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Editor's Note

When Writing the Big Survey, Our Team Questions Everything

And we throw out just as many questions as we keep.



YOU CAN’T LEARN if you don’t ask questions.

And after 15 years, we’ve asked a lot of questions in our annual Big Surveys … and learned even more. I hope that’s true for you as well.

What some may not realize is just how many questions we don’t ask. This year, we asked 95 questions, which makes this one of our biggest surveys ever. But we probably threw out just as many before our readers ever took the survey.

Narrowing the Big Survey down to a manageable number involves a lot of difficult decisions about what to cut and what to keep. (Not to mention that a 95-question survey barely qualifies to be described as “manageable.”) We want the survey to be incredibly informative so that you, our readers, can benchmark your own performance and plan for the future based on the results. We also want it to be entertaining, capturing the spirit of an industry made up mostly of independent retail store owners.


So, when crafting the survey, we debate internally. We ask our expert columnists for their opinions. And we look at your letters and comments from the past year to see what’s been on your mind the most.

For those who took the survey, I want to thank you profusely. These results wouldn’t mean anything without your participation. And for those who don’t like asking or answering questions … well, you’re probably not reading INSTORE! Enjoy and best wishes to everyone for a safe and happy holiday season!

When Writing the Big Survey, Our Team Questions Everything

Trace Shelton

Editor-in-Chief, INSTORE
[email protected]

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

  • Set up a selfie station in your store for the holidays. (Manager’s To-Do, p. 24)
  • Grow your own jeweler by hiring a young person as a polisher; send those who show aptitude and interest for more schooling. (Ask INSTORE, p. 64)
  • Ask suppliers to sponsor your team lunches during the holidays. (Megan Crabtree, p. 62)
  • Review sales-per-staff-member prior to the holidays; give your best salespeople more chances to shine. (David Brown, p. 63)
  • Promote financing by putting signs in your cases showing approximate monthly payments for a list of purchase prices. (Larry Johnson, p. 66)

Trace Shelton is the editor-in-chief of INSTORE magazine. He can be reached at [email protected].



Put Your Trust in Wilkerson

To do business successfully with anyone, you need a certain “comfort level.” That’s something that Phillips Pitts, owner of two Parris Jewelers stores in Hattiesburg, Miss., said he felt immediately when he first talked to Wilkerson’s Rick Hayes. He was just about to launch an anniversary sale. And he chose Wilkerson to handle all the details — from the marketing to the sales floor. “Rick cared what was going to happen to Parris Jewelers,” says Pitts. “Not just during the sale but after the sale.” Would he recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers contemplating a large-scale sale? Absolutely, says Pitts, who says the results “exceeded their expectations.” His trust in Wilkerson has only grown after the numbers came in. “They were interested in me fulfilling and what I need to fulfill to make my company better.”

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