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Everything Starts With A Stone

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Time to Open your Website for Business

If you are not on the web with your jewellery business then you are leaving profits on the table that could otherwise be flowing in your direction. Even the smallest stores can easily start selling online using an ecommerce website of their very own, and at a cost that is much lower than you might think. All it takes is a little bit of creativity and you’ll soon be enjoying the benefits of making money off of two storefronts – one that is “bricks and mortar” and another that is on the world wide web!

Getting started with an online storefront

Even if you have never had any experience with ecommerce before, it is incredibly easy to get started with an online storefront. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of website providers out there who can provide you with an easy, turnkey solution if that is what you want. Or, if you want to go a little bit farther you work with your website provider to add in more customisation, personalisation, and so on.

Look for a website provider with a demonstrated track record in putting together websites that not only look good, but that also deliver on sales. Check with a range of providers such as your local internet service provider (ISP) or local media design firm.. You can also do a simple search online and come up with hundreds and hundreds of different providers as well.

Another really good way to find a website provider is to go to some of the online ecommerce sites you like to visit and look down at the bottom of the page. There you will find information about the company hosting the site and very likely about the company that designed the site as well. In general, if you find a site easy to navigate, easy to use, and easy to buy from, that provider would be a good one to consider for your own online storefront.

It takes more than just a website to make money

Having your own ecommerce website is important, but so is promoting it to potential customers. Just as you advertise to attract customers to your “bricks and mortar” store, so too should you promote your website to attract customers there as well. Most website providers also offer promotional, advertising, and search engine optimisation services to go along with their website development services. It’s a good idea to take advantage of these services if you want to get your brand new website noticed and making money as fast as possible. Remember: You don’t need to send thousands of pounds to get your website up and running and you don’t need to spend hundreds of pounds on search engine optimisation. I’ll cover this topic at greater depth later.

You should also promote your website in every way possible as part of your regular advertising and marketing tactics. Add the URL of your website to every print advertisement, brochure, flyer, poster, and anything else you print up. Have your business cards updated to include the website address and also add the URL to your main storefront sign as well. You could even run a special advertisement announcing your new website that includes promotion or special offer for online customers.

In the end, adding an online storefront to your jewellery business is a really smart move because once it’s created the hardest part is over. A website is a terrific way to increase your revenue each month but it takes care and attention to detail to make it stand out from the crowd.

If you would like to find out more about setting up or promoting your business online, please contact me by email: Richard@thegembank.com

If you website is providing you a steady income alongside your traditional store, let us know. How have you made your website work for your business?

Please leave your comment below or read other peoples’.

Innovating With Colour

Fine jewellery is one of the most beautiful and emotional things in the world. Nothing makes a person feel special like a lovely piece of jewellery, and nothing evokes more feelings of love and happiness. A great deal of marketing and advertising effort is put into promoting traditional white/colourless diamonds as the preferred gemstone for fine jewellery, but more and more people are discovering that coloured gemstones and diamonds are just as beautiful and noteworthy.

You can increase your customer base and expand your business success by tapping into this rapidly growing fascination with coloured gemstones and diamonds. All it takes is a bit of creativity and some attention to detail to help your customers understand how much fun it is to be innovative with coloured gemstones.

Innovating with colour in many different ways

While it’s true that most people do not think of coloured gemstones as their first choice in fine jewellery, more and more people are beginning to look at using colour where they used to use white. You can take advantage of and encourage this trend by consistently finding ways to show coloured gemstones in a variety of looks, combinations, and settings.

Replace white with colour – A great way to start off with your innovative new approach is to start using coloured gemstones in places where you would otherwise use traditional white diamonds. Start promoting rings, necklaces, bracelets, and earrings that feature coloured stones as the central focal point. It is important to have a strong collection that can stand up on its own and not scatter pieces amongst your white diamond collection.

Pair colours in unique ways – Find unique ways to pair up different colours in different ways. Use coloured stones or diamonds, instead of white diamonds in a traditional. Or alternate white and coloured stones in an eternity ring. The list is truly endless.

Use colours in non-traditional ways – Think of situations where most people would normally choose white diamonds and show them what it looks like to use coloured gemstones instead. Some examples include using coloured gemstone jewellery with wedding gowns, cocktail dresses, and casual clothing.

