WEEK 1Feb. 27-Mar. 4
SEO It’s a good idea to see how your store rates when someone says, “Siri, where can I get my ring repaired?” Siri defaults to Bing, while Samsung phones use Samsung Browser and most other Android phones go to Google. Run some voice tests to make sure your store is appearing high in your local area.
SOCIAL MEDIA Make contact with other small businesses in your market to see if they are interested in some reciprocal social media action via Pinterest. In your case, you could have boards such as Bridal Stores We Love, Florists That Inspire Us and Bakers That Know Our Weakness.
MARKETING First Communion season starts in mid-April. On your website and in your windows, highlight that you have small crucifixes, religious medals and patron saints along with chains that make suitable gifts for the occasion.
WEEK 2 Mar. 6-11
OPERATIONS Do you have guidelines for handling complaints? If not, get busy. As much as possible, empower employees to make decisions.
INVENTORY Traditionally, bridal sales followed a pattern — men’s wedding band sales, for example, were strongest in April and May just before June, the most popular month for weddings. Now they are likely to be more scattered as millennials pursue their endless desire to be different and marry in less traditional months. Closely scrutinize last year’s sales data to ensure you’re on top of your categories.
WEEK 3 Mar. 13-18
MARKETING Create a signup area in your store (and on your website) for shoppers to provide their email addresses to receive promotions and store information via email.
EMPLOYEES It’s time for your twice-yearly employee reviews. Trainer Kate Peterson urges you to set up a professional development plan for each employee — and for yourself. “Ask what they feel they need to learn or even what they would just like to learn, then challenge them to come up with a plan to get it done,” she says. Give them a week to get it done and then work out the logistics.
WEEK 4 Mar. 20-25
MARKETING The next wave of holidays and milestone events (Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day graduation) lies just ahead. Get creative with your gift cards by creating your own store cash, or invest in higher production quality. Studies show the return is better when you depart from the standard gift card.
SALES Wear name badges, says Eileen Alexanian (PICTURED, ABOVE), owner of Diamonds ‘N Dunes (Kitty Hawk, NC) . “It allows the customer to interact without having to ask the name of the associate, which hopefully translates to more ‘getting to know the customer.’”
MARKETING Your best customers are your current customers. Identify your 200 top customers. Draft a plan to cater to them over the next eight months.
WEEK 5Mar. 27-Apr. 1
BUYING Begin researching buying groups. Being a member can help not only with inventory costs, but can also provide a resource for bouncing ideas or problems off of your peers.
This article originally appeared in the March 2017 edition of INSTORE.