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Manager's To Do

Bring in Those Larger Diamonds for the Holidays … and More Business To-Dos for November

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Oct 30-Nov 4

VIP SERVICES Fancy your fashion chops? Offer a personal styling service to clients. Simply invite your best customers to come in with the outfits they intend to wear and promise to find the perfect earrings (or whatever) to complete the look.

STOCK Make up last-minute stocking stuffers — nature rock key chains? Eyeglass chains with beads? High-end dog-tags for dogs?

MANAGEMENT Create a schedule to ensure you’re ahead on paperwork and display duties (cleaning, tagging, sorting), so that come December, you can focus almost exclusively on the sales floor.

Nov 6-11

NETWORKING Go to whatever parties and small business events you’re invited to. Meeting people face-to-face is the best way to ensure that when they think of gifts for the holidays, they’ll have a “real person” to go to!

PROCEDURES Study your parking lot. Devise and publicize a policy on staff parking. What do you do if a car needs to be towed?

INVENTORY Arrange now to have larger diamonds in your store ahead of the Christmas week engagement season. Says Terry Chandler, president of Diamond Council of America: “The engagement ring customer wants to see and touch the diamond in real time and often won’t wait for the ‘overnight’ shipment. Don’t reach into your sleigh and come up empty-handed!”

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Nov 13-18

WEBSITE Update your site with seasonal elements and feature gift ideas including one special every few days. Highlight your wish-list function.

COMMUNITY OUTREACH Reach out to local charities to identify a family that is in need and organize an internal store drive to help make their Christmas special.

ONLINE Keep posting your event schedule on your social media outlets — email and mailed invites can go astray.

Nov 20-25 

MARKETING Nov. 24 means Black Friday and also one month to go until Christmas. Send a reminder: There are only 28 more shopping days until Christmas.

STAFF Part-timers ask the same questions over and over because they weren’t trained on basics. Come up with the most common things that go wrong and prepare answers.

SHOWROOM Start feeding holiday songs into the store lineup. At first, aim for every fourth song, and then over the next five weeks slowly increase the rotation.

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Nov 27-Dec 2

GENERAL Trim down your high heels. Shoe-repair specialists can shorten most stilettos by up to half an inch and still maintain the shoe’s original pitch and alignment for between $8 and $15. 

INVENTORY Check your orders and stay on top of your vendors. Running out of your core items is almost as bad as ordering too much of a bad seller.

MERCHANDISING Narrow your assortments. Your strongest sellers in October and November are most likely to be the key items that will drive your business in December.

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at editor@instoremag.com.

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Manager's To Do

Considering Store Layout, Guilt-Easing Gift Ideas, and More Manager’s To-Do Items for November

And here’s a key scheduling tip for your holiday email marketing.

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Nov 3-9

STORE LAYOUT Look out for store fixtures that are too tall to allow shoppers to look across and take in your store. Fixtures that restrict visibility through the space kill the “spirit” of a store and the impulse to buy.

INVENTORY Investigate vendor spiffs. Your suppliers want their lines to succeed this season, so take advantage of the incentives they offer.

Video: How to Ask for Referrals Without Being Too Pushy
Jimmy Degroot

Video: How to Ask for Referrals Without Being Too Pushy

Video: How to Get People to Buy Jewelry From You Now Instead of ‘Someday’
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Video: How to Get People to Buy Jewelry From You Now Instead of ‘Someday’

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ONLINE Mobile devices are expected to drive about 70 percent of all Christmas-related retail traffic this year. Test your website and any apps to ensure the customer experience on tablets and phones is working as well as on desktops. It often doesn’t.

Nov 10-16

MARKETING Post your advertising schedule in the back room. Make sure your staff is fully aware of what promotions will run when.

SALES Find “guilt-easing” gift ideas to go with gift cards or certificates. For bigger certificate amounts, have a “real” gift — like Belgian chocolates or a bottle of wine — close at hand that you can bundle in free.

Nov 17-23

MARKETING With only four weeks to go until Christmas, step up your email campaigns to twice per week. Schedule campaigns on Thursdays or Fridays to stimulate purchases over the weekend, when conversion rates typically peak.

MERCHANDISING Impulse buys can come in many price ranges and store locations. Rethink the way you normally position these items.

STAFF Show your team how much you appreciate their efforts. Take them out for an activity or nice meal. Team-building will make it easier to get through the weeks ahead.

Nov 24-30

GOODWILL Play Santa: Sneak a little gift into every wrapped item.

OPERATIONS Starting today, hold a short staff meeting every morning, keeping everyone informed on progress. Single out a separate item each day and discuss the best way to present it. Keep the meetings short and make sure they end on an upbeat note.

TRAINING Coach your associates to steer more. Urge them to ask about the colors that spouses or partners wear, whether they prefer gold or silver, and if they favor big or small earrings. Advise them to keep the number of recommendations limited.

MANAGEMENT You should now be in full holiday-season mode. For last-minute tips and promotional ideas, go to your own INSTORE archives (or our past issues at instoremag.com/digimag).

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A Good Idea for Thanksgiving, and More Important Dates for November

Includes a fitting tribute to the quiz show twenty questions.

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2 The quiz show TWENTY QUESTIONS MADE ITS DEBUT on national television on this day 70 years ago. Mark the occasion by brainstorming 20 questions to get your customers talking. Sami Fine Jewelry in Fountain Hills, AZ, came up with a list that ranged from icebreakers like “What kind of pets do you own?” to those with a specific sale in mind: “How would you like to be a hero for under $100?”

19 Mark management expert PETER DRUCKER’S BIRTHDAY by saying no to something that you feel is vaguely important, but if you were to be brutally realistic, you don’t have time for.

28 Get in the spirit of THANKSGIVING by sending a goodie bag to your best 50 customers (be sure to include a coupon). It’s likely they provide an outsized contribution to your success.

29 It’s showtime! BLACK FRIDAY marks the traditional start of the shopping season. Spur your holiday sales with a special coupon mailed to your customer list.

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Why National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work Day Matters to Your Store, and More Important Dates for October

Don’t miss your chance to capitalize on Emotional Intelligence Awareness Month.

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1 Research estimates that 85 percent of an individual’s financial success can be attributed to their “human engineering skills” — that is, their ability to communicate and lead. During EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE AWARENESS MONTH, improve your ability to make others feel valued and understood. It requires good listening skills, empathy, and a commitment to inspire positive feelings.

1 At the start of CO-OP AWARENESS MONTH, weigh up the pros and cons of using co-op dollars for holiday advertising and make a decision based on your circumstances.

9 A little-appreciated fact: Teddy Bears look great in diamonds. On NATIONAL BRING YOUR TEDDY BEAR TO WORK DAY, feature a few bling-wearing teddies in your cases.

29 Today, THE INTERNET TURNS 50. If your online presence is little more than an electronic brochure for your store, sit down and map out a more aggressive online strategy.

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