Category Archives: Jewelry Industry

Retails trends that could change the way you sell jewelry

Anti brandJWT intelligence reported emerging trends to watch for in 2015. JCK reporter, Rob Bates, does a great job in relating these trends in his JCK blog post that I repost here:
8 Retail Trends That Could Change Your Business

By Rob Bates, News Director
Posted on January 20, 2015

From nonbrands to BuzzFeed retail, technological advances and changing demographics could shake up how jewelry is marketed and sold in the coming year, according to JWT’s annual trend report.

Among the trends Lucie Greene, worldwide director of JWT Intelligence, sees as possibly affecting the industry:

The rise of the high-level affluent woman.

What Greene calls the “Arianna Huffington generation”—women in high-level positions who prioritize their careers—will eventually change how luxury goods are marketed and purchased.

“There are women reaching high-level management, even in emerging markets like China,” she says. “The impact on luxury is quite interesting. Jewelry is typically being marketed from men to women for occasions. But when you have women shopping for fine jewelry, the language and also the category needs to change.”

She finds that the “very expensive men’s watches that are usually aimed at male buyers are now being marketed to women.”

Celebrating singles.

Looking at demographic data, more and more Americans are deciding not to marry.

“The future is really singles, and that is across all different age groups,” she says. “The highest divorce rate in the U.S. is the over-50s. That is being led by China, and its famous Singles’ Day, but also it is starting to be adopted in the U.S.”

Being single is no longer looked at as being isolated and lonely, she says.

“Now single is considered being very social,” she says, adding that she is seeing much more self-spending on traditionally gifted luxuries.

Entertainment merging with retail.

“With the advent of Internet-connected television, entertainment and gaming is all becoming online and interactive,” she says. “That makes it seamlessly linked to commerce. A lot of retailers are using entertainment as a way to engage consumers. Amazon, one of the biggest e-tailers in the world, is producing original entertainment. To me, the next step is to make it very shoppable.”

She says that apps already exist that can let you buy products that appear on-screen.

Brick-and-mortar are now more about the brand experience.

Many physical retailers are now demonstrations of the brand experience, rather than places to shop, she says.

“Stores are becoming Disneyland,” she says. “It’s all about the entertainment. Lululemon is hosting yoga classes where they sell their items. Apple is hosting Q&As with creatives who use the iPhones. [U.K. department store] Selfridges has its fragrance lab where you go into a darkened room and they take you on this journey. Stores are just becoming places to hang out. With mobile, at this point, it doesn’t really matter where the transactions take place, as long as they take place.”

A change in how retailer space is used.

With online likely to keep cutting down the overall number of stores, many traditional retail-only malls are now becoming “mixed use,” with space for offices, pop-up stores, cultural events, even residential housing. Meanwhile, urban outlets are becoming “fewer but more massive,” Greene says, to offer more immersion in the brand experience.

BuzzFeed retail.

BuzzFeed is the site known for quizzes like, What kind of cat are you? As consumers continue to seek out personalized products, some e-tailers are using similar quizzes as a way to increase user engagement and offer customized items.


“We are seeing in our data that millennials are rebelling against the idea of fashion trends,” Greene says. “The trends have become relentless and overexposed.”

That is why fashion is experimenting with “genderless fashion” and “anti-brands,” which pride themselves on not advertising.

“[Eyeglass brand] Warby Parker says, ‘We haven’t spent a lot on advertising,’ ” she notes. “That is really resonating. Right now, consumers can find information about any brand. There is this awareness of how much sunglass producers are paying for their license. Warby Parker is really the antidote to that.”

Another example: Everlane, a clothing e-tailer which states up front how much margin is being made on each item, as well as where all the items come from.

“It’s a way of demonstrating complete transparency,” she says. “People are skeptical today when it says Italian leather, because it isn’t always from Italy. So not only this is more responsible, but it’s a good way to demonstrate your item’s quality.”

Luxury on mobile.

While this sounds obvious, Greene points to data that 40 percent of luxury brands have minimal or no online or mobile presence.

