.19 TCW).

$7,315

ericamolinari.com

Ana Katarina

18K yellow gold necklace with hand-carved Brazilian agate cameo, sapphires (1.05 TCW), and diamonds (0.30 TCW).

$9,695

(617) 699-3714, anakatarina.com

Rahaminov Diamonds

18K rose gold ring with a round rose cut diamond (1.79 TCW), round rose cut diamonds (0.79 TCW), and white diamond melee (0.27 TCW).

$21,600

(213) 622-9866, rahaminov.com

Holly Dyment

14K black gold earrings with lapis, pink sapphire, and white diamonds.

$4,860

(212) 463-7950, musexmuse.com

Sculptural Styles

Wearable Abstractions

The appeal of sculptural jewelry comes from the same place as the return of statement earrings: it’s about embracing the desire to be seen. Sculptural jewelry can take so many forms that it’s hard to define precisely, but its hallmark is the willingness to occupy space, often in unexpected ways. 

Vitae Ascendere

18K rose, yellow, and white gold earrings.

$2,100

(415) 231-6999, vitae-ascendere.com

Elizabeth Garvin

Oxidized sterling silver and 18K gold cuff bracelet with diamonds (2.00 TCW).

$10,350

(212) 420-9470, elizabethgarvinfine.com

Karin Jacobson Design

18K yellow gold and recycled oxidized silver earrings with peridot and diamonds.

$2,166

(612) 875-5788, karinjacobson.com

Julie Cohn

Bronze earrings.

$495

(214) 415-1792, juliecohndesign.com

Kelim Jewelry Design

925 sterling silver necklace.

$390

(301) 448-7367, kelimjewelry.com

Digital Art Deco

Not Your Grandmother’s Geometry

The irresistible Art Deco era has inspired many a jeweler, but this particular subset of designs takes that classic, crisp 1920s geometry in a slightly different direction. These designs integrate the distinctly deco concepts of clean lines and negative space and infuse the aesthetic with a fresh, almost futuristic feeling of slight abstraction that elevates the entire concept to a new level. 

Cat Janiga Jewelry

Sterling silver ring with 22K yellow gold and amethyst.

$257

(416) 454-6522, catjaniga.com

Gigi Ferranti Jewelry

14K yellow gold earrings with diamonds (0.60 TCW) and emeralds (0.96 TCW).

$5,500

(718) 251-1614, gigiferrantijewelry.com

V Jewellery

Rhodium-plated 925 sterling silver necklace with 18K yellow gold plate, cubic zirconia, black enamel, and synthetic emerald.

$121.50

+44 (0) 121 329 3113, vjewellery.co.uk

Just Jules

14K white gold engagement ring with emerald cut diamond (0.90 TCW) and full cut and kite shape diamond sides (0.40 TCW).

$9,270

(480) 860-6211, justjules.com

Irthly Adornments

18K yellow gold earrings with labradorite (3.40 TCW) and diamonds (0.23 TCW).

$2,500

(949) 478-4591, irthly.com

Neck Mess

There Ain’t No Rules

Necklace layering isn’t a new trend, but it’s evolved recently from its usual dainty, careful arrangements into something gloriously chaotic and daring. The “neck mess” approach to layered necklaces is intentionally rumpled, often involving multiple chunky pieces and dangling charms twined together or connected in texturally interesting ways. Bold chains, charm holders, and connector pieces like padlocks are integral. Search the hashtag #neckmess on Instagram to see hundreds. 

Delphine Leymarie Fine Jewelry

18K yellow gold chain and charm holder (charms not included).

$1,240 (chain), $359 (charm holder)

(212) 537-5769, delphineleymarie.com

Judi Powers

Natural beryl crystal necklace with 14K white gold and sapphire clasp.

$4,560

(718) 571-9049, judipowersjewelry.com

Pyrrha

Sterling silver charm holder necklace (charms not included).

$163

(877) 479-7742, pyrrha.com

Marla Aaron

18K yellow gold chain, lock, and box charm inlaid with lapis.

