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“The secret to getting ahead is getting started.” ~ Mark Twain
Ah, Valentine’s Day. Love is in the air, and readers of Southern Jewelry News are (hopefully) making the most of it! But if your dreams of selling lots of engagement-type jewelry this year haven’t materialized, don’t despair. According to a recent data dump by Facebook, Valentine’s Day is no longer the most popular day to get engaged. That honor now goes to Christmas Eve, followed closely by Christmas Day and New Year’s Eve.
This Valentine’s Day retailers have an excellent opportunity to embrace and market the “2-Stone” trend in pendants and rings, as well as continuing to enjoy robust sales from infinity jewelry, charms and the stackable jewelry craze that will continue to hold strong throughout 2016.
Once you have closed the books on Valentine’s Day, 2016, I’d like to encourage you to turn your attention to 5 areas that I believe have a huge potential to impact our industry this year. Alone, each of these areas has the ability to affect the way you do business in a positive way. Together, they stand a great chance to deliver a stronger outlook in profitability and growth to your annual returns.
1. Design and create events that are personal and practical. Make room in your 2016 events calendar for at least 2 “appraisal-based” events. These types of events allow you as a jewelry retailer to take advantage of multiple revenue streams. Once you have the jewelry in your hands for appraisal, it gives you the chance to point out items that might need repairs, such a re-tipping or re-shanking, or to recommend a re-style, if the piece is fragile, or not of a style your customer would normally wear.
Appraisal events also give you the opportunity to help your customers separate and identify heirloom jewelry, create a personalized jewelry inventory list, or offer suggestions to fill in jewelry gaps, based on trends, classics and personal taste/lifestyle.
2. Beef up your cybersecurity and be ready for an attack. If you haven’t already done so, you need to take this seriously, and allocate the funds and resources necessary to keep your data and digital assets secure. This includes information such as your inventory lists, your customer lists, vendor and payment information and other information critical to the day to day operations of your business. And if you are still using an e-mail address that ends in .AOL, .Yahoo, .Gmail or a local telephone exchange or cable company such as BellSouth.net, now is the time to stop. A professional e-mail system that provides safety and security (such as Google apps for business) is affordable and easy to maintain, and will provide you with the peace of mind you need to run your business properly. Not sure how to get started? Call me, we can help!
3. Mobile beacons. Small business location marketing is going to be a game changer this year. Our friends at Facebook are already rolling out Bluetooth beacons which will allow businesses to share promotional messages and alerts with fans who are within range. Mobile beacons serve a dual-purpose by combining the next-level customer service with real-time mobile marketing.
While there are still challenges with this type of marketing, the possibilities for brick and mortar stores are endless when it comes to marketing through beacons.
4. Changes will continue in payment technology. The advances in technology have been significant over the last 5 years. 2016 will bring business owners more choices in point of sale systems – hosted or cloud. They can accept payments via various formats – counter, mobile, wallet (I.e. Apple Pay), e-commerce and even biometric. According to Joe Radest of 1StepTechnologies.com, new card technologies such as EMV (chip) will reduce card fraud. On the other side, these new technologies will present a series of challenges such as consumer adoption, payment processor support, payment device compatibility, and ultimately merchant implementation. Yet while the technology continues to evolve, so have the breaches and the theft of accounts including card numbers. This makes it ever more critical for business owners to take time, ask the necessary questions, and get educated on the right type of technology that will best fit their business needs.
5. Collaboration and Social Responsibility. 2016 is the year to break out and be bigger than yourself. Our industry is awesome when it comes to giving back and embracing charitable giving (Jewelers For Children is a great example of these efforts), but this year I encourage you to strive for more. Look around your community to see how your store brand can become more firmly invested in your local market. Find a common goal that unites your business, your clients and your community.
As retail jewelers, we are blessed with the opportunity to give back in many ways, not just with time or money, but through creative design experiences and beautiful minerals and metals. These items are not just fashion accessories, but valuable tools that impact trade, commerce and the economy. The jewelry industry embraced the “green” movement long before there was a “green” movement. Enlighten your customers and community about the multiple aspects of these treasures. Take some gold or silver, in several forms (shot, bullion, nuggets & finished) into your local high school chemistry class. Create a special pin or piece for a local community group. Collaborate with local business leaders on a city or county seal. Integrate yourself into your community and celebrate the tools and trade you represent.
Have questions about the Southern Jewelers Guild or want more information about membership? I’m here to help! E-mail me at Ann@SouthernJewelersGuild.com or call 504-615-1191.