“There is now no upper limit to how much any luxury consumer will spend on their phone,” she says. “You have $3 million transactions going through the Christie’s app. E-commerce for luxury is the new emerging market.”

Tiffany Debuts First Same-Sex Ad

530x343xtiffanyTiffany and Company is keeping it relevant with the first national print ad featuring a same-sex couple. Bravo Tiffany!

Here is an article in the jewelry trade magazine JCK.

Recycled diamonds

The recycling of second hand diamonds has become a big business! I know in my store, the prices of diamonds from cutters and dealers has become too much for many modern engagement customers. I have been buying and selling second hand modern diamonds as well as old mine cut and old european cut diamonds for years.

A world market in second hand diamonds has emerged and is growing rapidly! There is a large selection (called a tender in the diamond trade) will be auctioned early next month in New York by White Pine Trading.

“We afford buyers a large-scale platform featuring a broad assortment of diamonds, and we consolidate large quantities of goods and allow buyers to bid solely on what they want to purchase,” said White Pine Trading LLC CEO Benjamin Burne.

“[S]ellers will have the opportunity to leverage the depth of our experience, as we offer advice and sorting services designed to help maximize value. Additionally, we will actively work to qualify buyers that will pay sellers competitive industry prices.”

As reported On INEX website, In his 2011 diamond pipeline, industry analyst Chaim Even-Zohar estimated that recycled diamonds sold back to the jewelry sector came to about $1 billion last year, which represents 4.4 percent of all polished diamonds sold at polished wholesale prices.

White Pine buys recycled, polished diamonds of all sizes and grades, either loose or in second-hand diamond jewelry. It re-polishes chipped, damaged or poorly cut diamonds, which it then either uses in jewelry or offers for resale.

It is harder work for retail jewelers to find the most popular shapes, sizes and cuts in second hand diamonds, but when available, these diamonds can represent the only great deals in the industry!

Bravo to Tiffany’s!

I was in NYC earlier this week and had a chance to take a look at Tiffany’s new metal, Rubedo. The sale clerk identified the metal as a combination of silver, copper and gold. The price points that they are achieving suggests that is more silver and copper than gold, but is it ever beautiful. A bold statement in rose color and a sterling price point. Well done Tiffany! You get my “Keep it relevant” tip of the hat!!!!

Why Diamonds Are A VC’s New Best Friend

The following article is re published from article released by “Business Insider”

If in 1999, investors weren’t convinced that shoppers would buy a diamond ring online, the gleam is certainly in their eye today. eCommerce has been one of the most active segments, with 67 merger and acquisition transactions topping $6 billion thus far in 2011 vs. $180 million in the same period in 2010 according to investment bank Petsky & Prunier.

Within eCommerce, one of the segments which is gaining traction and investment favor is jewelry. Since late 2010, Gemvara, Stella & Dot, Baunat and BeachMint have all secured major funding rounds ranging from $4 to $40 million. And jewelry is an active segment in the fast-growing fashion flash sale business which includes such heavily funded websites as the Gilt Groupe, which recently raised $138 million, Beyond the Rack, Hautelook, Ideeli, Modnique, Rue La La, and My Habit.

The VC funding activity in jewelry is supported by research from Forrester, which includes jewelry as one of the fastest growing eCommerce segments through 2014. As a product category which initially started slow online (when compared with books for computer equipment), jewelry is now enjoying strong growth for several reasons:

Increased Shopper Confidence: Twelve years ago, investors were skeptical if shoppers would flock online to buy big ticket items. But the growth of eCommerce since the late 1990s has proven that consumers will buy anything online which they used to buy in-person. Through mechanisms like merchant reviews and based on an overwhelmingly positive shopping experience, shoppers, who first dipped their toes into online commerce with the purchase of a book or a T-shirt are now willing to place their trust in online merchants in the same way they trust a local shopkeeper.

Customization: A big benefit for online jewelry retailers versus local jewelers is the ability to create customized jewelry based on shopper requests. With most local jewelers buying directly from a few wholesalers, they usually don’t have the design and manufacturing contacts to create and manufacture customized jewelry. Furthermore, a one or two store operation usually lacks the scale in order to make such an operation profitable, and the wholesalers who supply their jewelry are focused on selling existing (and not customized) jewelry through their pipeline. For an online jeweler, customization can be a point of differentiation around which the company was developed. And in the same way that local jewelers historically built their business by knowing the tastes of their local clientele, online jewelers have established their businesses based on the ability to source jewelry from a broad range of international suppliers to improve cost efficiencies and create product differentiation.

Product Selection: As with customization, product selection is another area where local jewelers face challenges when competing with online jewelers. All an online jeweler needs to do to add a new product is to upload a picture and description of the product. A local jeweler, on the other hand, must physically obtain the product and then merchandise it in-store. The ease in which new products can be added and removed enable online retailers to add and then tweak entire product lines with ease, facilitating much more fluid merchandising opportunities. This issue is magnified when it comes to loose diamonds. Online stores can hold a virtual list of diamonds, thus enabling them to exhibit tens of thousands of loose diamonds for sale. Needless to say that no brick and mortar store can hold such inventory.

Improved Product Displays: In 1999, most online shoppers accessed the Internet through a dial up modem. Today, with almost all shoppers using broadband Internet,and advancements in 3D imaging and graphic displays, shoppers can really see how the ring or necklace will look.

Better Customer Service: One of the reasons for the improved shopper confidence is undoubtedly the improved customer service. In 1999, most shoppers had to log off an eCommerce website and their dial-up Internet service in order to free up their phone line to make the phone call to call customer service, if the website even published a number to call. Today, most online retailers offer shoppers a range of options, including real-time chat, FAQs and toll free numbers to customer service, all available 24/7, and often in several languages. Along with these pre-shopping services, online shoppers also benefit from free shipping from many online retailers on many items, and very liberal return policies.

Though social and mobile shopping applications are also helping all online retailers, including jewelers, it’s the aforementioned improvements in online retailing which are driving the newfound interest and investment in online jewelry companies. Yes, Ms. Monroe certainly had it right, but watch out girls, diamonds just may be an investor’s new best friend.

Read more:

Gemvara keeps on flourishing!

Gemvara, the online consumer driven jewelry design website just announced a third round of venture capital investment. This time for 15 million! In the current environment, this represents that venture companies see something very big for Gemvara! Read More

Ready for the Gen Y tsunami, jewelers?

This article is reposted from the July 21, 2010 edition of National Jeweler and is written by Jan Brassem.

Prepare yourself, jewelers. Here comes Generation Y (aka Gen Y), 74 million big-spending consumers, born between 1978 and 1995, who inspired a recent Gen Y Forum purported to be “the largest gathering of prestige marketers in North America.”

The forum’s official goal was to discuss the “characteristics, influence and brand affinities of tomorrow’s affluent consumers.”

In other words, the aim was to determine how Gen Y consumers make buying decisions–an ambitious task indeed.

In case you didn’t know, the 74 million Gen Y members purchase, directly or indirectly, $200 billion worth of goods or services a year, five times more than their parents did at the same age.

There are now more Gen Y members than there are baby boomers, and this demographic will represent 50 percent of the total U.S. workforce by 2015. Oh, did I mention that within the next five years, the Gen Y consumer will provide the biggest revenue source for any industry you can name?

The forum consisted of 22 thought-leaders from diverse fields, including a bureau chief for The Economist, the publisher of Teen Vogue, the chief of digital marketing for Microsoft and a member of the U.S. State Department, among others.

All of these “rainmakers” agreed that Gen Y members are technologically sophisticated shoppers who were probably using computers before their first day of school.

The computer became the “training wheels” for this group, which is often called the “Internet Generation.” It was also clear among the forum leaders that the technologically adept Gen Y consumer would make purchasing decisions using high-tech tools.

In a nutshell, here’s a rundown of some of the important points discussed. (The college marketing students I teach will wrestle with the rest.) Much of the information discussed at the event is the result of extensive U.S. and international market research.