$30,000

marlaaaron.com

Pamela Froman Fine Jewelry

18K yellow gold necklace with rubellite (16.72 TCW), Australian boulder opal (3.81 TCW), diamonds (0.34 TCW), watermelon tourmaline nuggets and sliced beads.

$27,100

(323) 954-7436, pamelafroman.com

Hair Jewelry

Crowning Glory

You have a client who’s just not inspired. They’re suffering from bracelet boredom, earring ennui, and ring reluctance. Perhaps you could draw this lost soul’s attention to the potential of their unadorned noggin. Haute headwear isn’t just for music festivals and royal weddings anymore. If they’re not ready to go full tiara, embellished headbands and bejeweled barrettes are a great way to channel one’s inner royalty in the day to day. 

Namjosh

Black fabric headband with sequins and sparkling stones.

$45

namjosh.com

Mrs. President & Co.

Barrette with crystal.

$88

(213) 689-8889, mrspresidentandco.com

Hushed Commotion

Headband with crystal accents.

$275

(347) 549-9709, hushedcommotion.com

Jennifer Behr

Bobby pin with Swarovski crystal.

$128

(718) 360-1875, jenniferbehr.com

JY Jewels and Our Lady of Leisure Millinery

Satin-wrapped headband with cerise and white crystals in rose gold dipped settings.

$499

+61 407 358 368, jyjewels.com

Jewelry Storage

Graduate from the Sock Drawer

Any true jewelry collector knows that what you do with your treasures when they’re not on your body is vital to your jewels’ accessibility and safety. Who hasn’t lost an earring to the edge of a table or tangled chains together on a dresser top? Offering your customers a selection of jewelry storage options alongside your regular merchandise gives you the potential for some great add-on sales and offers window shoppers a solid reason to come into your store even on days when they’re not intending to buy jewelry. 

The Painted Press

Clay and liquid gold jewelry dish.

$15

thepaintedpress.com

WOLF 1834

Leather case with built in mirror, LusterLoc anti-tarnish lining, and snap closure with gold finish.

$149

(310) 473-0012, wolf1834.com

Modern Mud

Earthenware dish with 22K gold accents.

$48

(516) 318-2271, modernmudstudio.com

Splendid Music Box Co.

Hand-crafted Italian inlaid musical jewelry box with lined jewelry compartment.

$250

(212) 532-9304, splendidmusicbox.com

Hudson and Bleecker

Jewelry case with vegan saffino leather, velour lining, and light gold accents.

$39

(646) 912-9286, hudsonandbleecker.com

BRAIN SQUAD TREND PREDICTIONS

Peer Review

We asked our Brain Squad: What do you think will be the breakout category this holiday season?

Rolling With Gold

Still finding yellow gold organic styles interesting. Fancy garnets are hot, spinels and zircons exciting. Brenda Newman, The Jewelry Source, El Segundo, CA

East Fourth Street

Earrings in 14K recycled yellow gold with fair-trade marquise-cut rhodolite garnets.

$1,380

eastfourthstreet.com

Mysterious Gems

Phenomenon gems: cat’s eyes, stars and chatoyancy, opalescents and all the mystical allure that goes with them. Laura Pool, Laura’s Jewelry Designs, St. Robert, MO

Amali Jewelry

18K yellow gold woven bracelet with Ethiopian opals.

$1,190

amalijewelry.com

Lab Specimens

We are seeing a huge uptick in synthetic requests for engagement rings … colored gems and diamonds. I think the market will continue in that direction! Jennifer Farnes, Revolution Jewelry Works, Colorado Springs, CO

MaeVona

14K white gold engagement ring with a 1.00-carat lab-created diamond center stone.

$5,135

maevona.com

Mixing Metals

Gold/white mixed pieces are becoming the thing. Steven Wardle, Forest Beach Design, Chatham, MA

Sia Taylor

Necklace in 18k yellow, rose, and white gold with 22K gold, 24K gold and platinum.

