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Best of the Best: Sweets Success

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Stores that are doing things right: Simons Jewelers

[h3]Simons Jewelers: Being heard above the holiday din[/h3]

[componentheading]THE IDEA[/componentheading]

Best of the Best: Simons Jewelry

In the holiday season, when every retailer in the country is jostling and screaming to get the attention of consumers, St Louis-based Simons Jewelers advertises a $1.5 million box of jewelry-laced chocolates.

[componentheading]THE REWARDS[/componentheading]

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Best of the Best LogoLocal newspaper and television outlets were on the phone soon after the candy box was unveiled in December, and when the Associated Press picked up on it, the story got some real legs, appearing in papers across the country. Robb Report said it wanted to feature the chocolate box. The media coverage helped ensure Simons had its best holiday season ever. Sales growth was in the double-digit range and store owner Simon Katz says he’s sure the box was a major factor. “We got a tremendous media response,” he said, adding that people came into the store throughout December asking about the box.

[componentheading]THE EXECUTION[/componentheading]

Katz said the idea for the box came in November when the owner of nearby Lake Forest Confections, Bud Kolbrener, approached him about creating a super-luxe tray of chocolates as a holiday gift. The result was “Le Chocolat,” dark chocolates and five suites of jewelry made up of sapphire, emerald, ruby and diamond pieces in an elaborate box ordered from Europe. The centerpiece of the 13-item collection was a bracelet set with about 30 carats of yellow and white diamonds matched with marquis-cut diamond earrings. Kolbrener promised to have the candy dusted in edible 24-karat gold if a genuine buyer for the box emerged. (One never did, but some of the individual items sold.)

[componentheading]THE ADDED BENEFIT[/componentheading]

Le Chocolate further helped Katz’s holiday sales by drawing attention to a parallel promotion targeted at a 10,000-person customer list. This promotion — which doffed its hat to Willy Wonka — offered a similar box of gourmet chocolates from Lake Forest to every customer who bought jewelry before Christmas. Inside one of the boxes was a golden ticket that could be exchanged for $5,000 worth of jewelry at Simons. Katz said the take-up rate on the offer was a very impressive 10 percent. “A lot of people saved the chocolate as a present to be placed under the Christmas tree,” Katz said. It was one such gifted box that contained the golden ticket. The result was more good word-of-mouth advertising.

[span class=note]This story is from the February 2007 edition of INSTORE[/span]

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