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Here Are 3 Ways to Beat Online Retailers

These are services that they simply can’t offer … but you can.

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HOW DO YOU fight online competition? By focusing on the things that they simply can’t do, namely service.

Here are three areas where you can use the service aspect of your business to your advantage and increase your service revenue stream.

Watch Batteries and Watchbands

I’m constantly amazed at how many jewelers either don’t sell watch batteries and watchbands or don’t take full advantage of the opportunity. I don’t know of another business that you can walk into and receive immediate service to fix a problem without an appointment. Yet, we jewelers do it all the time. When your customer has a problem that you fix on the spot, you’re adding value to the transaction. Start your standard watch batteries at $15 to $25 installed with a one-year warranty and never look back.

In-Store Repairs and Adjustments

So many people purchase watches online that need to be sized or adjusted. Some of them are so poorly made that they’re ridiculously hard to adjust or too large to size normally. There’s nothing wrong with charging $20 or $25 to fit a watchband to your customer’s wrist. They didn’t purchase it from you, and you’re certainly under no obligation to help them, but you’ve chosen to provide great customer service, so make sure you’re well compensated for your time and effort. This also applies to in-store repairs like closing jump rings, installing lobster claws, spring rings, etc. These are services that your customers can’t do themselves. Make sure you charge for your time, even if it’s only $5 or $10. It all adds up, and no one should work for free, especially when it wasn’t purchased from your store. We use the money generated from these adjustments to throw a great employee holiday party at the end of the year.

Custom Design Appointments

Most customers have no idea what goes into the preparation of a custom design project, whether it’s counter sketching, wax carving or actually doing a CAD. They come in with an idea that they want you to bring to life, and of course they want to know how much it will cost. By charging at least $100 for an initial consultation, which can be applied to the finished piece, you will immediately separate out those people that are simply information seekers from those customers who are serious and ready to start the process. If you’re not charging for that initial consultation, you’ll be taken advantage of time after time, as they will use your ideas and go somewhere else if they’re not satisfied with the price. By committing to pay you something up front, they are invested in the process and have an incentive to stay with you.

I’ve only listed three types of in-store services that will generate more income for your store, but there are many more. It’s important to keep in mind that your customer can’t go to Amazon or any online retailers to have these services done; they’re either not offered at all or are too prohibitively expensive and time-consuming to ship back and forth. They can be done offline by you, day after day, for a substantial profit.

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Evan James Deutsch is founder and president of Evan James Limited, a 30-year-old AGS Fine Jeweler located in Brattleboro, VT.

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