Increase demand by increasing choice

Remember that when many people go searching for jewellery they look at what is displayed in the store and assume those are the latest trends. You can increase demand for coloured gemstones by increasing the number of them that you have on display.

Encourage customers to view coloured gemstones as a popular trend by offering numerous choices and options. Show engagement rings that include coloured gemstones, and display necklaces that combine colours in unique and attractive ways. Put coloured gemstone earrings right alongside and in the midst of traditional white diamond earrings as well.

Another excellent way to increase demand is to start wearing more coloured gemstones yourself. Give them as gifts to your family members so they will wear them more often as well. Get to know the people in your area who are fashion leaders and encourage them to try wearing coloured gemstones as well. Make coloured gemstones a popular new trend by treating them as if they already are a popular new trend. You’ll be amazed at how showing confidence in your product can help your customers feel relaxed about making their purchase, thereby increasing coloured gemstone sales and your profit!

What are your feelings about using coloured gemstones and diamonds and how have you brought these products to your customers’ attention?

Please leave your comment below or read other peoples’.

Unlocking the Profit Potential of Coloured Gemstones

Apart from beauty, individuality and sheer style, coloured gemstones have one more asset that should be most attractive to the you the seller: Profitability! In our modern world, though, many people do not even think about choosing coloured gemstones because they are so focused on traditional white diamonds and retailers are missing a trick by not promoting them more.

Figuring out how to market coloured gemstones successfully is an excellent way to diversify your business and expand your customer base, and dramatically improve your bottom line.

The basic aspects of marketing coloured gemstones

There are a number of basic aspects to marketing coloured gemstones. These include:

Familiarisation – Most people are simply not familiar with coloured gemstones, and those who do know a little bit about them often have grave misconceptions about their variety, their beauty, and their value. Your task is to familiarise customers and potential customers with the huge variety of coloured gemstones available by consistently presenting them as a fine jewellery option.

Show examples – Even if people become familiar with coloured gemstones, they often need help visualising just how they can be used as attractive and interesting jewellery. Help this process by consistently showing examples of coloured gemstones in a variety of ways. Display them in striking combinations, show how they look with various styles of clothing, and generally help your customers see exactly how coloured gemstones might fit into their lifestyle and their overall look.

Increase demand – Your customers will want to buy more coloured gemstones if they view these stones as desirable and in demand. You can increase demand by creatively promoting coloured gemstones on a consistent basis, even going so far as to hold “limited quantity” types of promotions and sales.

These may be the basics of marketing coloured gemstones, but they are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to successful promotion.

Creative ways to market coloured gemstones

Look for creative ways to market coloured gemstones as a desirable type of jewellery. There are plenty of ways to do this, limited only by your imagination. For instance:

Partner with a clothing retailer – Join forces with a clothing retailer to set up displays and examples in each other’s stores. You might provide them with a handful of coloured gemstone pieces to pair with certain outfits in their store, and they might provide you with a couple of mannequins with outfits on which you can display coloured gemstone pieces in your own store.

Supply pieces to fashion shows – Keep an eye out for any fashion shows that might take place in your area and volunteer to supply coloured gemstone pieces to accessorize the outfits in the show. Pay special attention to bridal shows because this is a huge untapped market for coloured gemstones. The right piece shown with the right wedding dress can really attract lots of new customers to your business.

Your call to action

What other ideas can you come up with to market your coloured gemstones? The best ideas are those that cost you little or no money and that show potential and existing customers the many practical applications for this kind of stunning jewellery. Try lots of different ways of promotion and keep track of which ones work the best. You just might be surprised at how easy it is to get potential customers to start flocking in to see the latest in coloured gemstone jewellery!

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Connecting With the Most Important People In Your Business

The most valuable commodity in your business is not your inventory of gemstones and jewellery. Rather, it is your database of past and current customers. If you want your business to stay profitable and succeed over the long term it is critical to make the most of this valuable base of customers by reaching out to them in a variety of ways. This kind of proactive outreach is the best way to stay connected with your customers, build and strengthen their loyalty, and keep them coming back for repeat business year after year after year.

