Stuller’s new Create Bar combines the best of the company’s CounterSketch customization software with their prototype jewelry systems. Launched at last month’s JCK Las Vegas Show, the new turn-key solution is a first for Stuller: a shop-in-shop concept for retail jewelers.
Create Bar enhances the custom jewelry experience for customers while lessening retailers’ dependence on live inventory. Developed last year, Create Bar was ready for implementation at the start of 2013. To date, four retail jewelers have a Create Bar in their store with seven Create Bar systems sold to retail jewelers during last month’s Vegas Show.
The Create Bar is not only an integration of Stuller’s two retailer systems, it’s also a shared project for the company’s two emerging divisions, the department overseeing CounterSketch software development and the recently-created Interiors department. Like the left and right hemispheres of the brain working in tandem, technical meets creative in the Create Bar’s appearance and how it’s positioned in a retail jewelry store’s showroom.
“The Create Bar’s look needed to be bold enough to stand out as a dedicated station and neutral enough to avoid clashing or conflicting with a store’s existing interior design,” says Katie Keefe Smith, Stuller’s executive director of strategy and market development.
A 42-inch flat-screen monitor is one of the more noticeable features of the 6’ (H) x 4’ (W) Create Bar. At rest, the high definition monitor is a “virtual salesperson” displaying video loops of high resolution images of jewelry. Video displays can be customized by the store owner, but the emphasis is to create slide shows or videos that will attract the retail customer to look at or inquire about the Create Bar.
Another prominent feature of the Create Bar is the prototype risers and platforms on a Lazy Susan type of rotating tray. Two stylish and modern-looking LED strips illuminate the prototype jewelry. To the right of the prototype display is the keyboard and mouse used to demonstrate and create custom jewelry on the large monitor.
In keeping with today’s popular tablet technology, Create Bar has an iPad loaded with a host of interactive elements such as a product catalog and a Style Quiz. Questions from the Style Quiz are graphics driven with little text asking custom customers questions such as preferred vacation destinations, favorite flowers and even tastes in furniture to determine favored jewelry styles.
“It’s all part of making the Create Bar an experience area, similar to self-direct retail outlets such as Apple and Sephora stores,” says Katie.
Next to the iPad stand is a display holding six-page booklets explaining the custom jewelry process reinforcing the Stuller mantra: “Choose. Change. Create.” And, a small but important component of the Create Bar’s tabletop display area is having a row of single gemstones of all shapes running along the bottom of the large flat-screen monitor.
Underneath the work area of the Create Bar are storage areas, the most important of which is the compartment where the CounterSketch computer is located. “The PC computer is pre-loaded with everything the retailer and their staff will need to run CounterSketch,” says Katie.
Additional storage areas house more trays of jewelry prototypes. “We wanted to offer additional space for more prototypes so customers could see extra ring styles that go beyond bridal lines for the self-purchase female customer, be it a fashion-forward diamond or color-set rings, or pendants,” says Katie. “CounterSketch and the prototype systems are much more than just rings.”
Stuller’s Create Bar was on display at the JCK Las Vegas Show with two stations, one at the company’s large booth in the Plumb Club, and the other in the equally sizeable booth in the Equipment and Technology section. Heather Kutzman, co-owner of Artisan Jewelry in Sharpsburg, GA, was on hand for a Create Bar demonstration.
Heather is currently using CounterSketch and the prototypes as separate systems. After seeing Create Bar in person, she sees the integrated system as a natural progression of the design software and alloy-made jewelry. “Now it’s a complete package,” says Heather. “The Create Bar is a plug-and-play solution that combines the best of both worlds [CounterSketch and prototypes].”
Equally important for Heather is the evolution of the product offerings she can sell to customers. “Getting add-on sales or up-selling customers has become so much easier,” says Heather. “Imagine a customer coming in and creating a color-set engagement ring or wedding band and creating coordinating jewelry for bridesmaids.”
Heather is ready to take the CounterSketch and prototypes to the next level for her customers. “Even from the beginning when we only had 18 to 20 prototypes, these rings became and continue to be our best sellers,” says Heather. “We’ll be taking delivery of Create Bar before Christmas.”
Stuller sees great potential with Create Bar. “For our first retail customers Create Bar has helped double, even triple CounterSketch sales,” says Katie.
Create Bar works best in a high visibility place in a showroom, near the front door or a cash-wrap area. The increased visibility in these areas elicits questions and responses from customers. But the Create Bar has a hidden benefit for the retailer – creating more than one custom jewelry expert in the store.
“In the past, we noticed many retailers had one go-to person for CounterSketch,” says Katie. “If that person was absent from the store, no customers were sold on custom designs. With the Create Bar being in high-traffic areas, the visibility of the station forces all staff members to be more involved in custom. This greatly benefits the store owner with the staff by expanding their product knowledge and confidence in selling custom.”
For more information please call Stuller at 800-877-7777 or visit www.Stuller.com.
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