The jewelry industry’s leading point-of-sale software system company, THE EDGE, is celebrating 20 years of helping independent retail jewelers become more profitable with intuitive jewelry store management solutions, proven business methods, and comprehensive educational resources.
THE EDGE helps jewelers curate the right inventory mix and reach their best customers about it. More than three decades ago, Dick Abbott, founder and president of THE EDGE, by Abbott Jewelry Systems, figured out that a monthly buying cycle based on regular inventory analysis is more profitable than forecast purchasing that looks back at where you’ve been to tell you where you’re going.
When he started this journey in the late 1980s, Abbott, a computer programmer, was also an absentee jewelry-store owner. While the store did okay he thought it could do better, so he applied his programming skills and knowledge of the jewelry business to create software to more effectively manage his inventory and customer database.
Initially a DOS program called The Jeweler, which grew to 1,100 users, the software transitioned to THE EDGE, with Windows technology, first demonstrated to the trade at JCK Las Vegas 2002. Today, THE EDGE is installed in more than 4,500 independent jewelry locations.
Abbott shares in this Q&A his insights about the evolution of this leading jewelry store management software and its support services to help jewelers more effectively manage their inventory and service their customers.
Q. What does THE EDGE offer independent jewelers?
A. Intuitively designed for ease of use and streamlined for speed, THE EDGE delivers a range of software solutions including point-of-sale, inventory management, and customer database-building. THE EDGE helps jewelers identify and capitalize on their bestselling products and best customers.
The real value of THE EDGE comes from its powerful management tools, which rely on quality data easily accessed, updated and shared by jewelry associates to track sales, customer details, services, and more.
THE EDGE offers solutions that help jewelers curate a balanced, profitable inventory. Knowing which investments work and eliminating those that don’t is key to success. Among its features, jewelers can identify, track and reorder fast selling items, as well as proactively manage aging inventory and reinvest with buying tools that make suggestions based on historic performance and trends.
In today’s world, customer retention is everything. Jewelers want to know who their best customers are, and they want to easily and effectively communicate with them in many different ways. THE EDGE helps jewelers integrate their messaging via text, email and direct mail.
Q. How has the technology evolved since its inception and what is THE EDGE’s biggest advantage to jewelers?
A. Early on, DOS limited you to the way you could get to things in the system. You got a panel and could pick and choose, drilling down to get to the point you needed to be. But Windows makes navigating easy. It’s more in tune with how people think. Interestingly enough, we are on the verge of another release that will add a new level to that. User interface is critical. We are constantly looking for new ways to use technology to help retailers get the most benefit from the software and profit from their stores.
One of the biggest strengths of THE EDGE is its robust reporting designed to give jewelers valuable insights into store performance, including daily operations, customer and marketing effectiveness, and inventory performance analysis. It can help jewelers identify where their sales are coming from, in terms of customers, as well as what vendors’ merchandise is selling. It’s not unusual to find that 20% of your customers make up 80% of your sales and, just as telling, those sales usually come from a handful of vendors. Of that 20%, I’ve found that the top 5% of your customers represents 50% of your business. Don’t ignore the next 15%, just focus on the best and elevate the rest.
COVID undoubtedly had an impact on the jewelry industry. A blessing in disguise, jewelers emerged from the pandemic stronger than they’ve ever been. What they came to learn was that it did not take a ton of merchandise to make the sale. It gave jewelers the opportunity to get their inventory in better shape, and to get full price for their merchandise, as consumers had more disposable income with fewer options to spend on. It also gave retailers the chance for greater engagement with their best customers through many different channels.
Q. Could you explain some of the ways THE EDGE has integrated with other industry partners to deliver a seamless sales experience?
A. THE EDGE not only offers actionable information, but also the point of sale tools to capitalize on that valuable data. After developing a robust POS system, we considered how we could bring more value to the program and to independent retailers. We realized that integrating diverse outside services directly into the software would make us a total retail solution that can help jewelers succeed in all aspects of their business.
We choose our partners based on the value they bring to our users. We built our direct mail marketing program with Drive Retail, which led to a partnership with SnapRetail for digital marketing. We also integrated our software with Podium (a centralized platform to collect reviews, get found online, and communicate with customers), which has been a major benefit for many of our clients. Jewelers Mutual came to us to make buying insurance easier – when customers make a purchase it can be insured before they leave the store. We also partner with two other insurance providers, Zillion and Luxsurance; and website developers, GemFind, a Shopify partner, and Punchmark that has its own software platform.
We offer the opportunity for a full omni-channel solution for independent jewelers, where their brick and mortar store and website talk to and know what’s happening with each other.
Q. Although the software is intuitive and user-friendly, what support do you offer jewelers to master the information it can reveal and act on it?
A. We educate jewelers on the business philosophies behind the software’s features and how to use them to impact their profit and growth. Introductory training covers system setup, customization, inventory, customers, POS, basic reporting, and more. And, we offer a five-part advanced training curriculum focused on mastering the most important features in the software.
THE EDGE Retail Academy, a sister company, also provides one-on-one consulting services to help jewelers create growth strategies custom tailored to their needs. Tapped into EDGE Pulse, jewelers gain valuable insights through Key Performance Indicator (KPI) reports that share aggregated inventory performance from other jewelry stores to stay on top of trends.
Q. What does the future hold for THE EDGE?
A. THE EDGE is a comprehensive program with over 2.5 million lines of code, and more than 200 system options. It does a lot, but as technology and business needs evolve, we will evolve, too. Responsive incremental change is what got us here, and we are continually committed to making the changes that help retailers outperform their competition and grow their business to its fullest potential. That was my original goal, and it will continue to be so for the next 20 years.