What is the value of a past or current customer?

It may be hard to put an exact value on a past or current customer, but most business experts will tell you it costs anywhere from five to ten times more to attract a new customer than it does to keep an existing customer. This is a huge amount of money and should be a major driving force behind your efforts to reach out to your customer base.

Another way to measure the value of a past or current customer is to look at their past purchases, their potential future purchases, and the referrals or recommendations they give that attract new customers to your business. In fact, referrals and recommendations are the single biggest reason why most new customers will come into your business, just another example of how taking care of your current customers is an extremely cost effective way to bring in new business over the long term.

The best ways to reach out to your customer base

So how exactly can you reach out to your customer base efficiently and effectively? There are a number of methods you can use, both traditional and modern. Some examples include:

Regular contact – Maintaining regular contact with your customer base can be done in a huge variety of ways. You might send out a quarterly newsletter via regular mail or email, or send a message when you have a particularly interesting promotion or activity going on in the business. The key here is not to overdo it by bombarding customers with contact, but rather to “touch base” with them just enough to keep your business in their mind in a positive way.

Treat them as a friend – A good way to personalise your interactions with the customer base is to treat each one as you would a friend. Send a note to them on their birthday, remind them periodically that you’re happy to clean their fine jewellery for them at no charge, congratulate them on an anniversary, and other happy occasions.

Ask them for their preferences – In today’s world most people are bombarded with messages (especially email) each and every day, so ask each customer about their contact preferences. Do they want to receive email? Regular mail? A telephone call? And how often are they comfortable hearing from you – once a month? Every three months? Every six months? Once you know each customer’s contact preferences you can set up your outreach program to match each person’s preferences and comfort level.

These outreach efforts may not seem very important, but nothing could be further from the truth. What sets you apart as a small to medium size business is your ability to provide personalised attention to each customer, so when you use this characteristic to your advantage you are in a much better position to be successful.

What are you doing to maintain regular contact with your customers?

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Coloured Gemstones Thrive in Modern Fashion

For many decades, the utmost in glamour and beauty when it comes to gemstones has been the traditional white diamond. Much of this has been driven by large diamond companies actively promoting their gemstones, but in recent years there has been a resurgence in the popularity and demand for coloured gemstones as well.

The fact is that coloured gemstones are a thriving (and rapidly growing) part of the modern fashion world and you can take advantage of this terrific trend to further promote and expand your business opportunities.

The allure and attraction of coloured gemstones

Today’s modern fashion divas, celebrities, and movie stars are re-discovering what many people have known all along. That is, coloured gemstones are absolutely gorgeous and can be a stunning addition to any wardrobe. Take a look at any red carpet celebration and you’ll see plenty of well known people showing off their coloured gemstone accessories in prominent and beautiful ways.

For instance, at the 2008 Academy Awards we saw a very pregnant Cate Blanchett wearing a stunning combination of coloured stones in her necklace and earrings. The earrings were drop-shaped emeralds and the matching necklace combined emeralds, diamonds, and other textures. Another gorgeous star, Marion Cotillard, was noticeable with her fantastic cocktail ring that featured a large and beautiful yellow diamond. Even fashion icon Heidi Klum was wearing jewellery that featured coloured stones such as ruby, garnet, and pink sapphire.

The truth about coloured gemstones is that they are beautiful, attractive, and a wonderful fashion statement. You can use the modern trends of famous people wearing coloured gemstones as a way to introduce the idea to your customers and potential customers. Show them just how easy it is to combine coloured gemstones with just about any type of outfit. Create a style book to give them actual references so they’re not left trying to imagine what it might be like to mix things up a little. Younger buyers are especially interested in the fashion trends and statements of their favourite celebrities, so pay extra attention to what’s happening in that age range. It’s a great way to attract younger customers to your store and establish a relationship with them, greatly increasing the chances that they will keep coming back to you for their jewellery needs in the years to come.

Promoting coloured gemstones as a fashion statement

Nothing is ever going to replace the traditional white diamond in many people’s minds, but more and more people are finding coloured gemstones to be a beautiful and interesting addition to their jewellery choices. You can make the most of this trend by promoting coloured gemstones as both a fashion statement and an affordable way to bring some glamour into every person’s life.

