Last updateThu, 22 Feb 2018 4pm

Bob Epstein

These “golden” days require a fresh look at merchandising strategy

With gold prices rising above $1,300 per ounce, many jewelers have watched gold jewelry sales fall. In a recent survey conducted by National Jeweler, 89 percent of respondents saw gold sales fall or stay flat. Thirty-seven percent of respondents have seen significant decreases, 30 percent reported slight decreases, and 22 percent saw sales remain flat.

Tis’ the season to plan early for increased holiday sales

If there was ever a time to start planning for the upcoming holiday shopping season, it’s now. Planning ahead is like giving a gift to yourself, and one that will surely increase your chances of making sure it’s a really nice one. It once was a given that holiday sales meant big sale increases. Now, however, competition and the strain on disposable income have made it more difficult to generate big increases in sales without big reductions in margins.

Plan ahead so the family business will be a gift, not a burden, to heirs and successors

Approximately 92 percent of all jewelry stores are independently owned. Unlike many retail industries, family owned businesses are a very common form of ownership in the jewelry industry. Successful family businesses tend to resemble fireflies. They flicker brightly for a brief moment and then die away.

Effective inventory management

These days, independent jewelers cannot afford any excess inventory.  Storage costs, insurance, pilferage, damage, obsolescence, taxes and interest on loans add up to 30 percent annually to the cost of the goods you carry. Because those costs continue to rise, tight inventory control is still one of the best investments you can make - especially during the buying season.

Business slowdown or opportunity

Now that we are going into the slower summer months, you have the perfect opportunity to step away from the day-to-day operations of your business and reflect on what really drives your business, your customers, products and services and competitors.

Do you really know who your customer is? By understanding your customer you can more successfully market your business and attract new and existing customers.

Direct mail for jewelers – power it up to make it work!

You see examples of direct mail every day. Just take a look at that big pile of mail, and what do you see? Newsletters, catalogs and self mailers. Whatever form they arrive in, direct mail pieces are an important marketing tool, and if used wisely, can be a powerful part of your overall marketing/sales plan.

A down economy is the optimum time to position for a rebound

Every day someone asks me whether we are starting to climb out of the sluggish economy or if it will continue for an extended period of time. Realistically, history has shown that even when the economy experiences an uptick after a recession, the jewelry industry experiences a much more gradual turnaround. The average growth rate during the first year of recovery averages only 0.3 percent for jewelers. Boom times that we all experienced in the past are unlikely to return any time soon, but that doesn’t mean it’s time to shutter the operation. In fact, we’re advising jewelers to embrace and adapt to this new reality now and to move quickly to minimize performance deterioration.