$2,300

siataylor.com

 

Becky Stone writes about jewelry styles for INSTORE. She is founder and CEO of well-known jewelry blog Diamonds in the Library.

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Wilkerson Testimonials

When It’s Time for Something New, Call Wilkerson

Fifty-four years is a long time to stay in one place. So, when Cindy Skatell-Dacus, owner of Skatell’s Custom Jewelers in Greenville, SC decided to move on to life’s next adventure, she called Wilkerson. “I’d seen their ads in the trade magazines for years,’ she says, before hiring them to run her store’s GOB sale. It was such a great experience, Skatell-Dacus says it didn’t even seem like a sale was taking place. Does she have some advice for others thinking of a liquidation or GOB sale? Three words, she says: “Wilkerson. Wilkerson. Wilkerson.”

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Cover Stories

THE INSTORE DESIGN AWARDS 2019 – Winners Announced!

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Jewelry design is the lifeblood of our industry, and those on its forefront are constantly challenging the status quo, pushing boundaries in creativity and wowing jewelry lovers with their skill and passion. These are the creators we seek to honor with the INSTORE Design Awards.

For 2019, we expanded our categories from eight to 25, allowing designers more freedom to enter the best category for each piece. And we received more than 171 entries as a result. In order to determine the best of the best, we recruited a judges panel composed of nine retailers, all of whose businesses carry multiple designer lines, to vote on their favorite jewelry in a “blind voting” process. We also opened voting to all North American jewelry retailers online at instoremag.com, where more than 9,300 votes were cast to decide the “Retailer’s Choice” winner in each category.

And finally, as we have since our competition began, we recognize one up-and-coming designer who embodies the inventive spirit so long encouraged by our former colleague Cindy Edelstein, who passed away in 2016.

Now, turn the page and see the very best that our industry has to offer. Who knows, maybe you’ll find your next hot-selling line right here in this story!

Best Men’s Jewelry

Best Statement Piece

THE JUDGES

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Cover Stories

3 Simple Ways a “Good-Better-Best” Display Can Make You More Money

The success of these pricing strategies has been proven beyond dispute.

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The success of thoughtfully implemented “Good-Better-Best” (G-B-B) pricing strategies has been proven beyond dispute. Look around. Airlines offer coach class seats with variable options. Allstate offers auto batteries with warranties ranging from 12-48 months at prices that vary disproportionately. Heating oil suppliers sell plans based on a monthly fluctuating rate as well as a “premium” package in which the rate is fixed for the season.

I read a recent article in the Harvard Business Review (“The Good-Better-Best Approach to Pricing,” by Rafi Mohammed) that made me wonder why retail jewelers were not taking full advantage of this strategy in their stores.

Twenty years ago, Allstate conducted research to determine just how much price really mattered to their insurance customers. They learned that drivers are very concerned that if they are involved in an auto accident, their rates will go up. They introduced three new policy levels to add to their “Standard” level policy. They have a “Basic” policy at 5 percent below “Standard,” a “Gold” policy (6 percent higher price), and a “Platinum” level policy (15 percent higher price). Last year, only 10 percent of their customers downgraded to “Basic,” while a whopping 23 percent upgraded from “Standard” to “Gold” or “Platinum.”

So what can we do in a retail jewelry store to take advantage of this tendency of consumers to move up in price when given attractive options?

Implementing a “Good-Better-Best” plan in your store has three benefits. One, it can entice new and existing customers to spend more. Two, it allows you to compete directly with lower-priced competitors, including Internet shops. And three, a G-B-B strategy will change your customers’ actions through consumer psychology.

Successfully offering a G-B-B option depends on the following considerations:

  1. The price level of the “Good” option should be no more than 25 percent below the price of the “Better” option. The “Best” option should be no more than 50 percent higher than the “Better” option. For example, if we have a $1,000 “Better” item, the “Good” option should be about $800, and the “Best” option about $1,400.
  2. There should be a perceived important difference between the “Good” and “Better” options that motivate the customer to opt up for the “Better” selection. Limit the number of features in your “Good” option to improve the perceived value of the “Better” option.
  3. Each option should be explained in four attributes that differentiate it from the lower-priced option.
  4. Signage should clearly explain the differences and costs of each option. Name each option intelligently. Don’t use descriptions that confuse the merchandise. There is nothing wrong with simply using “Good, Better, Best.”