Watch the news, go online or look at twitter for examples of celebrities wearing coloured gemstones and use that information as you promote your own coloured gemstones. Display pictures of famous people wearing coloured gemstone jewellery right next to your own examples of similar colours and jewellery combinations.

Have you used these kinds of strategies before? How have they worked?

Please leave your comment below or read other peoples’.

Driving Demand For Gemstones All Year Round

It is a common characteristic of the gemstone and jewellery business that some times of year are far busier than others. Christmas and Valentine’s Day are two of the biggest holidays, along with Mother’s Day. These holidays offer plenty of opportunities to attract customers and increase sales, but that’s not enough to keep your small to medium size business afloat for the entire year. What you need is to find a way to drive demand for gemstones all year round.

Something new for each month

Start by looking at the calendar year in a month by month way. For each month, take a look at any holidays you might emphasise (even if they are small or specialised). Build a plan around what you find, being creative in how you combine coloured gemstones with traditional white diamonds to attract customer attention and promote the purchase of fine jewellery.

For example, let’s look at January. This tends to be a slow month thanks to the post-Christmas let down from consumers who have spent a great deal of money on presents for that holiday. To help keep business moving in January think about promoting events such as:

  • New Year Inventory Clearance – Making way for new gemstones and jewellery means you can entice customers to come in looking for good prices on existing inventory
  • Twelfth Night Celebration – Celebrate the new year and traditional midwinter festival with a brightly coloured gemstone necklace, bracelet, or earrings. Make your window really shine

Another great way to drive demand each month is to celebrate birthstones.

These are just a few examples of ways to look at each month and find reasons to promote and encourage gemstone purchases of all kinds, whether big, small, or somewhere in between.

Birthstones and seasonal celebrations

Birthstones and the seasons of the year are two other terrific ways to promote gemstones and attract business year round. With the creative use of coloured gemstones and other interesting jewellery pieces you can keep customers coming back for more.

Birthstones are a really good fit for monthly promotions; let’s look at January once again as an example. The traditional birthstone for January is garnet, but the zodiac birthstone for Capricorn is ruby. Later on in the month comes Aquarius, which also has garnet as its birthstone. Take advantage of opportunities to present both garnet and ruby as birthstone options in jewellery such as earrings, bracelets, necklaces, or rings. While there may not be huge numbers of people with birthdays in the month of January, with the right kind of promotion you can make your business the “go to” place for gifts for those who celebrate a January birthday, or any other month for that matter.

Another way to promote demand year round is to take a seasonal approach. Use various shades of coloured stones to go along with the seasons of the year. For instance, emphasise yellow and orange sapphire, and opal in spring and emphasise aquamarine, and sky blue sapphire during the sunny months of summer. Follow the same pattern for autumn and winter, choosing combinations of coloured gemstones and diamonds that reflect the dominant colours of the season.

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Colour Combinations Grab Customer Attention

Grabbing the attention of customers and potential customers is a big part of your overall success. After all, if you can’t get them to notice your gemstones and your jewellery pieces you are not going to get them to actually make a purchase. Coloured gemstones can be a huge benefit in grabbing customer attention, so think about all of the creative ways you can use them to your advantage.

A splash of colour makes all the difference

Think about the advertisements you see in your local newspaper. Which ones attract your attention the most? Chances are it is the advertisements that contain a splash of colour. A headline, a border, or just a burst of colour off to the side is often all it takes to make one advertisement stand out from all the rest. Capturing attention in this way is a common approach in advertising and other promotional activities, and it can just as easily be used to attract attention and increase sales in the gemstone and jewellery business as well.

In the gemstone business, coloured gemstones are your version of a bright headline or border in a printed advertisement. Placing them strategically in places where you want to draw your customers’ attention will help you attract that attention and keep them looking. The key is to experiment with different ways of combining colour so that you gain the maximum benefit from the process.

Using colour combinations effectively

So how can you use coloured gemstones effectively? One way is to use different colour combinations to attract attention. For instance, you might combine several different shades of sapphires with either white diamonds or other coloured gemstones. Try using combinations of loose stones and specific pieces with combinations of colours; the loose stones are often the attention grabber, while the specific pieces help customers envisage just how beautiful and attractive it can be to combine stones together in their jewellery choices.

