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Manager's To Do

Finalize a Holiday Event … and More Business To-Dos for October

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Oct. 2-7

EVENTS Plan a holiday event for early November. Not only do you avoid clashes with your customers’ work parties and family gatherings, but an early date allows you to test what’s popular in the market, says Ann Foley-Collins of Glee Gifts in Mansfield, MA (PICTURED, ABOVE), who has her store fully merchandised by Nov. 1 and then holds two fundraisers for local charities. “I see the bestsellers at these events as early indicators of what will be popular for the holidays and place my reorders right away.”

MARKETING Start planning your holiday email blasts now. Offer helpful gift ideas and feature exclusive deals to make your clients feel special. Top five days and times to send emails: end of October, Thanksgiving evening, Black Friday mid-morning, Cyber Monday afternoon, and one week before Christmas.

MARKETING Everyone sends Christmas cards. This year, send a Halloween card instead, because it’s an uncommon practice and the gesture really stands out.

FINANCING Layaway programs made a big comeback during the Great Recession as consumers sought more budget-friendly ways to pay for holiday gifts. Explore what it would take to roll out such a scheme in your market (laws differ by state).

Oct. 9-14

SECURITY Do you sell goods online? Then you need a trust badge/SSL certification. Not having one is a deal-breaker for 17 percent of shoppers. 

INVENTORY Need to quickly move inventory to make space for holiday bestsellers? Consider a store event with a “Dutch auction”: The price starts high and then descends, and the piece goes to the first bidder.

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STAFF Encourage staff communication ahead of the holidays with “lunch roulette.” Participants select a date when they are free for lunch, then they pull a name from a hat to discover their lunch partner.

Oct. 16-21

FAMILY Are you a custom jeweler? Start working on your wife’s or husband’s Christmas present. Getting it out of the way now will save you from panic later.

SOCIAL MEDIA Haven’t got the time or manpower to manage a full social-media campaign? Try offering a simple “deal of the day” (or week) to get people excited about special, time-limited offers. 

INVENTORY Create a merchandise checklist and add these dates to your e-calendar: special order cut-offs, special manufacturing cut-offs, delivery dates, dates your suppliers are closed.

Oct. 23-28

DISPLAY Experiment with placing some lower-value jewelry on top of your cases to encourage try-ons.

SALES FLOOR Look into getting a scent diffuser installed. Just about any nice smell will keep customers lingering longer, but pine, cinnamon  and mulled cider will reinforce the spirit of Christmas gift giving.

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STORE How are your entrance mats looking? If it’s been a while since you changed them, splash out on some new ones — they will save your carpets by keeping out salt and dirt.

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.

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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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Calendar

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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