When you are determining the price points for your G-B-B offerings, consult your “inventory performance by category” report in your inventory management software. This will tell you the average selling price of your current sales for each different category and style of merchandise. Your goal is obviously to sell more at higher prices, so consider a price about 10 percent higher than your current average sale as your “Better” option. For example, if your average diamond stud earring sale is $1,000 now, make your price points $899, $1,099 and $1,399.

Retail jewelers should benefit from the thoughtful implementation of the G-B-B principles. Here are some display suggestions for your store.

Diamond stud earrings and anniversary bands

Offer three grades of earrings in the most popular styles. The differences in stud earring prices are obviously predicated by diamond size and quality as well as mounting material.
Start with 14K white gold mountings with round diamonds in sizes ranging from one-eighth, one-quarter, one-third, one-half, three-quarters and one-carat sizes. Develop a source (internally or externally) that can provide three different qualities in all six sizes. Obtain a display arrangement that allows the three qualities and sizes to be shown with descriptions, as well as prices and monthly payment options. Add signage that explains each of the four differentiating points between the qualities offered. Put in place a reorder procedure that quickly refills the empty space when sales occur.

Bridal

Make your most popular styles of engagement rings (halos, solitaires, sets, three-stone, etc.) and create a display with a G-B-B variation of each in a single tray. If you can, include several of these in each showcase. If you can direct your customer to those trays, you stand a better chance of easily up-selling the customer to a bigger size. Feature payment amounts to make it easier for your staff to sell up.

I am a big believer in organizing your bridal showcase by style, not by vendor brand (unless it is a very recognizable national brand) or diamond size. That is how your customer shops. With all your halo choices collected together in a single part of the showcase, you’ll find it much easier to move up in price and keep your customer from having to visit several showcases in order to see your selection.

Other merchandise

Follow this same strategy. Choose your most popular designs and identify what you can do to that item to be able to sell it at 25 percent less. Maybe it is a smaller stone or a metal change to silver. Make that new item your “Good” selection. Now revisit the original piece and ask what you can add to the design to make it worth 25 percent more. Make that your “Best” choice, and display them all together with prices and payments.

If you are successful with such a strategy, it could make both your customer and you very happy. Your store would be easier for your customer to shop, and your inventory could shrink to fewer pieces offered since your sales are more concentrated in your G-B-B offerings.

Give it a try and see what happens to your average sale. If it works, expand it. If it doesn’t, try something else. Be sure you track the results of your efforts to know what has worked and what has not.

Retail jewelry is hard enough without leaving money on the table when the customer is already in your store and poised to buy. Implementing this strategy might just move your results from “Good” to “Better” to “Best.”

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E-Commerce for Everyone: Let Your Customers Buy Something Where & When They Want To

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E-commerce has been vilified by many independent retail jewelers as an under-cutting, price-conscious evil entity intent on stealing hard-earned business from brick-and-mortar stores while ripping their profit margins to shreds.

At this point, though, it’s more or less a matter of if you can’t beat them the way you’ve been operating, you’d better consider joining them.

It’s time to rethink e-commerce as a viable option for you, the independent brick-and-mortar-based jeweler, but also to understand what it takes in dollars and time to drive traffic to a website, says Ben Smithee, digital-marketing expert and CEO of The Smithee Group. The big online players didn’t get where they are without investing considerable time and money into marketing, social media and search-engine optimization.

In other words, simply enabling e-commerce is not like flipping a switch and watching the money pour in. Instead, imagine you’re opening a second store. How much planning and preparation would you put into that? You’d work with a store designer. You’d hire more staff. You’d invest in advertising.