Another way to use colour combinations effectively is to adjust your displays based on the upcoming holiday or season of the year. For Valentine’s Day, emphasise different shades of rubies, pink sapphire, garnets and tourmaline, and for St. Patrick’s Day emphasise emeralds, green tourmaline, jade, and peridot. And at Christmas, which is one of the biggest gemstone buying holidays of all, mix up your emeralds, rubies, garnets, peridot, and other traditional Christmas colours.

Changing your colour combinations based on the season of the year is another way to use coloured gemstones to grab and keep customer attention. Spring is a bright time of year so think about combining yellows and oranges. Move into the summer months with sunny colour combinations as well as sky blues. As autumn comes along, adjust your colour combinations to reflect more oranges, browns and reddish tones. Even winter is a season where certain colours seem to go together well, such as black and white, and mixed fancy colours.

There is no single right or wrong way to combine colours, so take advantage of this freedom to be creative. Try different things along the way and watch to see which combinations tend to attract the most attention. The more you experiment with colour the more you’re going to attract the attention of customers and potential customers alike.

Please let me know what work has worked for you and what didn’t. Please leave your comment below or read other peoples’.

Building Customer Relationships One Gemstone At a Time

There are lots of ways to attract customers and make sales, if you have an unlimited advertising budget and are willing to spend it freely.

Relationship-based sales

As a small to medium sized business you have a tremendous advantage over your larger competitors and that is the opportunity to build customer relationships and create long term customer loyalty. You see, instead of just being a “number” walking in the door you have the ability to spend more time with each customer, getting to know them better and learning more about what they like, dislike, and are interested in knowing more about.

The more you get to know a customer, the more you can personalise the gemstone buying experience for them. You can offer specific gemstones that match their preferences (and their budget), and you can also offer suggestions for gemstones and combinations they might not otherwise have considered. The goal is to satisfy each customer so completely that they leave your business with strong positive feelings about the entire purchase process.

Even if the person decides not to make a purchase at that time, the time and attention you pay to a customer (and the personalised service you provide) is well worth it. Why? Because when that customer eventually does decide to make a purchase, the friendly and personalised attention they received from you makes them far more likely to come back to you to make their purchase.

Relationship sales is a long term investment

The most important thing to remember about relationship sales is that it is a long term investment in your business. The goal is to make the ongoing relationship a priority, building it up and strengthening it one gemstone at a time. If you can capture the loyalty of a young customer buying their first gemstone, as they move through life they’ll tend to come to you first the next time they are in the market for a gemstone. And each time they buy from you it’s a fresh opportunity to strengthen that loyalty further, thereby increasing your long term prospects for keeping them as a long term customer.

The key to successful relationship sales is to find ways to strengthen the relationship between sales opportunities as well. For instance, make it a policy to provide free cleaning of rings and other gemstone jewellery, anytime and with no questions asked. This encourages your customers (and even non-customers) to visit your store often. They appreciate the opportunity to keep their jewellery clean and sparkling, and you have the chance to treat them in a friendly, helpful manner. What’s more, they have a chance to browse around the store for a few minutes while their jewellery is being cleaned.

The bottom line is that relationship sales is a long term investment, serving each customer one gemstone (and one encounter) at a time. Each customer should be treated in a friendly and personalised way regardless of whether they are there to buy an expensive or inexpensive gemstone, or simply to browse and look around a bit. This is the kind of investment that will set your business apart from your competitors and keep it going strong for years to come.

What strategies have you put in place to build relationships with your customers that work? What have you tried that didn’t?

Please leave your comment below or read other peoples’.

Promoting Colour in Creative Ways

Diamonds are forever, or at least that’s what the major diamond companies continually try to hammer into the consumer’s mind. In the face of this kind of constant promotion, how can you successfully promote the beauty, value, and desirability of coloured gemstones?

Here are three ideas for promoting colour in creative (and effective) ways:

  1. Link colour to life. It’s all too easy to fall into the rut of old habits each day, especially in these challenging economic times when people feel compelled to “play it safe” with their finances. There’s no reason why coloured gemstones cannot be promoted as an easy, cost effective way to bring a little bit of colour and glamour to life.

