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Welcome to ‘Engagement Season,’ When Nearly 40% of Marriage Proposals Happen

WeddingWire surveyed 18,000 U.S. newlyweds.

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WELCOME TO “ENGAGEMENT SEASON,” the magical time between Thanksgiving Day and Valentine’s Day when nearly 40 percent of all marriage proposals take place.

According to WeddingWire’s 2018 Newlywed Report, Christmas Day is the most popular day of the year to pop the question, followed by Valentine’s Day, Christmas Eve, New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve.

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Interestingly, the WeddingWire survey of 18,000 U.S. newlyweds married in 2017 reveals a dramatic spike in proposals during the month of December. Throughout the rest of the year, the distribution of proposals during each month ranges from 7% to 9%. But, in December, that number rises to 16%.

Experts believe that the winter engagement phenomenon is attributed to two factors: the romantic nature of the season… and convenience. Suitors likely choose December to pop the question because they love the spirit of the holiday season. And, certainly, there’s no better time to propose than when all the family is in town to celebrate with the newly engaged couple.

Here’s a review of the Top 10 days of the year to get engaged, according to WeddingWire’s 2018 Newlywed Report:

1. Christmas Day. It’s the biggest day of the year for gift-giving, so it makes perfect sense that this, too, would be the biggest day to give the ultimate gift — a diamond engagement ring.

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2. Valentine’s Day. Cupid’s special day is all about love and expressing to that special someone just how much you care. Instead of delivering a bouquet of flowers or a box of chocolate, millions of romantic suitors opt for a proposal and a ring.

3. Christmas Eve. For the families who prefer to exchange gifts on Christmas Eve, this is the perfect time to add to the joyful holiday spirit by popping the question.

4. and 5. New Year’s Day and New Year’s Eve. We can’t imagine a better way to celebrate the New Year than with a surprise marriage proposal as the clock ticks down and 2018 makes way for 2019. Technically, if she says “Yes” before midnight, the engagement took place on New Year’s Eve, but if she says “Yes” after midnight, the engagement is credited to New Year’s Day.

6. December 23rd (Day Before Christmas Eve). In the same survey last year, 12/23 rated #9. We’re guessing that the ascent to #6 reflects more newly engaged couples choosing to get a jump on the holiday and avoiding Christmas Eve distractions that might take the focus off the bride and groom-to-be.

7. Two Saturdays Before Christmas Eve. It’s one of the biggest shopping days of the year. Might it be possible that the couples are out together, looking at engagement rings, making a selection and proposing on the spot?

8. Fourth of July (Independence Day). One of only two dates in the Top 10 that is outside the traditional “engagement season,” the Fourth of July — with festive fireworks and some time off from work — makes for a memorable day to pop the question.

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9. Saturday of Memorial Day Weekend. This day marks the official start of summer and a perfect day to propose. A Saturday engagement allows the couple to extend the celebration with family and friends over the long weekend.

10. Saturday Before Valentine’s Day. New to the WeddingWire Top 10, the Saturday before Valentine’s Day may reflect the couple’s desire to celebrate their engagement over a weekend and not necessarily on Valentine’s Day, which often comes up during the week (in 2018, February 14 was on a Wednesday) and is certainly not a day when most people have off. Popping the question on the weekend prior to Valentine’s Day also preserves the element of surprise.

Howard Cohen is the Shoreham, NY-based editor of The Jeweler Blog, a daily blog ghost-written for retail jewelers. Cohen, a long-time industry veteran, is dedicated to making social media tasks simple and affordable for every jeweler. For more information, visit thejewelerblog.com or contact Cohen at 631-821- 8867, hscohen60@gmail.com. Websites: thejewelerblog.com, thejewelerblog.wordpress.com.

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When Gene the Jeweler Speaks, His Employees Listen

In this episode of Jimmy DeGroot’s Gene the Jeweler series, Gene has a simple request for his employees. The good news is that they follow his instructions. The bad news is that they follow a bit too literally.

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David Geller

Why David Geller Says You Should Sell Lab-Grown Diamonds

You’re a merchant, so sell the customer what they want.

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ONE OF THE JEWELER pages on Facebook has been discussing whether a store should stock and sell lab-grown diamonds. The dad says no, while the millennial son says, “I think we should try it.” The reader vote is split about 50/50.

Can we talk about making a living here for a moment? And selling consumers what they want?

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Customers want to know their options and make their own decisions. Be their personal shopper.

I started in 1974 as a trade shop. I used to do work for a store at our mall, Wellington Jewels. I sized the gold rings they sold and set stones.

