VDB is My Cure For the Disappearing
“Be Back” Guy
Every day someone walks into my store and asks me for something I don’t have. Usually it’s a young guy who has been researching diamonds on the Internet and he’s full of ideas about the exact kind of diamond he wants. I used to try to show him the diamonds I had on hand first to educate him a bit and explain what I recommend and then, if he persisted, tell him that I could call in exactly what he wanted. More than half the time, it ended with him leaving, saying he’d come back in to see the stones the next week. I’d spend a lot of time calling around, finding good options for the stone he wanted and getting my vendors to ship me a nice selection. And more than half the time, that was the end of it. The guy never even came back in. It was such a constant waste of time and energy, sourcing diamonds for disappearing customers. VDB changed all that. Now when these internet guys come in and ask me for something specific, I pull out the iPad and in about five seconds I’m showing the guy 20-50 options, all from my favorite wholesale diamonds guys, at my retail price. We can discuss parameters, I can educate him about what I recommend, and narrow them down together to the top two or three stones. I create a custom collection and get his email so I can send it to him: all the reports and photos and everything. (It’s a great way to get that email.) It just really makes the customers feel like they came to the right place, that I just blow away all the other retailers they’ve visited. It’s just no comparison. Now he’s picked his diamonds and he definitely comes back in to see them. He already feels like they’re his. And it’s even better for colored gemstones since it’s so difficult to have everything in stock, I’m not a colored gemstone dealer. And I don’t have to call around all day to find the stones either: I just tap the “Memo” button on VDB and the stones he picked are on their way in less than a minute. All the extra diamond sales I’m making thanks to VDB have made a huge difference to my business. And now some of those guys are bringing friends in too: they really appreciate the experience. My email list has grown a lot too. I really feel like it’s brought me a new generation of customers.
My Photo Problems? Solved,
Thanks to VDB Studio
I knew having an ecommerce website for my store was a necessity, not optional anymore so I bit the bullet. I thought about the calls and the shipping and the returns. But what turned out to be my biggest challenge when I launched my site wasn’t even originally on my radar: the jewelry photography. I spent a ridiculous amount of time calling vendors for photos, sizing photos, cropping photos, uploading photos. I had to hire a photographer, which was expensive with the insurance and shipping too. And my website didn’t really look good because the photos from different vendors all looked different. It didn't look professional because they weren’t consistent. I tried myself with a camera and lightbox but I realized I just didn’t know how to shoot great jewelry photos. I was actually considering taking down my webstore but I realized I still needed photos for social media and emails. I also have some very good customers and it’s nice to send them images of new things I have that I think they’ll like or that would be a nice anniversary present. So the jewelry photos were a problem that I needed to solve. When I first heard about Studio I was skeptical. Most systems I was considering were more in the $6,000-$10,000 range, not even including the camera and lenses! I didn’t see how such an affordable solution could really work. I’m so glad I took the chance. What I didn’t realize when I first bought Studio is that it doesn’t just let me take great photos with my iPhone, the app helps me add my logo and fix the dust spots and color and everything and boom! I can upload it! I don’t have to have cords and cards and the computer. It’s like I’m a jeweler again, not a photographer. And honestly, my sales staff can do it: I don’t have to be involved at all. Whenever it’s slow in the store I can hand someone a pile of products and tell them to photograph them and upload them and an hour or two later there they are on the website! We’ve even added videos and multiple views of our best-sellers. It makes the webstore so much more exciting with new product all the time, vintage pieces, one-of-a-kinds, diamonds, gemstones, we can put everything up now. It gives us something to talk about and promote on social media and our email newsletter. I think it’s actually increased traffic because we are always showing new styles that just arrived. I also post Instagram photos and Instagram Stories of all my custom pieces, which inspires more custom design business. It’s helped me in so many ways: Thank you VDB Studio!
Fancy Shapes, Paired, to Resolve
a Designer’s Dilemma
I’ve used VDB to buy larger diamonds and the occasional sapphire for engagement ring centers for a while now. I think it’s helped me buy better and improve my margins a bit. I especially like the way I can check diamond pricing when I’m designing a custom piece so I never get a caught in a bind when a stone turns out to be more than I thought it would be. I don’t even subscribe to the Rap sheet anymore, I don’t need it. But I didn’t really become a VDB fanatic until last year, when I designed a new earring collection with fancy shaped diamonds. It took off and here I was with orders and I needed a constant supply of matched marquise, pears, hearts, princess cuts, and ovals. I used some elongated ovals, which I really like but they are tricky to find in pairs. It was starting to become a problem because I had different vendors for different shapes and I’d clean them out. I know, I know, it’s a good problem to have but I really was busy making earrings and doing trunk shows and I didn’t have time to call around to find one pair here and another pair there. It was exhausting. I started to search for them on VDB instead and that’s when I realized I didn’t have to look for pairs! I could find one diamond I liked the shape of and the app would automatically search the world to find matches. Can you believe it? I could look at the options side by side and pick the two stones I liked together best. No pair premium and no hassle looking around. I’m even going to expand my earring collection because I’m not worried about how I’m going to get the diamonds anymore.
Getting In the Game With
a Custom App Powered by VDB
Engagement rings are my bread-and-butter and my business has continued to grow over the years. We have great reviews on Yelp and we really offer a great custom design service as well as a few of the top brands. But about five years ago I noticed that more customers were coming in with their diamonds or buying the diamond from someplace else to fit the mounting. Many of them were online diamonds that they wanted us to set in a semi-mount or design a custom piece around. I just wasn’t getting the chance to sell the diamond to more and more of my customer base. It was a lot of business to leave on the table so I started to look into creating a mobile app. I wanted to have the chance to make that sale, you know? But the development costs were really a lot and I still couldn’t compete with the big ecommerce guys with their hundreds of thousands of stones, even if I kept my margins low. You know it isn’t even always about price, it’s about selection for these kids. They want to know that you are the source. So, anyway, when I heard about VDB’s new white label I was probably the first guy to sign up. I knew how much it would save me over developing my own app. I created my own version of the app in about a month and put it up on the app stores. It has my logo, my colors and everything and I stocked it with diamonds from some heavy hitters, sightholders, all the best vendors, serious stuff. I went pretty conservative with the markup, maybe a little bit more than the big guys but in that ballpark. And you know what? I have an impressive diamond selection, I’m in the game now. I put a QR code to download the app in my ads and on my front door and bar coasters in a few local watering holes. It has had a huge impact. I don’t sell every diamond but my percentage has already gone up. That’s exactly what I wanted to see. But what I didn’t expect is that it’s started to bring in new customers too! The ads with the app in them are bringing in new customers who are coming in for the diamond! Boy are they surprised when they see how many great ring options we have. It’s a whole new ball game.