TC’s Miner’s North Wired Into High-Tech Trend

TRAVERSE CIT – What would you call a jewelry store that began displaying quick-response patterned bar codes around the store, which included everything from links to the store's website to information about movies at the Traverse City Film Festival?

If you were the jewelry trade journal Jeweler's Circular Keystone, you'd call it an Innovative Realtor. That's what the magazine said about Miner's North Jewelers in downtown Traverse City.

Quick-response patterned bar codes – aka QR codes – enable smart phone users to scan the code for additional information, and Miner's North has been taking advantage of the technology in spades.

"We like to stay on top of trends," says Jeff Guntzviller, sales and marketing rep for the store. "It incorporates into everything."

The QR codes have already paid off. Miner's North won its second Traverse City Film Festival window contest, in part this year because QR codes on the store's movie posters immediately channeled passing smart phone users to on-phone video trailers of films showing at the Open Space.

The company is also using them for ring-sizing coasters the store gives to customers, and in upcoming direct mail pieces.

Guntzviller says the store can so easily change what the codes direct users to, the staff was able to send out series of birthday cards to clients that included a special QR code to a very personal surprise: "When you scan it, it has a video of the staff singing Happy Birthday," he says.

This isn't the first time Miner's North has embraced new technologies. In business since 1974, the retail jeweler was the first in the Traverse City area to offer precision laser-welding services and three-dimensional previews of custom jewelry designs using state-of-the-art computer software.

Cyber-marketing, says Guntzviller, was a natural next step.

"Over the past two to three years, people in jewelry stores have been using their mobile devices, taking pictures of jewelry and sending them to a family member or friend, uploading them to Facebook or tweeting about it on Twitter," says store owner Wayne Guntzviller. "This is now part of the jewelry-buying experience." BN