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Sunday, March 18, 2018

JCK Las Vegas Capitalizes on Customer Feedback to Enhance, Improve & Evolve the Industry Trade Show Experience

The following article is from JCK Shows in response to The Retail Jeweler's editorial in the Jan/Feb issue of The Retail Jeweler. JCK asked if we would print a response to the editorial entitled “Show Wars Have Started.” The Retail Jeweler appreciates JCK’s response because we want both sides of the story presented. Read the original editorial here.

As the JCK Las Vegas show prepares to bid farewell to Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino following the 2018 show (June 1 – 4, 2018), management at Reed Exhibitions is taking advantage of the move to the newly renovated, upgraded Venetian/Sands Expo Convention Center to completely transform the event experience and better align the show with customers’ evolving needs. Moving over 2,100 exhibitors is a daunting task but offers a unique opportunity for management to re-design the show and elevate the experience for everyone, from vendors to buyers, press and visitors. The 2018 show in Las Vegas will be just the beginning as the teams look forward to making a bold and lasting impact in 2019.

Capitalizing on Customer Feedback, Listening
The JCK Las Vegas Show was built over 27 years ago with the industry, for the industry. It has grown over time as the industry’s needs have continued to change and expand. Every decision being made by show management today is based on customer input. Each of the 30,000 jewelry industry professionals who participate in the show have a variety of channels for offering feedback, such as serving on the prestigious JCK & Luxury Advisory Boards, face to face visits with staff throughout the show, 500+ in person retail store visits completed by the JCK and LUXURY teams throughout the year, post event digital surveys, social media engagement and show leadership representation in various trade groups and at other industry events. JCK Las Vegas and Reed Exhibitions are actively listening to the customer in a wide variety of ways and using that feedback to re-imagine the show experience and better serve the needs of jewelry professionals from every aspect of the industry and from all distribution channels.

Like its Participants, JCK is Planning for the Future
Through a dedicated advisory committee, JCK places a focused effort on reaching the next generation of business owners and millennials. At JCK’s planned return to the Sands Expo Convention Center in 2019, exhibitors will have even more support. Options for location and neighborhoods will provide value to the exhibitor and create more choice in pricing. They will be provided with tools and resources to promote their exhibition, including matchmaking lead retrieval, dedicated landing pages, mobile app listings and GPS technologies, all of which will help retailers find the vendors in their new booth locations at the renovated venue.

Elevating the Business Experience in a Convenient, Secure Environment
In an ever-changing retail environment, the JCK Las Vegas Show is committed to ensuring that the retailer’s time away from the store is productive. Innovations to the show experience now provide everything under one roof, creating an efficient platform for conducting business and supporting every aspect of the retail store from merchandising and education to security and networking. For example, just as technology becomes increasingly important in sustaining a retail business, the show’s technology area continues to grow and expand. And in the same way that retailers must now enhance their customer service to maintain relevance and a competitive edge, show management is increasing its customer service, with continual retailer outreach, personal concierge service, improved navigation with GPS functionality for locating vendors/services/products, as well as an industry leading matchmaking program to assist with exploring new buyer to exhibitor relationships and a team of on-site “Ask JCK” hosts who will personally walk customers wherever they need to go. The entire show experience is designed to conveniently connect buyers and sellers more efficiently, more accurately - and more securely than ever before. JCK works closely with the venue, corporate security, state, local and federal law enforcement authorities to identify risks, assess them and develop security plans for events so attendees can take advantage all the show has to offer without worry. Building a safe environment for business is a top priority.

Aligning Objectives with the Business Goals of Customers
Recent research results and customer feedback have identified specific trends and changing goals for jewelry retailers, including elevating the in-store customer experience, maintaining and improving margins and adapting the product offering for millennial consumers. JCK is now aligning its objectives to help meet these specific retailer needs and creating an environment to foster unlimited potential for education, inspiration, networking, sharing and referrals.

