Last updateTue, 24 Apr 2018 8pm

George Prout

Applied Marketing 101: At last, a Christmas to remember!

On a Friday in late September of 2008, I used my three-hour drive home from New York City to call a group of close friends who owned jewelry stores and warn them that I was seeing extraordinary signs of an impending economic collapse, causing me to re-evaluate likely forecasts of Christmas sales in their stores. One of them chided me for being overly pessimistic, but promised to poll a group of about a dozen friends with whom she was having a getaway weekend to see how they were feeling about Christmas. She didn’t wait until Monday to report her findings. She actually called me in a panic that Saturday night to report that to her extreme alarm, every single one of them had simultaneously decided to put a halt on “extravagant” (read: Jewelry) Christmas purchases. Her subsequent sales that December were down over 40 percent, and average independent jewelry store sales were down about 35 percent nationally.

Applied Marketing 101: The Age of the Independent

Last month I experienced an epiphany. It happened when, for the first time in many years, I had a chance to buy Signet stock for 50 dollars a share. Having watched the inexorable rise in Signet’s sales, profits, and stock price over the years, under normal circumstances, I would have rushed to buy shares at such a heavily discounted price relative to historical earnings. But these are no longer “normal” times, and as I contemplated the likely trajectory of Signet’s future sales - in fact, the likely future trajectory of the majors in general - it suddenly occurred to me that for the first time in my life, I actually see a window opening that favors the independent jeweler.

Applied Marketing 101: Using Segmentation Strategy to weaponize your loose diamond business

Bridal is the most important category in your store. But if you’re like most jewelers, you’re still searching for the best method for maximizing sales and profit from your engagement ring department. Fortunately, the answer for how to accomplish your objective can be found in a fundamental marketing concept called Segmentation.

Applied Marketing 101 - The view from Hong Kong 2017

ProutGeorge Prout reports on his annual trip to identify trends for the 2017 holiday season 

As I write this, I’m in seat 11J on a Delta 777 flying from Shanghai to Detroit. I’m working on my first scotch, and am reminded of the fact that there are no finish lines in business - just new starting lines, and this year’s race to get ready for JCK will be especially intense.

Applied Marketing 101: How to improve your supplier network

For the past several years, I’ve been seeing evidence of a strong bifurcation (a fancy way of saying a split into two halves) that’s taking place in the independent jewelry sector. Increasingly, while many stores are doing extremely well, there are others that are doing pretty poorly. I’ve recently been working on a project designed to identify the causative agents that are producing this split, and among the most important appears to be the “Ecosystem” that has been created by the store owner(s) in which the store operates. So this month, let’s take a look at some of the moves you can take to improve your Operational Ecosystem (OE).

How storytelling is about to change the way we sell diamonds

“The human mind is a story processor, not a logic processor. Everyone loves a good story; every culture bathes its children in stories.”  - Jonathon Haidt, author

Recent innovations in diamond selling techniques will soon alter the way the entire industry sells diamonds, so let’s examine three of these incredibly powerful new conceptual selling programs: Chosen, by Jared, My Diamond Story, by Helzberg, and M2M by GIA. But first, in order to understand the potential impact of these new ways of selling diamonds, let’s consider how our innate neurophysiology naturally sets the stage for the way these programs increase consumers’ purchasing interest.

The Lost Holiday?

George Prout examines a disappointing Valentine’s Day

Reports from all over the country are confirming disappointing numbers for the Valentine’s Day gift giving period, measured by total sales. Key takeaways include: