07292016Fri
Last updateTue, 26 Jul 2016 9pm

George Prout

Applied Marketing 101: The Six Levels of Hybrid Brick-and-Mortar Internet Retailing Success

ProutRecently I’ve been thinking a lot about the impact of the Internet on brick-and-mortar jewelry stores. As I think back to the dawn of the Internet era, there was a sense at that time that this new, very nasty source of competition was going to annihilate regular retail stores. Fortunately for all of us, it didn’t happen, did it? But just as a frog in a pot of water will allow itself to be boiled if the temperature of the water rises at an extremely slow pace, similarly, I suspect that the insidious acquisition of jewelry market share by Internet retailers has occurred at a sufficiently slow pace such that we don’t realize that the water is about to boil. Indeed, I suspect that we will look back on the current retailing era and realize, with the advantage of 20/20 hindsight, that most retailers (as well as their suppliers) have pretty much been in a state of denial, thinking that jewelry retailing was just going to stay nice, stable, and unchanging.


Applied Marketing 101: Understanding the Trump Phenomenon and its implications for 4th quarter jewelry sales

As I write this, Donald Trump has just won the Indiana Republican primary, and has now become the presumptive Republican nominee for President of the United States. My Political Science professors from the distant past at Brown must be rolling over in their graves (unsurprisingly, they were nearly all Marxists!). This now sets up an almost indescribably delicious election cycle, as Trump and Hillary Clinton will duke it out during the next six months for all the marbles in what may be the most intense heavyweight boxing match in the history of American politics.

Applied Marketing 101: The view from Hong Kong 2016

ProutGeorge Prout shares what he learned at the recent Hong Kong Jewelry Show

As I write this, I am sitting in a hotel bar overlooking Nathan Road, the “Golden Mile” of Kowloon’s Tsim Sha Tsui district, immediately across the Harbor from Wan Chai, home of the Hong Kong Jewelry Show. The Show isn’t quite over, but I bailed out on this last day a few hours early, exhausted (but pleased with the results) from my annual product development trip. So as I gather my thoughts and reflect on the events of the past five days, I thought you might be interested in the view from this exotic part of the world.

Applied Marketing 101: Dinosaurs, Dark Matter, Periodicity and Jewelry Trends

I’ve been spending time recently analyzing data from two jewelry megatrends that have had a significant impact on sales, at both the retail and manufacturing levels. I was fortunate to have identified each of these trends early (see “The Next Three Stone”, SJN/MAJN May 2013, on the vibrating diamond trend, and “Something Really Important is about to Happen”, SJN/MAJN Oct, 2015, on the Two Stone trend), and to have charted a course that took maximum initial advantage of each. Indeed, the ability to accurately forecast which trends will materialize, and which will not, is incredibly valuable, so I am constantly looking for new ways to interpret data in an effort to create mathematical models with predictive value. I recently learned of a fascinating new theory that may have answered several mysteries in the fields of cosmology and paleontology, which has actually caused me to think about trends in the jewelry business in a new way, and I thought you might find elements of that thought process interesting.

Five things you need to know about Two Stone

Prout Headshot 2015In October, I wrote alerting you to the incipient launch of Two Stone (see “Something Really Important is About to Happen” SJN/MAJN Oct 2015). Within weeks, Signet’s ads for the Ever Us brand launched on Major League baseball telecasts, the onset of a $25 million campaign that reached a crescendo during the Holiday Season. As Two Stone now becomes entrenched as an iconic design concept, it will have a profound impact in a variety of ways. In my view, getting Two Stone right will ultimately be the single most important thing you do for your company in 2016, and the long term impact of the success (or failure) of your Two Stone strategy will change the trajectory of your business for years to come. So this month, let’s take a look at five important things you need to know.

Applied Marketing 101: Why trends are more important than ever before

 

Prout HeadshotThroughout the past 40 years, the emergence of specific trends in the jewelry sphere has impacted retail jewelry sales in a beneficial way for those who sold them. But the extent to which they now contribute to overall sales seems to me to have risen significantly, to the point where your company’s success is now inextricably linked to how well you anticipate and react to them.

The best predictive factor for what’s likely to sell tomorrow is what sells in your store today, which is why it’s so incredibly important for you to reorder fast sellers consistently throughout the year. But as trends get hot, items in demand can suddenly emerge - especially at Christmas - and catch you by surprise. And it seems to me that the occasions of these trend emergences are increasing both in frequency as well as intensity.

Applied Marketing 101: Something really important is about to happen

Occasionally, forces align that create wonderful opportunities in the jewelry business. I’m happy to report that just such a scenario is about to occur, and if you move quickly to take advantage of it, you may see some very nice sales in December, as well as a strong bounce in diamond ring sales for quite some time to come.

Our story starts with a top-secret meeting that took place in late July between senior officials from one of America’s largest jewelry chains and the top brass at a well-known international diamond brand. Please forgive my purposeful vagueness here. The entities involved have maintained a pretty high level of secrecy thus far, so I’ll leave it up to you, my readers, to speculate on who the players are.

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