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Managing Diamond Memos With Technology

“Did you get the memo?” Depending on the business you work in, the answer to this question could have vastly different implications. The memo business is one of the more unique aspects of the jewelry industry, and managing memo orders can become a headache for suppliers and retailers alike. There is a lot of trust involved in the practice, and the process can sometimes seem a bit too casual given the value of the items being exchanged. It’s a necessity we live with, however, as buying inventory outright and keeping it on hand until it can be sold is not viable for most businesses.

Today, however, memos don’t have to amount to a handshake deal. Like so much else about the jewelry business, technology can streamline the memo process, making it safe and secure for all parties involved.

History of the Memo Business

If the memo seems like an old-fashioned practice, that’s because it is. It has been a part of the jewelry industry for over a century, and some relationships between parties doing business by memo are nearly as old. It was probably much easier to build relationships and establish trust back then, when importation, cutting, polishing, and selling were all done in the same part of town by people who knew each other well. That is the case for the world-famous diamond districts of Mumbai, Tel Aviv, and New York City. While the industry has evolved in the last hundred years, and New York’s Diamond District has moved from downtown to midtown, the archaic practice of the memo is as prevalent as ever. With technology, we can bring this practice into the 21st century.  

Difficulties of Memo Sales

As this hypothetical scenario from INSTORE Magazine demonstrates, successful memo sales require a high degree of trust and understanding between parties. One party could make a mistake in their documentation, leading to disagreement, hurt feelings, and damaged business relationships.

Theft is always a possibility, though not necessarily a probability, with memo goods. Robberies, while rare, do happen. But a retailer will be insured against theft. But they may not be insured against natural disasters, so that is a risk you take when you put your inventory in someone else’s care. Likewise, memo goods can be lost or damaged in shipment. When you receive a diamond or piece of jewelry on memo, it might not be exactly as it was described. The risks involved in memo sales make the practice not particularly beloved by all in the jewelry industry, but it remains a necessary part of doing business.

Once you manage to overcome the difficulties and pitfalls of memo sales, you run into a new problem: keeping track of the inventory you’ve sent out or have coming in. In an increasingly online world, paper notes and even spreadsheets don’t cut it anymore.

How Technology Can Help

The rise of ecommerce makes it easier to reach a wider audience for memo sales. Memo sales have increased to the point that it’s not uncommon to see the same diamond on memo at multiple ecommerce sites. While this can cause headaches for suppliers and retailers alike, managing memos in the same place you sell them is possible.

Tools specifically designed for this purpose can also provide you with high-quality photos of the actual items on memo so there will be no confusion between parties or disappointment on the part of the consumer. With the right technology, there will be no need for the customer to wait for the diamond or jewelry to be delivered to your store—you can show them a photo of the same item they are interested in buying, bringing you that much closer to a sale.

In an age of supply chain disruption and an uncertain economic outlook, memo sales remain an important part of the jewelry industry. They allow jewelry businesses to make sales without committing to keeping expensive inventory on hand. When you have the right technological tools at your disposal, memos become less of a necessary evil and logistical headache and more of an opportunity to find new suppliers and provide customers with exactly what they’re looking for at a price that works for you and for them.