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October 1999

Precious Metals & Bench: News

Profiles in Partnering

Retailers should look for certain hallmarks in a manufacturing partner

Manufacturers can mean different things when they say they offer partnerships with jewelers. For Bill Jobbins, vice president of Donald Bruce & Co.'s Skalet Gold division, it means "doing whatever is necessary so the retailer can maximize profit with a minimum investment." Skalet offers advice and the benefit of its experience and technology in several key areas.

Inventory Selection
"This is a fashion– trend business," says Jobbins. A jeweler has to know what's hot at the moment and stay ahead of the fashion curve. Part of a good manufacturer's sales representative's job is to keep the retailer apprised of what is likely to increase in demand in the near future. It's equally important to make note of what your customers buy. Restocking inventory and keeping track of the items that sell is another aspect of value– added service.

In– Store Support
Sales of even the hottest styles can be increased with effective organization and presentation. "A jeweler is likely to see the same customer many times over the course of a year," says Jobbins. "It's crucial to keep displays well– stocked, but also looking fresh and new." You can achieve this by simply rotating where items are displayed. Skalet's trained representatives give advice on display and stock rotation. Jobbins says his customers also use Skalet's counter cards and window display material. Advertising assistance is another way Skalet helps retail jewelers sell effectively.

Computers have streamlined and revolutionized the way gold jewelry can be designed, manufactured, marketed and sold. Computers also make it possible to meet Skalet's goal of shipping major orders in three to four weeks and special orders in two to three days, says Jobbins.
Daniel Solomon, son of Donald Bruce President Gary Solomon, sees the importance of the Internet to the future of manufacturer– retailer partnerships. Focusing on the interplay between the Internet and interactive CD– ROMs, his goal is to create, maintain and administer interactive Web sites for Donald Bruce companies that retailers can access for better
communication and service.

He points out how rapidly the Internet is developing in terms of speed and capability. Soon, higher– speed Internet connections will allow vastly more creativity and flexibility in what manufacturers can do to serve retailers. "A fluid exchange of data, collaboration on design and use of animation are only some of the ways Internet technology can be used to enhance the supplier– retailer customer relationship," says Solomon. "This is an industry in which the retailer has the right to expect added value. I am looking for ways to combine the two powerful tools – the Internet and multimedia – in interactive Web site design."

  • Skalet Gold, Chicago, IL; (800) 621– 6017.

by William H. Donahue Jr.

Creating partnerships with its retailer customers lies at the heart of Skalet Gold's success.

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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