JCK is implementing the latest, cutting edge technology to help buyers shop more efficiently and to personalize their show experience through “JCK Match.” The innovative program organically recommends exhibitors to buyers based on personal sourcing needs determined at registration. In 2017, 68% of participating retailers reported doing business with one or more of the recommended new vendors. As the program evolves, JCK Match will incentivize buyers with cash for shopping with their recommended vendors.

JCK also works to help buyers and suppliers maintain and even improve margins by adding new product and service segments on the show floor. New show neighborhoods include the novel “Global Gemstone Pavilion”, “Security”, “Retail Experience”, “Lab Grown Diamonds” and the continual growth of “Essentials and Technology”. These new areas expand product offerings to assist retailers who seek to diversify, discover new products or enhance their retail environment by something as simple as buying gemstones closer to their origins.

Inspiration comes to life at JCK through “In Store Experience” where retailers can be inspired by events, installments and unique experiences that they can apply to their business to attract new customers and build loyalty.

JCK Talks features peer to peer sharing at Retailer Roundtables and highly regarded subject matter experts, from both inside and outside of the industry, to give diverse, fresh perspectives unique to this event. JCK Talks allows retailers to walk away with real solutions and knowledge that they can apply to improve their store, business or customer experience.

In addition to JCK Talks, JCK creates many other avenues for organic networking. From small, intimate lounge gatherings, happy hours and on-floor fashion shows, to larger scale celebrations and award ceremonies, there is an event for everyone.

Friday, March 16, 2018

February Retail Sales Increase 4.4 Percent Over Last Year

February retail sales increased 0.3 percent seasonally adjusted over January and 4.4 percent year-over-year as the economy continued to grow, the National Retail Federation said today. The numbers exclude automobiles, gasoline stations and restaurants.

“Consumers are still in the driver’s seat,” NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz said. “Month-to-month comparisons don’t tell the whole story because of seasonal adjustment factors, but the three-month moving average and other year-over-year numbers are better indicators that reflect how sales are really increasing. It’s still too early to draw conclusions about the impact of tax cuts but extra money in shoppers’ pockets should help as the year goes forward. With consumer confidence and employment growing, economic fundamentals are favorable for spending to expand in the coming months.”

The three-month moving average was also up 4.4 percent over the same period a year ago, and the results come as NRF is forecasting that 2018 retail sales will grow between 3.8 percent and 4.4 percent over 2017.

The February numbers won back a slight monthly dip seen in January, which declined 0.2 percent from December coming off one of the best holiday seasons in years but was up 5.4 percent year-over-year.

NRF’s numbers are based on data from the U.S. Census Bureau, which said overall February sales – including automobiles, gasoline and restaurants – were down 0.1 percent seasonally adjusted from January but up 4 percent year-over-year.

Specifics from key retail sectors during February include:
- Online and other non-store sales were up 10.5 percent year-over-year and up 1 percent over January seasonally adjusted.
- Clothing and clothing accessory stores were up 5.2 percent year-over-year and up 0.4 percent from January seasonally adjusted.
- Building materials and garden supply stores were up 5.1 percent year-over-year and up 1.9 percent from January seasonally adjusted.
- Electronics and appliance stores were up 4.3 percent year-over-year but down 0.1 percent from January seasonally adjusted.
- Furniture and home furnishings stores were up 2.9 percent year-over-year but down 0.8 percent from January seasonally adjusted.
- General merchandise stores were up 2.4 percent year-over-year but down 0.4 percent from January seasonally adjusted.
- Health and personal care stores were up 0.3 percent year-over-year but down 0.4 percent from December seasonally adjusted.
- Sporting goods stores were down 3.4 percent year-over-year but up 2.2 percent from January seasonally adjusted.

About The National Retail Federation
The NRF is the world’s largest retail trade association, representing discount and department stores, home goods and specialty stores, Main Street merchants, grocers, wholesalers, chain restaurants and Internet retailers from the United States and more than 45 countries. Retail is the nation’s largest private-sector employer, supporting one in four U.S. jobs – 42 million working Americans. Contributing $2.6 trillion to annual GDP, retail is a daily barometer for the nation’s economy.

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