“Most people grossly underestimate what it takes for advertising to send people to the site,” Smithee says. “A lot of them expect to have overnight sales. Start with realistic expectations — they should be thinking about selling one, two, three things a week or a month to start and ramping up from there. Without realistic expectations, they will decide it doesn’t work and will quit,” Smithee says.

Independent jewelers like Tim Wright of Simply Unique Jewelry Designs in Yorktown, VA, have been reluctant converts in recent years. Wright says he realized in the past year that his company has to be searchable and sell its wares online. If not, he says, “We will go away like other independents in our area.”

It took time for Wright to wrap his head around the idea. “I cannot imagine people ordering jewelry, especially our one-of-a-kind pieces, off the Internet, but we are working on a new website to be more searchable and to be able to sell off of it. The basics we all have survived on over the years are not selling in the store anymore because of the Internet.”

Shane O’Neill, vice-president of Fruchtman Marketing, advises independent jewelers to temper their expectations when they turn to e-commerce.

Most jewelers are not going to see significant amounts of e-commerce, he says, because the marketing perspective is much different between traditional stores and online stores. “If they are marketing around a 20-mile radius, we still know that people want to touch and feel the jewelry,” says O’Neill. Plus the data that millennials don’t shop in stores isn’t necessarily true. They shop in bigger numbers than Gen X or baby boomers do. But they shop online with the idea of browsing and checking out pricing, and so they expect a shopping experience with all of the details revealed, O’Neill says.

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The preparation it takes to be ready for e-commerce almost certainly will result in increased sales in the store.

“They probably have checked all the boxes in terms of a good user experience, descriptions, photos, categories of metal type and have galleries of multiple products,” O’Neill says. “When someone comes to the website and they have the ability to have a great browsing experience, they make purchasing decisions based on that. When they stop in the store, you should have a higher closing rate. To me, that’s an e-commerce transaction, too.”

The website should be like your second store, O’Neill says, in terms of how you relate to the customer online: “How you flow people through your site is like what a sales associate does in the store.”

For Janne Etz of Contemporary Concepts in Cocoa, FL, e-commerce has grown steadily over the past two years from 35 percent of her business to a solid 50 percent. “You have to pay serious attention to it,” she says. “It is not a set-it-and-forget-it operation. What works with e-commerce this month will evolve into something else next month. It’s a constant learning process. I continue to study and learn and implement the newest techniques, so I can continue to grow!”

Stephenie Bjorkman of Sami Fine Jewelry in Fountain Hills, AZ, says an e-commerce-enabled website seems like a huge project, and it can be. But start somewhere, she says. “Just do it, or just do something,” she says. “Get ready to flip that switch. Take on little bits and pieces at a time and set goals. I am so far from anywhere near where I want to be, but my marketing department and I sat down and made a monthly calendar so that we could plan all of our marketing, social media, blogs etc.” Bjorkman’s team also worked on posting pieces for sale in groups of 24 at a time.

If even this seems like too much, start with making time for your own social media. Friend your top 100 clients and start from there.

“I think you need to make a plan, then work your plan,” Bjorkman says. “You can begin by doing this in the evening when you get home. Or have one of your employees spend an hour a day on it. The first step is that every day you should be posting on social media. Post real pictures and start creating your online image. Connect your posts to your website and tell them how to buy.”


Borsheims

E-Commerce Continues to Evolve in an Omni-Channel World

Borsheims of Omaha, NE, has been selling online since 1998 and today has seven associates dedicated to e-commerce.

“We’ve seen tremendous growth in the channel,” says Adrienne Fay, director of marketing and business sales — a 40 percent increase year over year in online sales for the past two years. This year that trend continued with a huge lift in January and February. The e-commerce staff is involved in navigation, digital photography, answering questions and virtually holding hands as needed. They also fulfill the orders — 99.9 percent of the inventory is in the store already.