Speedy decision-making: “Business will be as usual, but much faster,” was a common theme at the meeting. Simply put, the shopping process goes something like this: They click, they browse, they buy. It will be the retailer’s responsibility to keep up.

Design trends: Product design can no longer be developed by committees, research teams or in staff meetings. Such groups take too long to reach consensus, and styles change too fast. What a company should do is develop a network of blogs and tweets to inform styling decisions. Besides being inexpensive, these interactive forums allow for speed and dexterity.

An investment: Gen Y consumers see luxury products as investments, not as indulgences. They do not have an appreciation for “trendy” styling, and favor more “classic” designs. When they purchase an item, they generally use it. (It will not be placed in a drawer.) They expect exceptional quality.

Parents as reference: These young consumers consider themselves to be “equal opportunity buyers,” with an unspoken motto that “We buy the same as our parents, except … we want more.” Heritage plays no part in design, styling or reference decisions. While their parents considered luxury to be something special, Gen Y consumers understand luxury as something that they deserve.

Bling is blung: Ostentation is clearly out, and subtlety is in. Gen Y jewelry consumers seek simple designs that are cool, hip and “in the know.” Some visual expression is important, but it is not key.

Purchase rationale: Gen Y consumers have a need to add an emotional rationale to their buying decisions. For example, when purchasing a pendant, the shopper requires–as a rule–an additional use for the piece. She wants to be able to wear it to work, and to a party.

Reference groups: Positive feedback, (real or imagined) from their reference group is arguably Gen Y’s most important decision criteria. Whomever their peer group is–be it colleagues, friends, or fellow club-goers–acceptance by that group will close the sale.

Sale vs. deal: Beware of putting items on “sale.” Gen Y consumers consider that word to be the radioactive kiss of death. They strongly prefer the word “deal” as a way to communicate bargains or price reductions. Getting a great deal sounds–to their ears, anyway–better than getting something on sale.

Blogs and more blogs: The new–and hopefully permanent–Internet-based marketing vehicle is the blog. The blog is inexpensive to set up and maintain and its uses are abundant. Almost in unison, the thought-leaders at the forum expressed the conviction that blogs were the marketing tool of tomorrow–if not today. To be a successful Internet “player,” your store or site should be called out on a minimum of 25 blogs today and at least 250 in the future.

For those who are not Gen Y members, your knowledge of technology may be strained. Mine was. It is our job to become current in this technology and understand the negative marketing implications if we don’t. Let’s face it, we could end up in the same category as hand-held calculators and in-store flyers.

Major advancement in online jewelry sales

This idea is a major move forward in the world of online jewelry sales. A  step in overcoming the anxiety of not being able to see and feel what you are buying on the internet. If this company can make these “samples” nice enough to really do the selling once received, this company has hit a homerun! If you are a brick and mortar only operation, it is time to take the internet seriously or buy some stock in Eternity Diamonds .

Alloy Samples – A Good Strategy?

Ostbye Signature Display

Ostbye Signature Display

Following article was published by Abe Sherman of the “BIG” group.

