Connect with us

Editor's Note

When Wholesalers Sell Direct Online, They Better Be Ready for the Consequences

With wholesalers selling direct to consumers online, what does the future hold for brick-and-mortar retailers?



When Wholesalers Sell Direct Online, They Better Be Ready for the Consequences

Ever had that feeling that everyone was muttering about you behind your back? If so, you might be a jewelry manufacturer selling to consumers online.

Over the past few years, this has been the No. 1 topic we’ve heard about from our readers. Just a quick look at our last couple of Brain Squad surveys shows the following comments: 

  • “Sad that so many wholesalers are selling direct to our customers, brands included.”
  • “More and more, we are seeing the major brands opening their own stores and selling directly to the public or through third parties that are discounting their merchandise.”
  • “I am concerned about the future of the retail jeweler. I see less walk-in traffic each year and I feel like it is due to the Internet.”

The Internet has made it much easier for wholesalers to sell direct. The motivation is not hard to understand. A wholesaler can double profits by bypassing retailers to skip straight to the consumer. But at what long-term cost?

When a wholesaler makes an end run around the retailer, the retailer no longer trusts that wholesaler. So that wholesaler better make darn sure he is ready to take on all the functions of a retailer (merchandising, marketing, and selling to the public). And compared to trying to garner attention in a crowded online marketplace, a brick-and-mortar retailer’s built-in local audience, recognition and community presence start to look really attractive.

It’s a conundrum that’s shaking the very structure of the jewelry industry. To read more from both wholesalers and retailers — including some suggestions and possible solutions — see our lead story on page 43.



When Wholesalers Sell Direct Online, They Better Be Ready for the Consequences


1. If a client consistently has problems with rings turning her fingers black, suggest she have the inside of the bands coated with rhodium. (Ask Instore, p. 69)

2. Tell clients, “Please save me from buying this for myself” to show your enthusiasm for new products. (Line Time, p. 65)

3. Instead of a one-day trunk show, have designers come in for a week and call it a “residency.” (Brainstorm, p. 64)

4. Tell your own engagement story on your About Us page with humor and sentiment. (That’s Cool, p. 68)

5. Go through your jewelers’ bench and findings cabinet and melt or return findings that are more than one year old. (Manager’s To-Do List, p. 28)


This article originally appeared in the April 2018 edition of INSTORE.



This Third-Generation Jeweler Was Ready for Retirement. He Called Wilkerson

Retirement is never easy, especially when it means the end to a business that was founded in 1884. But for Laura and Sam Sipe, it was time to put their own needs first. They decided to close J.C. Sipe Jewelers, one of Indianapolis’ most trusted names in fine jewelry, and call Wilkerson. “Laura and I decided the conditions were right,” says Sam. Wilkerson handled every detail in their going-out-of-business sale, from marketing to manning the sales floor. “The main goal was to sell our existing inventory that’s all paid for and turn that into cash for our retirement,” says Sam. “It’s been very, very productive.” Would they recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers who want to enjoy their golden years? Absolutely! “Call Wilkerson,” says Laura. “They can help you achieve your goals so you’ll be able to move into retirement comfortably.”

Promoted Headlines






INSTORE helps you become a better jeweler
with the biggest daily news headlines and useful tips.
(Mailed 5x per week.)


Latest Comments

Most Popular