What stones? Strontium titanate. It’s a diamond simulant that has colors like an opal. Hardness on Mohs’ scale? About 5.5! But sparkle, oooh weeee!

The store was mostly black walls and showcases, with bright lights to make the stones pop. They made great money, and these are diamond look-alikes with the hardness of an opal. The mountings were 14K gold with real melee diamonds. They didn’t sell much fashion, which I told them was crazy, because a woman can only buy so many engagement rings.

I became friendly with the store manager and she agreed. So I ordered a dozen at a time in fashion mountings from a catalog, furnished the mountings and diamond melee, and she gave me center stones, which I set. They’d sell most of each dozen I gave them within five weeks.

So let’s talk profits on this product. All merchandise was quadruple markup.

They gave a lifetime warranty on these stones. If the stone scratched or chipped or fell out, they’d replace them for 50 percent of the price (so they still made keystone).

This was junk compared to lab-created diamonds. Remember: a lab-created diamond will last as long as the human does.

What about resale value? Well, they can’t get their money out of what they spent on your natural diamond, so try lab-created, make a better margin and keep that young person from buying it someplace else.

When you quote a price to a customer for anything, you may be thinking, “They aren’t talking. Maybe I should come down on the price. OMG I need to make payroll this Friday.”

They may be thinking: “Darn, my student loan note is due at the end of the month. Maybe I should opt for a lab-created diamond. I can’t tell the difference and we need to save for a house.”

Be their personal shopper, make a customer happy and make some money!

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Editor's Note

These Are The Three Factors Driving Revolution in the Jewelry Industry

All three are technology-based.

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WHEN A BUSINESS REVOLUTION arrives, there’s no stopping it. Your only options are to ignore it and die a slow death, or join it and learn, quickly, how to do business within the new paradigm.

Three powerful pistons are driving revolution in the jewelry industry. The first is e-commerce. Some retailers have complained of manufacturers going direct to consumers, but many are now learning to compete in the online space as well. We just started judging this year’s crop of America’s Coolest Store contestants, and we are impressed not only by how many of the applicants sell online, but also by the quality of their websites. Read about retailers doing e-commerce right in our story, “E-Commerce For Everyone,” beginning on page 74.

The second piston is the lab-grown diamond phenomenon. The category continues to gain traction among consumers, and largely driven by consumer demand, not marketing. Read about Soha Diamond Co., a retailer who sells only lab-grown diamonds and gemstones, in our “Talkin’ ‘Bout a Revolution” story starting on page 63.

The third piston is social media, which offers retailers the opportunity to engage local consumers for very little monetary investment. Social media is where the people are; it’s just a question of how to reach them, and then how to interest them in your jewelry and your store.

A revolution is on your doorstep, whether you like it or not. Will you join it or be left behind?

Trace Shelton

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

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

  • During slow times, take photos of all waxes not already in your CAD library and add them. (Manager’s To-Do List, p. 46)
  • Use an aggressive commission to incentivize salespeople to sell old items. (Ask INSTORE, p. 108)
  • Present customers’ kids with gift-wrapped presents to make them feel special. (Tip Sheet, p. 98)
  • Match the percentage of marketing dollars spent on a department with its store performance. (David Brown, p. 112)
  • Make a list of all verbal buying cues and have staff practice their question closes for each. (Sales Truths, p. 112)
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Dave Richardson

24 Verbal Buying Signals Your Sales Staff May Be Missing

Do this exercise to improve your team’s closing ratio.

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WHY IT IS TRUE: The customer will say things that indicate they are ready to buy, but many salespeople talk right through these cues.

PLAN OF ACTION: During a meeting with your staff, write these verbal buying signals on a flip chart and ask your staff if they can think of any to add to the list.

  • Do you take credit cards?
  • I really like it.
  • I think she’ll like it.
  • Do you have a warranty program?
  • Will you gift-wrap it?
  • You provide an appraisal?
  • What if she doesn’t like it?
  • What time do you close tonight?
  • Do you have it in white gold?
  • Will you be able to size it for me?
  • If I buy it, when can I pick it up?
  • I really like the feel of it.
  • I really like the way it looks on me.
  • Can I put it on my store credit?
  • Can you engrave it for me?
  • You have a layaway plan?
  • Since I can’t take until it is sized, do you deliver?
  • Does it come in a box?
  • How can I care for it?
  • Do you have the matching earrings?
  • Can I borrow a calculator?
  • If I buy the ring, will you pay the tax?
  • What is your return policy?
  • What do you think?

Then, divide your salespeople into groups of two or three and have them write the appropriate closing question to each one of the verbal buying signals. Then you can compare the results.

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