Saturday, April 19, 2014


Do you ever wonder about ways you can improve your business?  You sit and think about it, but you’re just not sure what to do?  As I write this article, the New Year has recently started and I find myself being reflective about things, but looking forward as well.  Many things we tried in our jewelry store worked well last year, but some of the marketing, strategies and events were clunkers just like any other business has.
The title of this article is “How to reinvent the wheel in your store,” but perhaps it should have been “How not to reinvent the wheel.”  What do I mean by that statement?  Simple - I’m a big fan of the “Modeling Process” or in other words, copying the successful systems, attitudes and behaviors of those I wish to emulate or be more like. Just like you, I have my heroes in the jewelry biz and in the retail world at large.
One of the things I find helpful to stimulate new ideas is visiting other successful jewelry stores to see what they’re doing and to see if I can implement some of the ideas I learn in my own store.  No one, and I repeat no one, has all the answers and we should all keep learning our trade each and every day.  If we don’t do this, it’s my opinion that our business could cease to exist as our competitors locally and not so local, aka the Internet, Blue Nile, etc., move forward with innovative ideas.
Perhaps the best marketing advice I can give to any jeweler seeking to improve their store’s operation is to get out and visit other jewelry stores.  On one recent visit to a store near our vacation condo I saw how this jeweler had integrated a very successful “Estate Jewelry” operation in their store that obviously set their store apart from others in their region.  This made me question myself - why I had never seriously put in a estate jewelry case in our store.  I also noticed this jeweler marketed to his client mailing list with postcards and special offers to those clients who love this type of jewelry.  Duh!!!  Why haven’t I been doing this???
With thanks to David Geller for inspiring me to do this many years ago, I modeled one of his behaviors in that I started sending “Thank You” notes to every customer who made a purchase or had a repair done in my store. With each of these thank you notes also came a gift certificate in whatever amount I deemed appropriate that the client could use on their next purchase.  These days this is quite easy due to the advent of POS systems such as Edge, Winjewel and many others making it simply a “click of the button.”
One of the things I’ve been paying particular attention to lately in other jewelry stores, as well as other retailers, is the use of text marketing where you have a customer send a text message to your service and a special offer, gift certificate or message pops up on their smartphone.  I’m experimenting with this as I write this and think there is some merit to it that we jewelers should incorporate ourselves.
As we continually become a more smartphone dominant society instead of desktop computer or laptop, it also seems very important to make sure our store’s websites are optimized for viewing on a smartphone.  Over the holiday season, it absolutely amazed me how many younger clients came in my store with a picture of a ring from some website that they wanted to purchase in my store.  I was very glad of this, but also kind of ashamed that I hadn’t optimized my own website sooner!  Note to self... hey self, get off your butt and get your website optimized for viewing on the small screen!!!
One more thing - if you’ve not had the opportunity, go visit a Chico’s ladies store.  My wife goes there often. Ok, maybe too often, but watch these folks in action. They are simply some of the best at clienteling I’ve ever seen!  A few days after a purchase, my wife gets a card saying “Thanks” along with a special offer to come in again.  Did I mention they also know her preferences and call her anytime something has come in that she might like?  They also call her anytime there is a special event and give her a FREE gift just for coming in. Plus, they never forget a birthday and send a gift certificate for that as well.  How often do you do this for your clients?  Another note to self... start clienteling like Chico’s does and watch the bank account grow!
Most successful retailers belong to several organizations and often get great ideas, brainstorming sessions and many more benefits simply by being a part of them. I currently belong to four groups, two of which are jewelry specific and two made up of all types of retailers. It never ceases to amaze me the knowledge that is shared and how much I come away with. I suggest you find a group that you enjoy being a part of. Go out and try some until you find the right one.  Like me, you may have to try several. Let some go, but by all means find one you can learn and grow with!!
These are just a few ideas I’ve been thinking about and hey, I really didn’t have to reinvent the wheel either. I just borrowed ideas from others and found a way to apply them in my store.  Can you do the same? I’ll bet you can and probably even better than me! Drop me a line sometime at and let me know what you come with. Maybe we can brainstorm something together! 
Good luck until next time...
Dr. Bill

Friday, February 14, 2014


Twenty years ago my wife and I opened our jewelry store in downtown Hudson, NC.  Like many of you, we got started on a “wing and a prayer.”  I had been running a store in nearby Lenoir, which was a chain operation and had only moved to the area two years prior.  My wife was a hairdresser and like many young couples, we had the dream of owning a business.
Thanks to the customer following I had built up, a little start up money and my wife’s commitment to do whatever, we got our jewelry store going.  Needless to say, things weren’t easy, but from day 1, the good Lord smiled on us and we developed a good trade of our own.
A few weeks into the whole thing, we were ready for our grand opening and that’s when it happened.... we heard one of our local competitors was going to try and knock our grand opening in the head with a huge media blast. Essentially, they were going to make our meager effort look like it got lost.
Fortunately, we have lots of friends in local media and I was tipped off about the whole thing. So I waited and let “the other guy” blow his wad - and he did!  Right after this, we had our grand opening, which thankfully was successful.  What am I getting at by telling you this story?
No matter what, never give up!  Yes, its easy to get frustrated by your competitors, your lack of funds (at times) and all of the many other things that we jewelry store owners face, but let me say this, “PERSEVERE!”
One of the reasons I see so many jewelers being unsuccessful is that they give up on something way too easily; for example, new lines, new marketing, employees or themselves.  Stand tough no matter what you face and meet it head on - you’ll come out stronger on the other side!
Now twenty years into this whole thing, we find ourselves with one of the busiest and largest volume stores in our area.  We often get comments from others like, “How is it that you have this much traffic in such a small mountain town?”  “How do you do well over a million dollars a year in the environment you are in with the economy being what it is?”
All I can tell you is - “PERSEVERANCE!”  We stand tough when others give up and we take on jobs that often other jewelers refuse to do.  Investing in a laser welder, CAD/CAM technology, learning to market our store in different ways has made us successful.  We only have an average size store in a very, very small town that still surprises many readers when they stop by. But as I often say, “This is a jewelry store on STEROIDS!!”
One last word on competitors. I’m a huge fan of the late great football coach Vince Lombardi and the Green Bay Packers.  Good ‘ole Vince would make his players study the moves of his competition until they could almost predict the exact plays they would run and when they would run them.  He also made his players practice the moves and countermoves until it became second nature.
You see, I’m a firm believer that you should study what the large jewelry chains are doing as well as your local competition - shop them, learn their habits, know what they carry!  Then you can develop a plan that differentiates you from your competition.  By all means, make your store stand out in the crowd.
Maybe you are like we were twenty years ago and sometimes feel overwhelmed by people and circumstances. Don’t get caught up in worrying about what others are doing either. Let your competitors worry about what you’re going to do!  Let me encourage you to be like “The Little Engine That Could” and “PERSEVERE.” It’s what those at the front of the pack do!
'TIL Next Time,
Bill Warren

Monday, January 13, 2014

How To Bring In The Bucks When The Bucks Are Hiding!

Here is a short video shot by my friend Jim Ackerman of the Marketing Wizards Alliance a year or so ago. In this video, Jim & I talk about how we've been able to consistently bring in the bucks in my jewelry store using "Out of the Box" as well as "Tried & True" marketing principles.  If these ideas worked for me and allowed me to win a marketing contest and a FREE trip to Park City, Utah...they will work for you!

Watch the video and learn at:

Let me know your thoughts...happy learning!


Bill Warren, DDJM (Doctor of Dynamic Jewelry Marketing)

P.S. - if you'll follow the ideas I've outlined in this success could happen to you!