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Manager's To Do

Here’s Your Manager To-Do List to Prepare for the Holidays

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Oct 1-7

SALES “We cured the bad habit of saying ‘no problem,’” says Scott Chalmers of Chalmers Jewelers, Middleton, WI. “If you’re caught saying ‘no problem,’ you put $1 into the fish bowl. Then every Friday, either I buy lunch with the fish bowl funds or out of my pocket. After two weeks, I was buying lunch out of my pocket.”

INVENTORY Need to clear space for new merchandise? Try running a “Top to Bottom” sale for about three weeks. Your “top” piece might be 10 percent off, while your “bottom” piece (the oldest one you have and just haven’t been able to sell) might be 70 percent off. “It generates cash and it makes room for all the new things you buy,” says Patricia Holt, VP of operations at The Tiny Jewel Box in Washington, DC.

GIFT WRAPPING Buy a book on gift-wrapping, and find a style that your customers will remember. Assign paper- and ribbon-cutting duties.

Oct 8-14

SOCIAL MEDIA Prepare an editorial calendar for your blog and other social media channels. Aim to post something new every day, be it a blog, Facebook comment or new video. It will all help increase your website’s SEO at the time of year when people are scouring the Internet for gifts and gift ideas.

WEBSITE Update the offerings on your website. Be sure to highlight some of your proudest custom pieces.

ONLINE Do 404 error pages on your website frustrate or amuse? Consider a photo of your store mascot wearing jewelry or something similarly lighthearted. Amazon features “the dogs of Amazon” — great studio-shot portraits, presumably of staffers’ dogs. Of course, don’t forget your message: “You’ve come to a dead-end. Go back!”

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Oct 15-21

GIFT CARDS At your front desk and take-in area, place signs to let people know about your gift cards. The sign could say something as simple as “Ask about our holiday season gift card specials,” or just “Buy a gift card today.”

MARKETING This is a good time of year to be handing out business cards, especially cards with a special offer. Make sure that you, and all your staff, have plenty of cards to hand out when they’re out and about this month.

STAFF Finalize work schedules for the next 12 weeks (include the first half of January). Check your staff’s obligations and work around any clashes. Identify the peak hours and ensure your best salespeople will be on the floor.

Oct 22-28

MEDIA Send a press release to the local newspaper along with a note offering your services as a source on the subject of jewelry for Christmas.

MANAGEMENT Post your November and December monthly and daily goals in the back room. This is also time to unveil your sales spiff of the year. What will it be this year? The latest iPhone, a three-day holiday, an offer to shave your hair off? Don’t forget a secondary prize for the sales associate who collects the most customer emails.

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

A Trick to Selling More Platinum, And Other Manager’s To-Do Items for September

And here are some great tips for infographics in your store.

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Sep. 1-7

INVENTORY The economy may be slowing a tad, but the wealthy keep getting richer. That is allowing more people to trade up from the standard 1-carat diamond engagement ring. But to sell 2-, 3-, or 4-carat pieces, you need to have a few on hand, says David Brown of the Edge Retail Academy. Start experimenting with more expensive bridal sets.

MARKETING Conduct an advertising review. If it’s bridal sales you desire, put that shotgun away. Pick one or two advertising media, based on their reach and return on investment, and concentrate on them. That requires courage and perseverance, but it’s the surest way to break through the chatter and win that key top-of-mind presence in your local market that will deliver engagement ring sales.

Sep. 8-14

STAFF Few things are more important to staff than having the sense that their work matters. As bridal season approaches, make it a constant refrain in your strategy meetings: you’re helping people with one of the most important decisions of their life.

SHOWROOM “It’s remarkable,” says merchandising expert Sally Furrer, “how often diamond areas are underlit in stores.” Crank up the lights.

Sep. 15-21

TRAINING The rise of the bead phenomenon in the last decade caused many jewelers to cut back on diamond sales training. If that happened in your store, look to bring in a trainer who specializes in bridal goods. It’s a whole different skill set.

MARKETING Twitter’s search function, along with free applications like TweetDeck, can be great tools for market research and lead generation. Start monitoring your competitors’ brand names and hashtags to see what people are saying about them and you. Set keywords related to bridal sales in your market and don’t be afraid to follow up (unsolicited messages from strangers is a fact of life in the Twitter-sphere).

Sep. 22-28

SOCIAL Want to take your social media efforts to the next level while educating your clientele about bridal in a way they’ll remember? Think infographics. Whether charting the evolution of diamond cuts or providing tips on ring cleaning, infographics are a great shareable way to communicate your message. Try these free infographic websites: Piktochart.com, Venngage.com, Easel.ly.

SALES Want to sell more platinum? Highlight its staying power. Keep an old white-gold ring and an old platinum one behind the counter to show customers what happens to the two metals after a few years. One of platinum’s strengths is the durability of its white color, which won’t fade or change (like an enduring love, hint, hint) and will continue to complement a diamond, as opposed to white gold, which fades to yellow.

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Yarr! It’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day and More Important Dates for September

“I’ll be paying top dollar for whatever golden loot ye’ve got stashed in your little treasure chest.”

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19 Many jewelers seem to have forgotten what a lucrative earner gold buying can be. Luckily, International Talk Like A Pirate Day is here to remind you. Yarr, have some fun with your advertising. “Yes, me hearties, Cap’n Jack Black Diamond has gone straight. I’ll be paying top dollar for your doubloons, old lockets or whatever golden loot ye’ve got stashed in your little treasure chests. Come see the Cap’n before the sharks get ye.”

01 On NATIONAL NO RHYME (NOR REASON) DAY, challenge your customers on social media to come up with words that can’t be rhymed. Three you can probably put to good use in your posts that day are “spirit,” “silver” and “woman.”

06 Today is FIGHT PROCRASTINATION DAY, and if you’re one of the many afflicted, try this trick: when jotting down a to-do item, keep rephrasing it until it involves the use of your limbs: “Pick up phone and call …”, “Open laptop and search for …”

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Remembering Woodstock, The Little One’s First Day in Kindergarten, and More Useful August Dates

You’re always busy, but this month, get things done.

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19 Mark the 30th anniversary of the launch of Stephen Covey’s THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE by doing something in its spirit: keep a journal of everything you do, broken down into 30-minute increments. At the end of each workday, assign a value — 1, 2 or 3 (the lowest) — to your time, and at the end of the week, evaluate the results. They may well surprise you. Obviously you want to be spending at least half your time on No. 1s.

1 August is GET READY FOR KINDERGARTEN MONTH. On the first day of school, invite all new kindergarten moms to come in for mimosas and snacks. They can reward themselves for surviving this milestone.

4 The FIRST ELECTRIC LIGHTBULB sparked to life 140 years ago today. Mark the occasion with a brainstorming session with staff for fourth-quarter promotions.

15 Fifty years ago today, the promise of free music, a good time, and … umm … a pretty good shot at “getting lucky” drew 400,000 young people to WOODSTOCK, NY. To many folks, that’s much the same promise that jewelry makes (minus the music). Roll back the years with a store party.

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