All that glitters…can be very tempting to would-be thieves. At jewelry stores nationwide, store staff members discuss their techniques for loss prevention, while at the same time adhering to a strong philosophy of stellar customer service. From security systems to customer observation, to simply interacting well with customers on a personal level, managers and owners offer their tips to stop theft in its tracks.
At Braidy Jewelry in Phoenix, Ariz., Store Manager Monda, who goes solely by her first name, said, “Like any jewelry store, we have security cameras that help to deter theft. Beyond that, we really believe in letting our clients have a good time and look around the store. We also engage with them personally, which helps our clients to connect with us.” She said the most popular items in her store include Tag Heuer watches and Pandora-brand jewelry, but the shop has not had any jewelry theft issues with this or other merchandise. And she doesn’t expect the shop ever will. “We really have wonderful clients, and have no issues,” she enthused. “Our store is family-owned, and that personal touch and relationship which we have with our customers, they really love that. They love that we are a family-owned business.” That relationship, at least in part, contributes to successful loss prevention, she said.
Also in Phoenix, Ariz., at Hinrichsen Jewelers, Owner Keith Hinrichsen sells many rings, bracelets, and necklaces – and while he enjoys his customers and has hired many long-term customers as staff members, he remains vigilant, keeping a steady eye on customers that he does not know. He also relies on technology such as cameras to keep his store safe.
“We have advanced security both inside and outside the store,” he noted. But he believes that equally as important as his security features is “having a personal touch with customers, interacting with them, that is also key,” he reported, in terms of successful loss prevention in his 1,500-square-foot shop. Hinrichsen has never had an issue with theft or robbery, but he remains watchful, and is personally armed, as well.
In the charming small town of Coupeville, Wash., at Aqua, Owner and Buyer Christian Chambers said in his 1,000-square-foot shop, he’s learned over time that “nicer pieces made with sterling silver or gold plated sell much better than costume jewelry.” With these higher end items being strong sellers, however, comes the fact that the jewelry could be more valuable to would-be thieves as well. He said he always keeps an eye on his jewelry. “For me, a big thing is that when you put jewelry on display, put it out in a methodical way, so if you look over at it, you can see if there is something missing. In my earring display, I always have three or five pairs to a row and if there are suddenly only four pairs to a row, then I know something has been picked up from there.” Chambers asserted that “being more social with customers helps prevent theft, and so does being connected with other businesses in town.” He noted, “We keep in touch with businesses around us through a text message string. So, if one person has been hit with a theft, in that message string we tell others on the street, and that helps us keep our eyes open.”
In Bend, Ore., Laurie Berger, owner of Cascade Jewelers, has been in business for 44 years at the same location. She frequently sells one-of-a-kind pieces that she makes in the shop, as well as selling watch bands, batteries, and performing jewelry repair. Many of her customers are long term. “My top tip to prevent jewelry theft is to make good eye contact with your customer. Interact with them, greet them when they come in, make a connection,” she related.
She said she is very fortunate to not have experienced any theft stories at her diminutive 125-square-foot shop, and feels that her interpersonal style accounts at least in part for that. She said that she does have to be conscious of the potential for loss, however. “We pay more attention to detail on any items we take in. We are just more cautious, and take exact measurements of stones, and things like that.”
At Mythos La Jolla Jewelry, Gems, and Minerals in the beachside community of La Jolla, Calif., Co-Owner John Tuncel said his shop sells a mix of rocks and minerals as well as jewelry, with his best-sellers focused on earrings made with natural gemstones. He has many small pieces such as hand-held crystals, as well as earrings, bracelets, rings, and pendants in the shop.
“To prevent theft, we have security cameras as a deterrent. We don’t really attend to everyone who comes in the store one-on-one, unless someone says they need help. We greet them of course, and we will keep an eye on them from time to time, but we don’t stand next to them in the shop or constantly watch over them if they don’t want our help,” he related. In his 2,000-square-foot shop, he finds it’s most important for the success of his business to essentially “ ‘go with the flow.’ We’re aware that some people will shoplift. We’ve had experiences with that, or we have heard about it from others, but I just don’t believe in watching people like they are criminals or potential criminals. We try to keep an eye out, but that’s about it.” Tuncel agreed with other shop owners that creating a friendly, personal, and welcoming environment goes a long way toward preventing theft.
In short, jewelry store owners and managers primarily feel that while security features such as cameras are important for their own peace of mind, making a connection with customers through personal interaction is just as valuable to put a stop to theft. Also valuable: awareness. Just keeping an eye out in the shop is almost uniformly regarded as being an equally important aspect of loss prevention, leading to a shiny gem of a sales future for stores.