Rapaport Magazine

Attracting Holiday Shoppers


By Phyllis Schiller

The 4Cs are not the only things that make a piece of diamond jewelry a sales winner. In an ongoing series, Rapaport Magazine explores the “3Ws” — what’s selling, what’s not and why — by going straight to the people who really know — jewelry retailers. Each month, we ask a sampling of retailers to comment on the important issues that are facing the industry today. Here is what they had to say when asked in mid-October: “Are you seeing any early holiday shoppers? When will you kick-start the season in your store?”

Philip Faulk, Owner
Jerger Jewelers

Thomasville, Georgia

“I haven’t seen any Christmas shoppers yet, but I have noticed an increase in traffic, mainly because the weather has started turning cooler. It was in the nineties for the first week of October and that always tends to keep people away.

“Our holiday promotions usually start a little later. We’re in a historic district — we’ve been in business since 1857 and our store and furnishings date from 1885. The merchants association has a Victorian Christmas over two nights during December and we stay open for that. We do advertise in a local magazine. And we have billboards on the highways coming into town from Tallahassee, Florida — probably 50 percent of our business is from Tallahassee.”

Bill Craig, Owner
Craig’s Fine Jewelry

Ridgefield, Connecticut

 “We usually start advertising Thanksgiving weekend. We will be changing our ad on the hometown newspaper webpage to include diamonds for holiday gift buying. We live in a population where most people are already married. So we’re going to start promoting bigger diamond jewelry for men to upgrade their wives’ engagement rings. And we’ll advertise it in the online edition of the sports page, on Facebook, in the sports sections, where the husbands would see it.

“We will participate in the downtown area’s annual Holiday Stroll, to be held on December 2 and 3 — last year, we had 1,600 people through our doors. It’s a fabulous event. I’m expecting a better Christmas this year and last year was our best Christmas ever.”

Tom Wright, President/co-owner
Wright’s Jewelers

Lincoln, Nebraska

“We’re not seeing a lot of early bird shoppers but we are seeing people do planning, especially remounts or restyling of jewelry to be passed on as a keepsake Christmas present. We’ve seen that more customized business.

“We’re kind of traditionalists and we don’t really jump into decorating or major promotion of Christmas until after Thanksgiving. We are planning our annual Christmas open house in early December.”

Robin Hunt, Owner
Roger Hunt & Son Fine Jewelry

Ocala, Florida

“We’re seeing a few holiday shoppers. They’re looking for something specific, something more customized. We’ve always had layaway. And we’ve started doing some newspaper advertising for Christmas.”

Paul Boswell, Estate Director
Bryant & Sons, Ltd.

Santa Barbara, California

“We have seen some of our regular clientele come in to do preliminary shopping, either on their own or in response to our contacting them. For those I have a long relationship with, I might let them know about specific pieces that have come in, something that’s similar to what they’ve looked at in the past or that matches a previous purchase, such as earrings or a bracelet.

“Our holiday advertising usually starts the end of October, beginning of November. It includes local magazines and newspaper. And we hold by-invitation in-store events every Sunday from Thanksgiving weekend through Christmas, for specific vendors.”

Brad Koen, Co-Owner
Joe Koen & Son Jewelers

Austin, Texas

“I don’t think there’s been a huge increase in people thinking about holiday shopping right now. But it’s still kind of early. And business has not gotten any better so I’m not that optimistic.

“We’re not planning any in-store events because they cost money. But we are participating in the Junior League of Austin’s annual Christmas Affair event held the week before Thanksgiving. We’ve done it for 15 years. It’s a good thing for us; it gets our name out. After that, probably Thankgiving week, we’ll switch our radio blasts — which we record ourselves and which are promoting buying gold right now — to include Christmas.”

Dennis Hopman, Marketing Director
Hopman’s Jewelers

Elkhart, Indiana

“We’ve had a small percentage of early bird Christmas shoppers. Of that small percentage, about half are actually buying. We do layaways and offer a lot of custom special orders.

“We’re still in the midst of working on our holiday promotions. We’ve done some and are going to be doing some more, including multimedia advertising, from TV to newspaper inserts. We’re optimistic for an equal or slightly better holiday over last year.”

Dan Wixon, Owner
Wixon Jewelers

Bloomington, Minnesota

“We’re not seeing many early holiday shoppers but business is substantially up over the past couple of years, so that goes a long way in itself. We don’t do layaway; that’s not us. We have a very high-end clientele and a very high average sale. We have Patek and Rolex and large diamonds and sophisticated colored gemstone jewelry.

“We do a really top-shelf watch show at the end of October and after that we start focusing on the holiday. We have a holiday event in late November. We don’t push Christmas here too early.”

Deborah Chevalier, Store Manager
Hardy’s Jewellers

Virginia Beach, Virginia

“We are not seeing any early bird shoppers. We’re doing email blasts and social media right now and then more of the traditional marketing will pick up around Thanksgiving. And that’s when we see holiday shopping start. We are going to have a couple of events in December — a trunk show and a cocktail event.”

Adam Gorman, President
Gorman Jeweler

Washington. D.C.

“I don’t usually start seeing any interest in holiday shopping until probably Thanksgiving. But what we have been seeing is people coming in for the past two to three weeks to shop bridal because they want to propose in December and it takes time to pick out the diamonds and rings.

“We use a multimedia approach for the holidays. We are gearing our online ads and some of our print ads to be a little more holiday focused in mid-November. We do a great in-store group designer show the first weekend of December, where we invite up to 12 of the artists and designers we work with on a regular basis to come in with their entire collections. It’s a fantastic kick-off for the holidays. I’m cautiously optimistic and think it could be a decent season. I expect that it will be better than 2010 and certainly better than the year prior to that.”
















Article from the Rapaport Magazine - November 2011. To subscribe click here.

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