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These simple errors could cost you fourth-quarter sales.

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Have you ever walked into a Target and it transports you directly into an idea or event to come? Take Memorial Day for example: baked beans, hot dogs, sunscreen, plasticware … everything needed for a picnic is displayed right when you walk in. You go from running an errand to preparing for an experience. Since the jewelry business is so emotional, it is paramount to maintain the beauty and allure of a brick-and-mortar showroom. That being said, you don’t necessarily need all of the bells and whistles to captivate your customer. The answer is already lying in your cases! If setting out your jewelry in the morning isn’t the highlight of your day, you’re not alone. It’s easy to be mentally preoccupied by other seemingly more important responsibilities. But understand this: store setup is the most vital time of the day. Don’t become jaded by the daily grind and make these ten display mistakes.

The “good/better/best” principle in action.

1. CATEGORIES MIXED AIMLESSLY
You are composing a symphony of luxury. Jewelry is best displayed when there is a commonality between it: colored stones together, gold jewelry without stones, pieces that look like they are part of a family. Then within that case, you should implement a good/better/best arrangement. This creates a hierarchy of desire by dividing up your jewelry by quantity and quality.

If you’re unfamiliar with this method, here is the good/better/best display method in a nutshell. Put jewelry stands that display five to seven pieces toward the bottom with “good items” (your most affordable). Next, place stands or neckforms comprised of three pieces to create the “better” tier in the middle; these are most likely to sell to a new client. Finally, in the upper-middle area is where you display your crème de la crème pieces. These should be your best quality pieces in the highest price point. They are always put on their own individual displays because they will be the “center of emphasis,” and you don’t want too much going on.

2. MESSY PRICE TAGS
To show prices or not to show prices … that is the question! I spoke with experts about this and my conclusion is that it’s fine to have some showing, but in a tasteful way. The mistake comes into play when price tags that are intended to be hidden are accidently (or carelessly) exposed. Be mindful of concealment if that’s what your theme is. If you prefer to show some pricing, place a neat, legible tag or tent card next to the jewelry rather than dangling off of it. This is a creative way to show value and complement the piece with positive attention.

3. ITEMS OBSTRUCTING THE CASE
Common tools are the worst offenders! Counter pads, mirrors or signage should not block the customers’ view of the jewelry. How is anyone supposed to see past that 4-inch thick catalog forgotten on the case? Maximize and maintain your hidden storage to keep all of the attention on your jewelry.

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Take time when displaying jewelry to consider symmetry and to avoid general disarray.

4. GENERAL DISARRAY
This happens when you aren’t paying attention; you’re behind, short-handed, the phone is ringing off the hook. For whatever reason, the jewelry just got “put” in the case. One earring is falling off its stand, a pendant is flipped backwards, or a wedding set is so disheveled that it doesn’t look like a pair anymore. You don’t need to be wildly creative to avoid these mistakes. Focus on properly placing the jewelry on its prop before putting it in the case, and remember that symmetry is your best friend. If you can master these two steps, you will have a presentable case. After morning setup, do a brisk walkthrough of your showroom. With fresh eyes, go case by case to ensure you don’t have any display faux pas or unbalanced symmetry.

5. MIXED COLOR/QUALITY PROPS
Mixing prop colors in a single case draws attention to the props instead of the jewelry. Gather all of the outcast props and confine them to one case. If you are showing jewelry on disintegrating, dirty, or pen-stained props, invest in new ones as soon as possible. They take a few weeks to process, but they pay dividends for years.

Symmetry, monochromatic displays and a “good/better/best” layout combine to help your jewelry pop.

6. UNSIGHTLY GLASS AND MIRRORS
The top, front and side glass on your showcases should be cleaned daily. The inside top of the case and/or inside walls of the case should be cleaned monthly. Mirrors have a secret affinity for fingerprints since they are always being used and adjusted. Check yours now!

7. TARNISHED STERLING SILVER
Enough said.

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8. HOLES IN YOUR INVENTORY
Whether something sold, is pulled temporarily or is being modeled, there should be zero empty props in your showcases. A hole sparks interest in what was there rather than what is here. Sometimes you need to change things up to solve the problem. For example, you may have a three-ring display, sold one, and don’t have another ring to fill the hole. Get two individual fingers and split the remaining ones up. You should never have to use the distracting “penny” filler. Assume there is always a solution.

9. POOR LIGHTING
Make sure all of your lighting is appropriately allocated and functioning correctly. If your store has any incandescent light, it needs to be away from your cases. LED/daylight equivalent lighting is a must for jewelry. And most important, if case light needs to be replaced, make it a top priority!

10. MINIMIZING YOUR VANTAGE POINTS
When jewelry displays are turned in at a 45-degree angle, they provide a type of stadium viewing experience that requires the viewer to stand in the center. However, there are two issues that arise from this setup style. First, when one person is looking from the center, they are more likely to perceive the case as a gestalt and become overwhelmed. They believe they understand the gist of the entire case and they just may skip over the case entirely.

Dominique Sotillo is a professional gemologist, merchandising consultant and creator of “The Next Gemeration” blog. She and Larry Johnson Consulting are now offering a one-day workshop in your store, which includes an objective evaluation, showroom updating, bridal reconfiguration and guidance on in-store sales programs. Contact her at (470) 685-1680 or [email protected]

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