How to Upsell Bead Buyers With Sophisticated Silver

Upselling bead buyers is one way retailers can turn a higher profit on low-priced lines such as Pandora, Chamilia, and Trollbeads. While inexpensive silver beads bring in entry-level customers or those looking for gifts at a price point, selling the inexpensive SKUs can be time consuming, which means merchants turn a lower profit.

Savvy retailers know that in order to make more money on a bead sale, they must upsell clients to a pricier bead, stoke add-on sales by promoting complementary pieces, or skillfully segue the sale to a higher-priced piece or line altogether.



Naga Collection 24.4 mm Scale cuff in silver with black and blue enamel; $1,295John HardyNYC; 888-838-3022;

Study what your customers are wearing.
Emily Lamon Justice, vice president and head jewelry buyer for Lamon Jewelers in Knoxville, Tenn., advises her colleagues to be alert when shoppers enter the store, and to observe what they’re wearing. Not long ago, a female customer with a Chamilia bracelet fully loaded with beads in blues and greens was in a shopping mood, so Justice showed her some 18k gold store-made jewels with blue sapphires and emeralds. The client bought a necklace that day, and added a ring to her collection within a month. Both pieces totaled $10,000—far more than the $1,200 beaded bracelet.

City Lights collection ring in silver with 17 mm cushion-cut black onyx and 0.42 ct. t.w. diamonds; $1,840Tacori, Glendale, Calif.; 800-421-9844;

Believe in the power of suggestion.
Once people have two or three beaded bracelets, they “pretty much carry themselves to a new product,” says Van Alexander, co-owner of Alexander’s Jewelers in Texarkana, Texas, who leads his clients to cases of John Hardy, Nanis, Tacori, and Charles Krypell silver jewelry. “You want to find a piece that lays well with the beads they already have,” he says. “Get them started on another collection.”

Stacking bands in bright white and blackened Argentium silver; $150 each; Stacked New YorkNYC; 646-504-8874;

Assign one staffer to bead sales.
Though beads are a worthwhile traffic generator, the sale often takes an inordinate amount of time. “You can spend 30 minutes to an hour and a half on a $30 bead sale!” Alexander says.

Oxidized sterling silver and pavé diamond Sun Ray necklace; $955Renee Sheppard at Empesar Showroom,; 212-244-7273;

Don’t be afraid of the add-on sale.
When a couple in their 60s came into Alexander’s store to buy a few beads for a Trollbeads bracelet started by their grandchildren, he jokingly suggested the husband pick up a Rolex, and by the time they left the store with $150 worth of beads, the husband had an $8,500 stainless steel Submariner on his wrist. “Just show the product,” Alexander says. “Two or three times out of 10, they say yes to the sale, but you have to ask for it.”

Petal Strength earrings in sterling silver with black onyx, ruby, and emerald, and Chevron pattern detail; $2,272Kaura Jewels, Los Angeles; 818-441-6995;

Never stop selling.
Tell clients what else you have; otherwise, they won’t know, and their ignorance could cost you. “More often than not, that does lead to another sale—though not always right at that moment,” says Steven Petrillo, owner of Jem Jewelers in Warrington, Pa.

A version of this story originally appeared in the November 2014 issue of JCK magazine.

Top: photograph by Greg Sorensen, styling by Brooke Magnaghi

Earrings in silver and 14k gold with green jade, $1,295Anthony Camargo; Aria waterfall necklace in silver and 14k gold with diamonds, $2,600Mabel Chong, San Francisco, 415-885-0198,; cuff in silver with 18k gold and diamonds,$938Rene Escobar,; Strength cuff in silver with 18k yellow gold spears, $1,720Kaura Jewels, Los Angeles, 818-441-6995,

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