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Creating In-Store Events That Work … and More of Your Questions for July

Also … what’s the problem with “no problem”?

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I still struggle finding ways to do in-store events that will make a difference in our community. We have partnered with organizations, but the events just haven’t caught fire. Any ideas?

First, we want to commend your determination to succeed with events. They are one of the key ways brick-and-mortar stores can differentiate themselves from online retailers (when was the last time Amazon did a trunk show in your town?). They can drive traffic, boost sales, and make you relevant in your community. Of course, they won’t do any of those things if your theme doesn’t get people excited. Kate Peterson, CEO of Performance Concepts, says first and foremost, events have to be innovative. “Look for ideas that have not been done a hundred times by your store or others in the area.” Second, be sure to sort your client list carefully with a focus on the people who are most likely to have an interest in the product you’ll be promoting. “Most important, make it personal. The greatest successes will come from personal outreach — phone calls, emails and follow up — not from mass mailing,” she says. Note that cause-driven events only work if every party is committed. “You can’t fake it,” Peterson warns. For a case study on how to do an event right, check out our January profile of Sami Fine Jewelry in Fountain Hills, AZ.

SALES FLOOR ETIQUETTE

One of your Work Smart daily tips said not to respond to thank you by saying “No problem.” But is there really such a problem with no problem? It seems a perfectly friendly response to me.

The case against no problem is two pronged: That it sounds like the act of serving the customer was potentially a problem, and that it is too informal. Sales trainer David Geller recommends saying “My pleasure,” which he argues has a happier tone and makes you sound like a concierge jeweler. “It’s also more memorable,” he adds. The bottom line in these situations is to go with what feels most natural and friendly to you and is the best fit with the market where your store is located.

DISPLAY

How do you display jewelry so the props aren’t the star but the jewelry is?

This is an area where a lot of jewelers err, says display consultant Larry Johnson. Basically there are three things to beware of:

1. SIZE. Stay with smaller props that do not dominate the showcase. “Props that will be placed very near your merchandise should not be larger than about 5-inches square,” Johnson says, adding that props further away can be a bit larger.

2. PLACEMENT. Always put your props behind your merchandise and a bit to the side. “Be careful to ensure they are not adversely affecting the lighting in the case or in your arm’s way when you reach into the case to retrieve a piece,” Johnson says.

3. QUALITY. Only use props of a quality and design equal to (or better than) those you’d find in your customers’ own home. “Cheap props from the dollar store reflect on you and your merchandise. Go with quality or leave it out … and remember to take props out frequently to dust them off.”

SALES

What’s the secret to a good thank-you note?

It’s … be yourself. Avoid language that sounds formulaic and just try to write as you speak. Instead of “Dear John,” say “Hello John.” Instead of “Yours truly,” write “Regards” or “All my best” followed by your name. Of course, it’s also crucial that your writing is legible! Before you put pen to paper, type out a draft to compose your thoughts. If your print is sloppy, switch to cursive — the change should slow you down and ensure better penmanship. Final word of warning: Keep it neat. Smudges will make your note look like an afterthought (so avoid fountain pens and glossy paper). If you really want to wow your customer, order some proper correspondence cards, personalized with your store name and address. Towards the top end of the market, Crane & Co. sells bordered ecru-white varieties that few people will feel comfortable tossing in the bin (a good thing because they’re a couple of bucks apiece).

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].

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