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Editor's Note

Become a Holiday Hercules By Following Our “4 Weeks to Peak Holiday Performance”

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas … at least, for your sake, I hope it is!

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IT’S BEGINNING to look a lot like Christmas … at least, for your sake, I hope it is!

Yes, it’s that time of year again: time to start thinking about jolly old elves dressed in red velvet (or more importantly, jolly new jewelry pieces gift-wrapped in a velvet box).

At INSTORE, we’re getting in the spirit by providing you with a big holiday advice story for the first time in several years. In the past, our annual Big Survey ran in our October issue, but we’ve received so many requests for holiday help that we’ve moved the Big Survey to our November issue. For now, in order to help you prepare for this merry season of madness, we’ve assembled a calendar of to-do items for your next four weeks in the areas of store environment, marketing, staffing/training, and inventory/display.

But that’s not all (it never is). Managing editor Eileen McClelland searched high and low for stores that offer a memorable experience appealing to the five senses, and she got so carried away that we couldn’t squeeze it all into two pages — so you’ll find the lion’s share of tips and examples in the online version of the story at instoremag.com. (This is a practice you’ll likely see more and more often from us: running extra content and stories online where we have unlimited space to work with.)

If you think reading INSTORE is a must for holiday prep, make sure you don’t miss all the important stuff appearing only at instoremag.com! Happy holiday planning!

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find Inside This Edition

  • 1. Set up a holiday schedule that puts your best people in position to do what each of them does best. (The Big Story, p. 43)
  • 2. Move your jewelry around to other areas of your store so current clients will notice and think you have new inventory. (The Big Story, p. 45)
  • 3. Serve snacks and drinks on a tray to every customer. (Sensory Experience, p. 52)
  • 4. Add Halloween spirit in the form of nail art, hair clips and maybe some extra makeup. (Ask Instore, p. 79)
  • 5. Survey your best clients on how your store is doing and offer an incentive so they’ll send it back. (Shane Decker, p. 78)

Trace Shelton is the editor-in-chief of INSTORE magazine. He can be reached at trace@smartworkmedia.com.

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Editor's Note

Our Editor-In-Chief Admits He Didn’t Know What WhatsApp Was … Do You?

Like other tech, it has the potential to make clients way happier with business owners.

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WHEN I SAW this issue’s “Do You or Don’t You” question, I was just as baffled as many of our readers.

The question, posed by our group managing editor, Chris Burslem, through our Brain Squad survey was this: “Do you use WhatsApp or another messaging service in your marketing or to otherwise communicate with customers?”

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I admit it: I wasn’t 100 percent sure what WhatsApp actually was.

So, I looked it up, and it’s a messaging app that sends text messages for free through an Internet connection. But its advantage is that you can create a business profile so users can see your address, website and contact info. It also allows businesses to save and reuse messages that you frequently send (e.g., “Your repair is ready!”), as well as sort your contacts by labels (e.g., “Frequent client,” “Engagement client only,” “Repair client only,” etc.).

In other words, I quickly learned that WhatsApp has some really cool features for small business owners.

Unfortunately, I think a lot of jewelry retailers are burned out on new tech. And yet, technology like WhatsApp, social media and review-management services like Podium can allow you to connect with clients in ways that they prefer and provide more efficient customer service.

If you’d be willing to walk uphill both ways through snow and sleet to serve your customers, are you also willing to delve into the latest technology to do the same?

Trace Shelton

Editor-in-Chief, INSTORE
trace@smartworkmedia.com

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

  • Geofence your competitor’s store. (Manager’s To-Do, p. 26)
  • When working with a female engagement ring client, ask her to close her eyes and describe the perfect ring. (The Big Story, p. 39)
  • When dealing with a customer complaint, say “Tell me more” in order to put them at ease. (The Big Story, p. 40)
  • Ask job candidates, “Tell me how you prepared for this interview.” (Tip Sheet, p. 47)
  • Bundle slow-moving product with a fast seller in order to clear it out. (David Brown, p. 52)
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Editor's Note

We’re All Quitters Someday

A successful ending to your retail career requires planning.

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ALL GOOD THINGS must end. Yet every ending is a new beginning. I could keep going with the clichés, but you get the point: everyone eventually has to move on from jewelry retail. When the time comes, you want to go out on your own terms.

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With that in mind, our lead story takes you inside the transitions of six different jewelry retailers and explains why business expert Seth Godin says that one of the secrets of successful organizations is “strategic quitting.” Everyone reading this issue will leave the industry one day; now is the time to begin planning for it.

That said, many of you aren’t ready to retire, you’ve just lost your inspiration. You’re down and out, dejected, or maybe just bored. We’ve got just the thing for you to help you get your mojo back: our second lead story, “Mojo to Go.” It includes 12 different action items guaranteed to bring the excitement back to your business life.

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If that weren’t enough, we’ve also got what group managing editor Chris Burslem calls “lots of fun and interesting side bits” throughout, including why you shouldn’t discount shop labor, how to sell more safely, what your inventory management strategy can learn from dieting, and of course much, much more.

So remember, it’s not the quitting that matters — it’s how you plan to quit!

Trace Shelton

Editor-in-Chief, INSTORE
trace@smartworkmedia.com

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

  • Have your kids or your employees’ kids make Valentine’s Day cards and use them as props in your displays. (Manager’s To-Do, page 26)
  • Hold office hours for an hour or two a week for staff to talk to you. (Mojo To Go, page 44)
  • When role-playing sales with your staff, always take the role of salesperson first. (Ask INSTORE, page 58)
  • Renegotiate everything from your lease to Internet, cable, phone and even garbage pickup to save money. (Evan Deutsch, page 52)
  • Use an open-to-buy calculation to balance what you’re buying with what you’re selling. (David Brown, page 53)
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Editor's Note

Don’t Swim Up for Air

Sometimes, the counterintuitive approach may be the best one for your business.

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DID YOU EVER receive a piece of advice that didn’t make sense on its face, but once you’d put it into action, you realized just how true it was?

When I was a kid and we vacationed at the beach, I remember my parents telling me not to fight against the undertow in the surf. Even so, the first time those waves hurled me down into the hard sand and began to suck me out to sea, panic rose up in me and I tried in vain to swim toward shore before I remembered my parents’ words. Only when I let go and allowed the undertow to cycle me out and up was I able to get above the waves and breathe air again.

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Sometimes, following conventional wisdom in retail can be the same as fighting against the undertow, especially when the sea that you occupy is changing rapidly. In this issue, we share a number of business rules (19, in fact) that provide alternative routes to success that just may be more appropriate for the times in which we live.

Ignore terrific opportunities? Yes, if they’re taking time and attention away from even better prospects. Don’t try to fix your weaknesses? Not when it may be more efficient to delegate to others. Don’t promise excellent customer service? Not if it’s going to set you up for failure.

You get the picture. It’s a new year, so it’s a good time to try some new ideas and see if they can catapult your business into greener pastures.

Trace Shelton

Editor-in-Chief, INSTORE
trace@smartworkmedia.com

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