In March 2018, the company introduced a new website that made online purchases easier on all devices, while updating their ring-builder tool to make it both more user-friendly and more luxurious-looking, says Andrew Brabec, director of e-commerce. “A lot of our customers will utilize their mobile device first and then make a purchase on their desktop. They prefer the process on the mobile device; it’s easier, faster.” Chat is used more than ever by customers looking for a promo code or to ask a quick question, but few purchases take much hand-holding.
One reason for that is that the new website is designed to anticipate questions that shoppers might have. Photographing jewelry items next to coins, for example, allows customers to gauge the size of the piece quickly and easily. “The main questions we get are: What size is this? And how does it look on someone?” Brabec says. One goal is to provide more views of each product.

“We try to replicate our customer service online,” says Fay. “It’s a strategic investment. We look at shoppers in an omni-channel fashion. Not as an e-commerce customer, not as a store customer. Simply a customer. We want to be able to knock their socks off in all channels.”

Shoppers who convert to online sales represent a wide demographic — established customers, gift shoppers, fine jewelry shoppers. Average order fluctuates, but recently it was $263. “We definitely have sold items that retail in the tens of thousands. Not every day, but it’s not unusual,” Fay says. Customers log in from all over the U.S. and the world; international checkout is available with exact pricing.

What’s next? Borsheims is testing out products to provide shoppers with 360-degree views of products, a technology that is increasingly common in other industries. Another huge goal is to get 97 percent of their products visible online; currently that number is about 74 percent. “We want to see more items in the cart, too, so we’re working on ways to up-sell in the cart by showing related products,” Brabec says. “In addition, we are going to evaluate pages to make them faster and more effective.”

The year 2020 represents Borsheims 150th anniversary. “And you don’t survive that long if you don’t evolve and grow and roll with the punches,” Fay says. “We used to say we at Borsheims are going to tell you as customers what you need to buy. Now we respond to what they are looking for with content and expertise and education.”


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Ringcrush

Growing Fast on Etsy

Bailey Lehrer founded Ringcrush, a start-up online jewelry store, selling $30 to $60 jewelry items on Etsy. She started the business with $700 and turned a profit immediately.
“We were able to grow in two years really quickly,” Lehrer says. “I did a little under $1 million on Etsy and another $300,000 on Amazon. It made sense for me to start up online. Etsy is really friendly to people who want to experiment.”

Lehrer says that while high-end diamond solitaires aren’t the norm on Etsy, moissanite rings are moving fast, as are other non-traditional types of diamond engagement rings, usually with an artisan design or a unique setting. “Etsy is primarily for 25- to 35-year-old women,” she says. “A lot of them still want that look and they can swap out the stone later. One of the most popular rings looks like a hand-carved band with a diamond solitaire in the center.”

Bailey Lehrer, founder of Ringcrush

The process of opening a shop on Etsy is easy, Lehrer says, because they hold your hand through the whole process. Still, there’s more to it than just opening. “You have to understand your competition and price point. It can be cutthroat with common items, and there are people from other countries selling items with razor-thin margins. You need something unique. That way you can raise your price.”

Her point of differentiation is pieces of raw gemstones. “So I still focus on precious stones like emerald and sapphire, but I’m able to sell them at $60 because I get them uncut. They’re still blue if it’s a sapphire; still green if it’s emerald. It’s kind of a unique aesthetic, so it’s easy to stand out.”

Another thing to keep in mind, Lehrer says, is that there is clear evidence shoppers will convert to making a purchase if the product is photographed on a white background. “Know how to take great pictures,” she says.


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Mullen Bros.

They Want to Be Your Local Jeweler, No Matter Where You Are

Bob Mullen is owner and founder of Digital Jewelers Academy, as well as an owner of the family business, Mullen Bros. Jewelers in Swansea, MA.

For several years, Mullen and his family pondered the “what ifs” and the concerns they imagined would come with e-commerce while they experimented with product catalogs on their website. “What about stock? What about if we sell things that are sold out? What about fraud? But it’s like having children: If you wait till you’re ready, you’re never going to do it.” In 2014, they began selling online through Shopify and realized $100,000 in revenue the first year.

