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You Gotta Stand Out from the Crowd

Remember, cool = different.

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REMEMBER: Cool = different.

“Our fancies are always tickled by the unexpected or serendipitous — in-store photo booths, really unique ad campaigns, $200 interior build-outs (that look amazing) — things that make a store stand out from all the others.”

One of my editors wrote that during an email conversation about the America’s Coolest Stores contest. It got me thinking about the many conversations I’ve had with store owners about what exactly our judges are looking for.

Which in turn got me thinking about some of the standout features of our past winners. Here’s a list of 5 Cool Things about some of the stores that won or placed in recent years:

  1. A novel aesthetic. Green Lake Jewelry Works’ entire store is a good example: murals on the floor, a motorized bike rack on the ceiling for employees’ rides, designers and goldsmiths working out in the open.
  2. One striking element. R. Grey Gallery’s lit-from-within staircase beckons passersby to glance inside in the evenings, serving as an advertisement even when the store is closed.
  3. New twists on how to sell jewelry. Like the open ring displays at TWO by London — customers can pick up and try on replications of rings for as long as they want without having to involve a sales associate.
  4. Consistently stepped-up customer service. Not to minimize them, but we’ve heard a lot of stories about driving through a blizzard to deliver a ring on time at this point. They’re great, but what’s really cool is when a store builds a better approach to service right into their system, every day. The Diamond Vault has a concierge, an employee with a GG degree who greets customers when they walk in, offers them a drink, and directs them to the right sales associate.
  5. Interesting event ideas. We love both slightly out-of-the ordinary in-store events and other marketing efforts that draw attention. The Mom’s Night Out at Moondance Jewelry Gallery, which takes place right after the school year starts again, gives a target demographic the perfect excuse to celebrate.

Now, by no means were these the sole defining factors in these stores’ success in the contest. Nor does this mean your store needs to have features like these to win — indeed, by definition, we’d like to see something different. But these unusual and engaging ideas should give you an idea of what really turns our cranks.

 

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If It’s Time to Consolidate, It’s Time to Call Wilkerson

When Tom Moses decided to close one of the two Moses Jewelers stores in western Pennsylvania, it was time to call in the experts. After reviewing two candidates, Moses, a co-owner of the 72 year-old business, decided to go with Wilkerson. The sale went better than expected. Concerned about running it during the pandemic, Moses says it might have helped the sale. “People wanted to get out, so there was pent-up demand,” he says. “Folks were not traveling so there was disposable income, and we don’t recall a single client commenting to us, feeling uncomfortable. It was busy in here!” And perhaps most importantly, Wilkerson was easy to deal with, he says, and Susan, their personal Wilkerson consultant, was knowledgeable, organized and “really good.” Now, the company can focus on their remaining location — without the hassle of carrying over merchandise that either wouldn’t fit or hadn’t sold. “The decision to hire Wilkerson was a good one,” says Moses.

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