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Best of the Best: Valentine’s Contest




[dropcap cap=E]d and Tracey Dikes opened their store in 2001 in the affluent South Florida town of Weston with the intention of creating a community-minded, customer-oriented experience. “The jewelry business can be very intimidating to customers, and we understand that,” Tracey Dikes says. “With that in mind, our goal is for everyone to feel as if they have walked into the front doors of our home.”[/dropcap]

[componentheading]The Idea[/componentheading]

[contentheading]Pre-Valentine’s Draw[/contentheading]

Best of the Best: Valentine's Contest


Hold a contest that draws customers to an event at the store shortly before Valentine’s Day — and generates publicity and goodwill in the process. 

Next to the December holidays sales season, Valentine’s Day is the most important occasion in terms of sales for jewelers. Weston Jewelers decided in 2006 to create its first annual Love Letter Contest as a way to give back to the community, promote customer relations and to create a different twist on observing Valentine’s Day, Tracey Dikes says. Nearly 600 responded to an e-mail blast with letters to their significant others that were judged by Weston Jewelers staff. “A lot of people who entered were not previous customers of the store,” Dikes says. A few days before Feb. 14, the store hosted a party to announce the winner of the grand prize, a $10,000 Weston gift certificate. A teary-eyed crowd of 100 watched as winner Sidney Lipkin read his letter honoring his wife, Lynn, and surprised her with the gift certificate. 


[contentheading]$10K Gift Certificate[/contentheading]

Weston advertised the contest with an e-mail blast, but you might try partnering with a radio station or newspaper. Judging was done by all the staff members, and submissions were narrowed to 18 finalists. To ensure the winner was present, he was notified and asked to keep it a secret until the announcement at the event. 



[contentheading]100+ New Customers[/contentheading]

Best of the Best: Valentine's Contest

The contest produced new customers and a whole lot of community goodwill. “We had no idea that this would mean so much to the community, we were stunned with the amount of letters we received, and it meant so much that we were allowed into the hearts and souls of so many people,” Dikes says. 

[componentheading]Try It Yourself[/componentheading]

1. Choose a prize that suits your budget and clientele. 
2. Advertise for people to send in their love letters. (Here’s a time when partnering with a local radio station or newspaper could really pay off.) 
3. Determine your judging criteria.  
4. Prepare a box of tissues for when your staff does the judging. 
5. Plan a party shortly before Valentine’s Day for all those who entered. 
6. Offer entrants a discount good only during the hours of the party.

[span class=note]This story is from the January 2008 edition of INSTORE[/span]


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