This week’s Retailer Spotlight shines on George Fritz, store
owner of Mills Jewelers in Lockport, N.Y., for holding events to promote his
store’s custom work. Using the store’s CounterSketch Studio CAD system, he was
able to run two live store events for both in-store attendees and those who
participated in the custom jewelry education sessions via video conferencing.
Earlier this summer, Fritz wanted to organize tech-related
events to promote the technology behind his custom jewelry business—namely
Stuller’s CounterSketch Studio CAD system. For the store owner, increasing his
custom work is not only a market differentiator, it’s also a way get back lost
margins associated with loose diamond and finished jewelry product sales.
Benefits for customers include realizing that custom work is
a “new way” of purchasing jewelry that is also more affordable, and can easily
be done with far more intricate design features than in the past, producing
truly unique tailor-made jewelry.
“The days of expensive custom work done by hand by a
goldsmith are pretty much over since the advent of CAD/CAM systems,” says
Fritz. “These days anyone can do it [custom] work.”
Fritz held two similar in-store/at home custom jewelry
making educational events. The first one was on the evening of July 28. Fritz teamed up with a friend who makes gourmet cupcakes, which
were served with strawberry Bellinis in the store. (To ensure that everyone could enjoy the culinary treats, Fritz even had
cupcakes delivered to the video-conferencing participants’ homes.)
The following Tuesday, Fritz partnered with a local pizzeria for a follow-up event. Similar to the previous week’s educational event,
in-store and at-home participants received a $100 gift card for taking part in the
one-hour presentation. Once again food was served in the store, while video-conference viewers had a medium pepperoni pizza (valued at $15 each) delivered
to their homes.
Fritz establishes good cross-promotional partnerships
with his educational events.
For Fritz both events received modest numbers of attendees: At the first—when cupcakes were served—there were 17 (12 in the store and five online); at the second—pizza night—there were nine (four in-store and five at home).
Fritz wasn’t at all discouraged by the numbers. His custom
jewelry station in the store is fairly new—about eight months old. And the event
created a lot of word-of-mouth buzz in town and generated lots of postings and
interaction on his store’s Facebook wall.
Another indicator the events went well: All
at-home participants watched the educational event until the very end. In-store attendees stayed until the end as well. They also asked
questions, and mingled well with other guests while talking about
jewelry, the jewelry store, and changes in the way people buy jewelry and the
Fritz plans to continue his custom jewelry educational events. Organizing and promoting the events comes at a very low cost since it’s all done via social media websites (namely Facebook and Twitter) and email blasts. Food costs are also minimal for the most part.
Fritz posed with his staff at the CAD corner to
produce this promotional piece.
“People loved the event, the idea behind it, the food, and
the new knowledge about custom work,” says Fritz. “It’s quite possible that we
could make these monthly events, for both in-store and at-home customers, and
change up the food items to keep it interesting.”
A novel dynamic to the event was in-store and at-home
customers could enjoy the same foods at the same time in two very
different settings. “Both groups of participants really got a kick out of
that,” says Fritz.
Fritz is also looking to record these sessions to produce
videos. Once in a standardized video format, Fritz plans on copying these
educational sessions to DVD to give to existing and prospective custom jewelry
He’ll also be uploading edited videos to YouTube and Facebook
to add rich video content to these websites, and embedding video links on his store’s main website.