Link to Website

An increasing number of bridal manufacturers are selling alloy and CZ rings as samples to augment the jeweler’s bridal selection. Is this an idea whose time has come? There have been articles and blogs written about what has become known euphemistically as Brass & Glass addressing this issue. Some contend that this is a strategy that will undermine what a ‘fine’ jewelry store is supposed to be. Those speaking against the concept believe the potential damage that could be done to our industry would include allowing non-industry interlopers to swoop in and take over your bridal business. If they had ever worked behind the counter and walked a couple through the myriad issues concerning her perfect ring, I think they would realize there is little chance that the corner grocery store will be setting up a bridal department anytime soon…After the third or fourth messed up special order, they would ship the whole thing back and stick with selling melons.
Not too long ago, I would have thought this to be a bad idea myself. A ‘real jeweler’ should have an assortment of ‘real inventory’. But studying the realities of our industry for the past decade and getting down to what our issues are today, I have rethought this idea and believe that it is right for many, although not all, retailers.
As we all know, our industry has a cash flow as well as an inventory problem. Manufacturers, even more than retailers are being hit on several fronts:
1. Very slow payments
2. Few stock orders are being placed
3. Fewer still opening orders
4. Retailers reluctance to re-order fast selling inventory
Retailers are loath to introduce a new line, especially in a capital intensive area like bridal today. We must consider that much of their investment does not sell out of the showcases. Instead it needs to be special ordered for metal, color, head size or finger size. What we have is, in effect, a showcase of samples. They just happen to be “live” samples at a much higher price. The fact that these are ‘real’ samples, instead of alloy samples is the point of contention. I completely understand the arguments, especially from the sales reps and manufacturers who historically have walked out of an account with a $50,000 stock order: they believe this will kill their business.
Add to this that more JBT ratings are declining every week (3 is the new 2), and know the manufacturers are being pressured by their banks not to ship. Everyone is very nervous about making new sales, but they are more nervous about getting paid.
While I agree that in the short term, this will take a bite out of the potential incoming cash from the larger stock orders, the reality is very few jewelers are placing large stock orders anyway and the retailers are sitting on merchandise that continues to age. Having inventory isn’t the issue, jeweler’s showcases are chock full of inventory. But that inventory must remain relevant and ‘stock-balancing’ our way out of it isn’t a likely scenario.
Expanding your bridal selection by introducing alloy samples as a portion of your inventory needs to be done with a plan. It won’t be adequate to merely put these rings in trays to fill your showcases. You need to have separate displays, preferably that stand apart from your regular inventory, and have a well rehearsed script for your staff to use.
Some of the key points of using alloy samples are:
1. Significantly expands your bridal department selection
2. Investment in new styles costs pennies on the dollar
3. Immediate return on your investment (sell one ring, pay for 100)
4. Constant replenishment of relevant styles
5. Every ring is custom made for that client – a huge selling feature
6. Eliminates the Exit Strategy issues with branded lines that no longer fit your store
7. Customers can borrow samples to show “Mom”
8. Duplicate rings can be provided in alloy for travel
9. Cuts down on the need to increase inventory and therefore costly insurance
10. Makes outside Bridal shows far less risky
Johanna had some additional thoughts, so I’m adding these separately:
1) Alloy samples, particularly of styles that should not be sized, keep the jeweler from being tempted to do the sizing and mess up the ring. They force the jeweler to do the right thing and special order to fit.
2) Some categories such as eternity bands, really only make sense as alloy samples since they cannot be sized. If you stock live product you could never have the selection of styles you could with alloy.
3) If I were the retailer I would stock my sizable best sellers and have the rest in alloy. I think it can easily be explained to customers that for structural reasons, it is better to special order from the alloy samples.
Our sense of who we are as merchants, that the jewelry we carry defines us, will turn some people off to carrying alloy samples, and we understand this. But for those of you who are looking to expand your positions within the bridal department while keeping your investment low, this is a strategy that you might want to seriously consider. I believe this will be a part of most jewelers’ bridal inventory and if positioned correctly within your store, should significantly add to your bridal sales. Give us a call if you’d like to discuss which suppliers to use for this project.

More wisdom from Seth Godin

Risk and reward chartThe following is some wisdom from Seth Godin, who always makes sense to me. Seth Godin’s blog

It’s easy to to adopt the policy of avoiding risk at all costs, that whenever possible, the products you launch or the engagements you have should be flawless and without downside.
Here’s the problem: in most endeavors, a small increase in risk can double the reward. It’s the second doubling of reward that brings serious risk with it. But the first leap is relatively painless.
In the chart above, notice that going from point A to point B brings almost no incremental risk. It might feel scary, but rationally, it’s not. Doubling reward again from B to C, though, brings significant incremental risk. It’s this second doubling that gets you through the Dip, that leads to a breakthrough, that makes you remarkable.
But I’m not even talking about that. I’m just hoping you’ll warm up by making the tiny leap of avoiding all risk. Riskless is hardly worth your effort.