“In terms of problems, the same things that I thought in my mind would be problems DID happen, but it was not that big of a deal to overcome them. In terms of inventory, it was about keeping things on the site that would be accessible and in stock, unless it’s something like bridal. We only work with designers who have products available that we can get quickly.
“Like anything else, there is no one thing that made it happen. It’s like Jim Collins wrote in the book Good To Great. You build momentum, and it gets easier and easier. It’s the trial and error of learning our audience, learning what they respond to, and looking at Google Analytics.”

Now Mullen, a marketing major in college, is working with other retailers on e-commerce goals. Digital Jewelers Academy, in partnership with Gemsone, administers a private Facebook group with instructional videos and an online posting service. “It’s about e-commerce, creating engaging content, Facebook ads, email strategy, website conversion.”

How much time does e-commerce take? “If you’re budgeting 10 to 15 hours a week of someone’s time, you can make a lot of progress if you know what you’re doing. You can be much more efficient in three hours knowing what you’re doing than 10 hours wandering around.”

Bob Mullen, owner and founder of Digital Jewelers Academy

“The No. 1 question I’m asked is regarding differences in inventory and pricing between the website and physical store. A lot of jewelers feel like they should treat the website like a separate store with lower prices to attract business. But unless you’re trying to build a nine-figure company, you should target a customer most like your own.

Mullen’s average ticket online is around $600, which is higher than in his store. “Our biggest sale was $17,000 and it goes down to $99 here and there. The sweet spot, like anything in jewelry sales, is $200 or $300. But the idea that people are just going online and plunking down 10 grand is a myth.”

The key to success is to provide the same level of service you do in your store. “In my opinion, I can service people a lot better than whoever is manning the call center at Blue Nile,” says Mullen. “You can sell an engagement ring in 10 minutes or have multiple visits over four hours in the store; online, it might take three to six emails. It’s about being proactive and being prompt about responding when people email.”

Local limits mean little when it comes to e-commerce, Mullen contends. “People respond nationally to the same things people respond to locally. Our industry loses 1,000 stores a year. When their jeweler closes, people have to go online or find another local store. More and more people are going online as a result, and are happy to work with a local jeweler, wherever you are. Meet them where they are.”


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SAMI’S FINE JEWELRY

“We Are Definitely on Our Way to Our Goal”

Last year, Stephenie Bjorkman of Sami’s Fine Jewelry decided that her website and online sales needed to be a priority. But she also knew it was tough, if not impossible, to find time to own the store, work with vendors, manage employees, pay bills, oversee marketing and launch e-commerce.
So she hired one person and then a second person to make it happen.

Stephenie Bjorkman of Sami’s Fine Jewelry

“The only way I could do this was to have a dedicated person to take pics, write descriptions, update events, blogs, social media and more. What is really scary is that I see such an importance in this job, I have already hired her an assistant.”

It hasn’t necessarily “worked” just yet, says Bjorkman. But it is working. “Since I hired devoted staff members, I have seen a 30 percent increase in online sales, along with tons of daily mentions in the store. All of this proves that in the end, having a marketing person is well worth it.”

Online, Bjorkman sells branded items, including her own Animal Rockz line, a custom sterling-silver line of jewelry available in 38 different pet breed varieties. “My store is full of animal lovers, so this is easy for us to be passionate about. We seem to sell at least one of these a day. Prices range from $35-$60 plus shipping. The magic numbers seem to be in the $250-$500 average range. But, with that said, I sold a $30,000 diamond off my website and a $25,000 estate diamond from my e-blast.”

Sales are considered and tracked as “online sales” if everything is done online.

“If you do sell it 100 percent online, you need to handle them like any other client. Answer quickly, make them feel special. We do chat by phone, by social media messengers, text them, and even send them videos. It is a lot of work, but the good news is that it works.

“Our e-commerce actual sales do not currently represent a large amount of my overall business. A two-year goal for me is to sell as much as having a second store. E-commerce also represents the best type of marketing you can do for your business. Long before you advertise in a newspaper, magazine, etc., you should take time to do your online marketing, social media, e-blasts and blogs.”

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