Last updateThu, 20 Jul 2017 8am

George Prout

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:

George Prout forecasts the election’s impact on holiday sales

Prout HeadshotWe recently witnessed a political revolution of epic proportions. The manner in which these events are likely to impact holiday jewelry sales is an important topic, so here’s my analysis.

Economic conditions during the past 8 years have been challenging in many areas of the country. While it’s true that we didn’t fall off a cliff (as it appeared might be happening in the 4th quarter of 2008, when retail jewelry sales dropped by nearly 40 percent), the fact nevertheless remains that the recovery from 2008 was uneven, and as a general rule, rural America has suffered disproportionately.

Applied Marketing 101: The tsunami approaches

George Prout examines the impact of lab grown diamonds

The extent to which change produces anxiety, from a neurophysiological standpoint, is well documented. Viewed biochemically, the human body’s reaction to anxiety triggers a “threat response” that can create a sense of hostility towards the source of the change, which in turn can lead to feelings of anger. It should therefore come as no surprise that many in our industry appear either to be in a state of denial over the changes that lab-grown diamonds will bring, or are so manifestly hostile to it that they seem unable to rationally consider the likely impact of this new product’s incipient arrival. In particular, many are voicing the opinion that this genie can somehow be put back in the bottle, or otherwise that attitudes and actions on the supply side can somehow prevent, or at least modify, the inevitable impact of lab-grown in the marketplace.

Applied Marketing 101: The Six Levels of Hybrid Brick-and-Mortar Internet Retailing Success

ProutRecently I’ve been thinking a lot about the impact of the Internet on brick-and-mortar jewelry stores. As I think back to the dawn of the Internet era, there was a sense at that time that this new, very nasty source of competition was going to annihilate regular retail stores. Fortunately for all of us, it didn’t happen, did it? But just as a frog in a pot of water will allow itself to be boiled if the temperature of the water rises at an extremely slow pace, similarly, I suspect that the insidious acquisition of jewelry market share by Internet retailers has occurred at a sufficiently slow pace such that we don’t realize that the water is about to boil. Indeed, I suspect that we will look back on the current retailing era and realize, with the advantage of 20/20 hindsight, that most retailers (as well as their suppliers) have pretty much been in a state of denial, thinking that jewelry retailing was just going to stay nice, stable, and unchanging.