Competitive Opportunities

The demise of the independent retail jeweler has been forecast pretty much on an annual basis during the 30 some years I've been associated with the business. The competitive challenges to independents include department stores, discount stores, credit jewelers, catalog showrooms, chain jewelers, Wal-Mart, Sam's Club, Costco, TV direct marketers to the consumer, and lately Internet sellers of jewelry. All these competitors have one principal positioning point in common: lower prices compared with the independent jeweler. Rarely are quality differentiators presented, let alone discussed, at the point of sale. We know that quality differences cost money and are usually reflected in retail selling prices. The question is: How does the in-dependent compete if price is such an important element in the sales process? An interesting corollary to this question is: How

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