A Partnership to Help Jewelers
In May, Jewelers of America and Professional Jeweler partnered to coproduce the Cost of Doing Business Survey, in which JA members share information about their businesses with researchers. The partnership was formed to expand the reach of the survey so all jewelers can benefit from it. The survey, published every fall, offers retail jewelers a comprehensive tool with which to evaluate and compare their stores performance to others in the industry. The survey is also used by banks, accountants, consultants and marketers as a yearly snapshot of retail jewelry store performance.
The Cost of Doing Business Survey is based on confidential questionnaires submitted by hundreds of JA members. It looks at key performance measures including sales volumes within store types, productivity ratios, financial strength indicators and balance sheet data. The studys format, scope and content are similar in each annual edition, making it easy to compare year-to-year data. Four categories allow for legitimate peer comparisons: Independent High End, Independent Middle Range, Designer/Artist/Custom, and Chain Stores.
Part of our job at Professional Jeweler is to convince more of you to participate in the survey and use its results to better your businesses. Im excited about this partnership because this is the one survey jewelers tell me is really useful.
So what makes it so great? Let me count the ways.
- Peer Review. The surveys categories are specific enough to allow you to compare your results with those of your true peers instead of using overall industry figures or the results of a few large jewelry chains, where the merchandise, store atmosphere, selling style and location are unlike like your own.
- Competitive Analysis. Get indepth information on how other retail channels are doing business, learning from them or reassuring yourself youre on the right track.
- Follow Winning Strategies. If youre behind your peers and competitors, you can see why. Each year, the survey singles out the strategies that best increased sales and profitability. In the survey released last fall, for example, the companies with the greatest results expanded into the incentive business, focused inventory on best sellers, bought or made unique items, sold more estate jewelry and jewelry services, trained staff to sell on quality rather than price and targeted professional women, who are buying more jewelry on their own.
All the detailed information in this nearly 100-page-report can be had by simply reading the survey, which is available to JA members for $19.95 and non-JA members for $125. But I think theres an additional benefit in becoming a jeweler/contributor to the survey. For one thing, you get a copy of the survey free. But more importantly, you develop the discipline to keep accurate, yearly records of your own numbers. Keeping records can be tedious and boring. But when you know youre keeping them up-to-date so you can contribute to a survey, it might be just the pressure needed to complete the task.
Convinced you should participate or at least read this survey and learn from it? Contact Jewelers of America at (800) 223-0673 or www.jewelers.org. And watch these pages. The newest edition will be available in the fall and well be bringing you highlights and details in the months ahead.
by Peggy Jo Donahue