After an encouraging start , independent jewelers are reporting that the 2013 holiday season has chilled along with the weather in the last week. More store owners are saying their average ticket is down compared to last year, more are seeing fewer customers in their store compared to 2013 and more are describing this holiday season as either “dismal” (7% versus 4% last week) or “disappointing” (26% compared with 24% last week).
While I realize that predicting Pantone’s Color of the Year isn’t like choosing winning numbers in the million-dollar lottery—yes, my husband, Charlie, already told me he’d have preferred I’d forecasted the latter—it was still kind of cool when, on Friday, I saw that Leatrice Eiseman, the Pantone Color Institute’s Executive Director, who’d announced Radiant Orchid as the 2014 Color of the Year on Thursday, posted this on her Facebook page:
I was in high school when Nelson Mandela was finally released from Victor Verster prison in South Africa in 1990, and still in college when he won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993 and then the South African presidency in 1994. I remember being struck by his wide grin, kind eyes, and steely resolve. It was obvious to me then that this was a great man, but only experience and living life can help a person fully understand monumental achievement, and I understand today that few have achieved as much as Mandela, especially in the cause of human rights.
I spoke with Adrienne Fay, director of marketing and advertising for Borsheims Fine Jewelry and Gifts in Omaha, NE, this week, about the new Borsheims Boutique, which opened Nov. 15 at the newly revamped Nebraska Crossing Outlets, a $112 million, 350,000 square foot, open-air shopping center.
The folks at Pugh’s Diamond Jewelers in Zanesville, OH, got in touch this week to let us know about their latest holiday ad campaign. After their 2012 campaign that borrowed from Dr. Suess’ How the Grinch Stole Christmas and invited customers to “Pughville” for the holiday kick-off, we were wondering how they might top it.
You’ve got a tough four weeks ahead. But every time you’re tempted to take your foot off the gas, to coast a little while telling yourself, “Hey, you know, we do alright — we’ve got good products, and good service, and you know that should be enough” — every time you’re tempted to do that, remember one thing.
In contrast to the disappointing start to the holidays reported by most retailers, independent jewelers appear to have enjoyed a surprisingly solid opening weekend, according to our first 2013 Holiday Season Brain Squad survey.
While the National Retail Federation expects retail sales to be up 4% during November and December, analysts believe that sales will often be generated at the expense of profits, according to HuffingtonPost.com. In other words, the big-name retailers feel that they must offer huge discounts in order to make sales this holiday season. What does this mean for jewelry retailers?
Last week, I wrote about a start-up company that looks to be a more constructive alternative to Yelp reviews. (See it here.) A couple of retailers commented about their own dissatisfaction with Yelp’s online reviews and found the news encouraging.
Last week, we reached into the INSTORE archives for a list of 15 things you shouldn't say to customers.
And a couple of you out there, quite rightly, wondered why we were telling you what not to say, but not replacing the things we took away with things you couldsay. Anyway, in this week's column, we fill the gap with this oldie-but-goodie feature from INSTORE, circa February 2004, on "Best Opening Lines".
My 17-year-old daughter began her first retail job this past weekend, working as seasonal help for Nine West. She’s already made her first big mistake – she was supposed to work on a particular day, but because she wasn’t trained on how to view the schedule, she misread it and missed her shift. That said, Nine West was smart to hire her a week in advance of “Black Friday,” since she’s now learned from that mistake and was able to learn from several encounters with customers over the weekend. She should be ready to do a great job next weekend and throughout the holiday selling season.
A California startup is betting on an app that, if it catches on, could be an alternative to Yelp. While it doesn’t come from the folks at Yahoo, the fact it actually encourages constructive private feedback from customers may have you yelping, “Yahoo!”
The trouble with trends is that they’re not always pretty. And, if you ask me, this obsession with owls is one of those. Beautiful, maybe, but classically “pretty”? Not so much. I admit, this trend took me by surprise. Yes, I’ve been watching the burgeoning bird-themed designs—peacocks, parrots, and some other feathered friends—something that, in 2014, we should actually be seeing even more of. But these wide-faced, small-beaked, big-eyed birds? No, despite that the owl's been a pop-culture focus in fashion and home design, I didn’t really see the owl jewelry thing coming on strong.
While reading an old issue of INSTORE, I came across a mother lode of phrases to avoid for salespeople. The lines featured here, and the reasons why they don't work, came from the sales experts we've worked with over the years, Leonard Zell, Harry Friedman, and our long-time columnist and selling guru, Shane Decker.
Cyber Monday have you worried? It’s got nothing on China’s Singles’ Day, which sees 2-1/2 times — a whopping $5.75 billion! — the e-commerce sales of America’s Cyber Monday.
Some words and phrases are ‘so yesterday’--winter whites is one of them. If you recall, in fashion circles, the term became passé last year—as runway leaders changed the rules, and white is now year round. And finally, this year, jewelry has joined fashion in banning the concept: White semiprecious stones are no longer spring/summer-only. As if to prove the point, there’s a particularly strong focus for fall/holiday on white agate, white opal, white quartz, white topaz, white sapphire, and rock crystal.