    Create opportunities to talk about coloured gemstones every chance you get. For instance, you might speak to a local retailers’ association about the different ways a simple splash of colour can help spark interest and attract customers; team up with a local fashion retailer and pair a coloured gemstone necklace with an outfit in the display window, show how coloured stones can add a sense of glamour to even the most conservative business suit, or suggest different colours that can be used to create different feelings and emotional responses.

  2. Pair coloured gemstones to create distinct impressions. Show customers and potential customers several ways to pair and combine coloured gemstones for the purpose of creating specific effects and impressions. Take advantage of the drama of red rubies, for instance, by pairing them with pearls, sapphires, or lighter coloured rubies in a cluster setting. Or, show the rich colour of a dark sapphire combined with the glow of a yellow diamond, citrine, or the softer blue tones.

  3. Maximise the display power of coloured gemstones. The background colour used in your coloured gemstone displays can have a dramatic influence on the radiance and attractiveness of the gemstones. Whenever possible opt for strong and dramatic background colours, such as darkest black, purest white, emerald green, or royal blue. These strong colours combined with the right lighting will make coloured gemstones literally leap out at potential customers, highlighting their beauty and increasing their desirability.

    Remember, there is no single right way to promote interest in and attraction to coloured gemstones. The most important thing to keep in mind is to let your creativity lead the way; don’t settle for the same old displays, done in the same old ways, and don’t fall into the same old patterns of advertising or promoting the same gemstones in the same way each week. Try different pairings of colour, combine colours into different topics or themes, or take a chance and try something completely different to anything you’ve ever done before.

    With a bit of thought and open mindedness to trying new things, you’ll be pleasantly surprised at the many different ways you can successfully promote the beauty and desirability of coloured gemstones in creative ways.

Please add your suggestions by clicking here and let us know what works for you.

Important Aspect to Promoting Healthy Margins

The previous email I mentioned about how to use colour to protect your margins. In this email, I will talk about an important aspect to promoting healthy margins.

Promoting colour to promote healthy margins

Coloured gemstones give you a promotional edge when it comes to attracting customers, closing the sale, and ensuring healthy margins for your business. Be bold about showing plenty of colours in creative ways in order to attract and keep the attention of your customers. Remember, because coloured gemstones provide you with higher profit margins, the more you can entice customers to buy them (either separately or in combination with each other coloured stones or traditional white diamonds) the better you will be at protecting your margins at a healthy level for your business.

Some retail experts will tell you to keep coloured gemstones entirely separate from traditional white diamonds in your displays, but this is outdated advice that really doesn’t work. Yes, you’ll still want to have your gemstones laid out in general categories, but it’s a great idea to mix some coloured gemstones in with your traditional white diamonds. This serves a number of purposes:

  1. It allows the customer to see the terrific assortment of coloured gemstone options right alongside traditional white diamonds, which in turn gets them thinking about including a coloured gemstone in their eventual purchase.
  2. It promotes coloured gemstones as a terrific complement to or even substitution for traditional white diamonds.
  3. By mixing your collection up somewhat, your customers will inevitably see your coloured stones and a little more of your creativity.
  4. Placing coloured stones next to white diamonds will highlight the difference in price between them. This often can create the impression of better value for money on the one hand, or increased exclusivity where it appears more expensive.

However take care when doing this as customers can be turned off by your display if it comes across as too mixed up.

Once you have captured your customers’ attention by showing them the beauty, attractiveness, and flexible use of coloured gemstones, you are that much closer to closing the sale. What they see is interesting jewellery that is beautiful, unique, and extremely desirable. What you have accomplished is to capture their interest and convince them to include coloured gemstones in their purchase, which in turn means you are ensured of a healthier profit margin. Of course this takes more effort to market, but the days of easy sales are long gone. You need to know your product and gain your customers’ confidence, if you’re going to sell them something they wouldn’t ordinarily consider. The bottom line is -It’s worth it!

Let us know what strategies work for you. How have you succeeded in selling coloured stones over diamonds?

Please leave your comment below or read other peoples’.

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