Last updateWed, 22 May 2019 1am

Retailer Roundtable: What will you do to make your store better in 2019?

RR Michael Abernathy“In 2019, we’re going to do our best to find new and innovative ways to reach our target customers. Using new digital marketing and some forms of not so new media and getting it all to work well together is a big challenge for any small business. Old media like newspaper, radio and TV have changed so much in the past few years. Discovering the best new way to reach our target customer is our main focus. Direct mail is a medium we haven’t done much with in the 68-year history of our store. So in 2019 we’re going try to do more with direct mail and social media to target customers using our POS system mailing list. These campaigns will be mainly event- and product-driven mailers. With social media, we’d like to continue to do fun and fresh postings that show we’re a small mom-and-pop operation with heart, humor, honesty and integrity. I’d like to do more live videos to make customers more familiar with who we are as a local business. Our videos, both produced and homespun, get a good number of views, shares, comments and likes. So we’re doing some social media things well. We’ve also had good luck with share-to-win contests on Facebook. To date we have 5,000-plus followers on Facebook.”

Michael Abernathy, VP of marketing and sales
Griffins Jewelers
Talladega and Pell City, AL (two locations) 



RR Johnson

“Training will continue to be one of our leading practices in the new year. We have daily and weekly training sessions. The daily training meetings are somewhat informal. We discuss things that are happening that day, deciding how to best serve customers of sales associates that are scheduled off. We talk about what each person is working on and doing that day. The open communication helps each sales associate to better focus on serving the customers. Weekly training is usually more structured, with training coming from brand reps or regional salespeople for certain products. We also bring up topical discussions and training on trending subjects such as lab-grown diamonds. We want to make sure our sales associates know the product well and how to sell it. We’re going to continue with our approach to training. For 2019, I think it’s going to be another good growth year and each day we’ll be ready for it with a knowledgeable and  customer service oriented team.”

Randy Johnson, owner
Johnson Jewelers
El Paso, TX


RR Jacobson“For 2019 I definitely have some items on my to-do list. I’d like to enter more design contests to get more recognition in the jewelry industry. I’d also like to make more one-of-a-kind knock out pieces of jewelry: the types of designs that catch people’s attention at trade shows, makes good artwork in magazines, and attracts buyers. I sometimes find myself designing and making jewelry that I know is saleable. Not that this isn’t essential, but it’s also important to remember that sometimes these big pieces, that require special one-of-a- kind single stones or diamonds, plus more precious metals, are the aspirational designs that can potentially bring in additional sales. Also, I’d like to get inspirations outside my studio. I used to go to museums around town with a photographer friend of mine to find inspirations from various works of art. I’d like to get back to that in 2019 – perhaps every other month. Finally, I want to take some classes to expand my education and skills, such as 3-D design and rendering, advanced gemstone setting, any subject that will enhance my design and bench skills.”

Karin Jacobson, owner
Karin Jacobson Designs
Minneapolis, MN


RR Bartel“For the last couple of years my father and I have been recording educational videos. What started as an exercise to educate existing and potential customers has turned out to be an amazing marketing and promotional tool for us. We’re going to continue with these videos because we’re getting a lot of store visits and sales from them. Uploaded to our website, Facebook account and YouTube channel, the number of calls, store visits and sales resulting from our educational videos has been so good we’ve gone away from traditional media options to reach our audiences. The videos range in subject matter from gemological basics to custom jewelry design work essentials to more trending topics including lab-grown diamonds. The videos not only give people confidence in our areas of expertise, it also promotes our store’s transparency. On the topic of lab-grown diamonds we’re point-blank honest about the value proposition with lab-grown diamonds. The knowledge and transparency people see in our videos has been a huge win for us, so we’ll continue producing them in 2019.” 

Colton Bartel, jewelry designer 
Susann’s Custom Jewelers
Corpus Christi, TX
Photo courtesy of Samantha Lunstedt at Emery Photography


RR Ritter“In our area of North Dakota the town benefited from the oil boom from 2010 to 2016, when our population went from 11,000 to 33,000. The boom is over, but the infrastructure and the jobs are still here. That’s been huge for us. Now our jewelry business is booming, so much so that I bought the vacant building next to us. Next year we’ll expand into that space. My sons are fantastic bench jewelers, which is very key to our success. We pull in customers from a 100 mile radius. We’d like to build a viewing area in the new space to accommodate customers so they can watch the work being done on their jewelry. We’ll be going from 1,250 square feet to 5,000, so we’d also like to create a comfortable waiting lounge with a beverage bar. When customers walk in to buy jewelry they want to walk out with it. We’re also going to explore creating a store mobile app. It’ll be a basic brochure app, but I’d also like some interactive features to it. A shopping cart for sure, but perhaps a feature that would allow users to quickly compare designs, prices and styles. That would be ideal. It’s still in the developmental stages.”

Tim Ritter, owner
Ritter Brothers Diamond Cutters
Williston, ND


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