Notes on Selling and Saving from Theft
Tips from Jewelry Stores

Sales are sparkling at jewelry stores, and theft prevention techniques don’t impact the attractiveness of the displays and good personal service that help elevate sales. Those are the overall shiny facts at jewelry shops of all kinds, according to store officials interviewed for this article.

At Platt Boutique Jewelry in Los Angeles, Calif., Owner Natasha Tisammerman said improving jewelry sales is due to both social media and in-store displays as well as to highly personalized service. “We do a lot of Instagram to get followers and that leads to more people coming into the store.” She added that “We are top sellers in engagement rings, that’s our specialty, and we are known for that, as well as for our personal one-on-one service. In the store, along with display, offering good customer service is key.” According to Tisammerman “We have a lot of referrals. It’s very important to have good word of mouth for that reason; it’s important what one person tells the next because that is what drives business,” she noted. “For displays, having good lighting in our cases is also important.” However, she sees the biggest challenge in selling jewelry as “gaining the customer’s trust. Not everyone knows a lot about diamonds and other gems, so you need to explain to them. You have to educate the client on what they are purchasing, because it is a lot of money. You want them to understand things such as the clarity of a stone and carat weight.” To prevent theft at her 2,300-square-foot store, Tisammerman relies on keeping cases locked and a guard present at the store. “Our store is very high-end so we need to do that in order to deter theft and keep everything safe. There are no particular challenges to prevention however.”

Alaskan-made knives at the Alaska Mint. Regarding jewelry theft prevention “You have to decide if it’s safe to hand over a piece of jewelry or leave it in the case,” the owner said.

In Fairbanks, Alaska, at Gold Rush Fine Jewelry, Office Manager Laura Stauner said the independent jewelry store is known for having a lot of handmade work. “We don’t do thousands of each design. As to what sells best for us, everything is individual. Our designs are different and unique, but what we are best known for is gold nugget jewelry.” Agreeing with Tisammerman in Los Angeles, she concurs that “A big part of boosting sales is about having good word of mouth. We are the oldest jewelry store in Fairbanks, and we are well known for our custom work and our service.” Along with that strong service and a focus on unique merchandise, she explained that store does use social media and also advertises using traditional methods to draw customers. “But really the big things that increase sales are word of mouth and one-on-one interaction with our customers in the store.”

She explained that keeping window displays fresh is also important. “But you can’t make something look good in a display unless you have good quality jewelry to begin with, and we have that.” She added, “With the display, we always try to make sure the approach is personal. I’ve been in stores where the staff line up jewelry like soldiers, the pieces are in a row one after another. I think it’s important to let the jewelry speak for itself in terms of display.”

As far as preventing theft, it’s all about awareness, according to Stauner. “We stress with our staff to be aware and mindful of who you are helping and of others who are in the shop, especially when it is busy. There is always some difficulty in that, making sure that you are aware and alert.”

At Heart to Heart Fine Jewelry in Honolulu, Allen Park, jeweler, goldsmith, and gemologist has been working in jewelry for 38 years. “I think the combination of a nice display, and having the knowledge and backing to communicate information about the jewelry to the client, that’s what drives sales. Also, jewelry has evolved quite a bit in that it needs to be more unique, and that’s important too when it comes to sales. We get a lot of client feedback in terms of what they want and are looking for. There’s lots more creativity involved in selling jewelry today, and we can offer them that.” He explained that the store does best with rings as opposed to pendants or earrings. “Engagement and wedding rings, anniversary gifts, and fashion rings, as well as redesigning old jewelry as rings, we do a lot of all of that.”

Rings on display at the Alaska Mint. The right lighting keeps the merchandise sparkling, according to the owner.

Park feels that the only real challenge with displaying jewelry is “to find out what works well for you. There are so many different items and display styles available, you just have to use trial and error.” As to theft prevention, he said “having the experience and knowledge of what to look out for, looking for any tell-tale signs in people, that’s a challenge you need to overcome. As long as you do so, then it’s really just having the right security systems up and in place in a store.

Gunnar Robuck, owner of the Alaska Mint in Anchorage, Alaska, said display techniques should focus on “what you want to emphasize. If I wanted to sell more of a specific item in a store, I would decide to commit more to it with a bigger display. I think it is also important to keep like-items together and display a big selection of them.” For Robuck “Keeping the jewelry safe is always a challenge to some extent, because you have to play out individual scenarios as they come at you. You have to decide if it’s safe to hand over a piece of jewelry or leave it in the case. And then in terms of a display, lighting is always a challenge. Every few years, when new lights come out, the whole store needs to be revamped. It’s important to show off the sparkle and the true color of the gems. You want to get everything to sparkle.” Along with creating attractive displays in the store, Robuck also relies on social media to promote his jewelry selection and increase sales.

A jewelry case at the Alaska Mint in Anchorage, Alaska. The owner said bigger displays sell more jewelry.

And in Redondo Beach, Calif., at Finley’s Jewelry, General Manager Jeremey Hall echoed other jewelry store staff members: “Selling more jewelry is based on using a combination of display techniques and good word of mouth. We have been around since 1924, so our customers know about us. When it comes to display, we group lots of like-items together, such as both new and estate jewelry. We also cluster items by the color of stones. Each big holiday we focus on the seasonal displays.” To prevent theft, he said, “We definitely keep everything locked up in the vault at night, and we start over every morning. That helps us to look at our displays with fresh eyes and keep things constantly evolving, but it also takes up a lot of our day. When we’re open, preventing theft is more about being aware in the store, keeping the cases locked up, and being aware of where things are in each of the cases at any given time.” He said the 2,200-square-foot-shop has no real challenges in terms of creating displays. “We have lots of room, and our cases are all LED-lit, 360-degrees all around the tops of the cases.”

In short, keeping merchandise safe at jewelry stores is primarily about awareness and utilizing locked display cases; raising sales is based on strong displays, good word of mouth, and knowledgeable, personal customer service as well as offering beautiful jewelry.

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