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Megan Crabtree

Here’s How to Transform Those Post-Holiday Returns into Exchanges

Create a contest that incentivizes your sales team to “save sales” they didn’t originally make.





ACCORDING TO THE National Retail Federation and Appriss Retail, retailers are expecting 13.3 percent of merchandise sold during the holiday season to be returned.

So, if we are expecting “business as usual” knowing customers will come in wanting to return purchased items, how can you train your team to try and save these sales, so it is an exchange rather than a return?

Jewelry retailers take returns rather than exchanges for two reasons. First, their associates are not trained in giving just as great of an experience for customers coming in for a return as for customers coming in for a purchase. Second, the sales associates have no skin in the game or desire to save a sale that they personally did not sell the client.

Before you do anything else, coach your team to share with customers during the buying process that if the person receiving the gift does not like it, to email or call the associate to set an appointment so they can make it right. This not only gives you a heads up prior to the client coming in, but it also allows you time to preselect other options for them.

As far as the process for returns, one key component is training your team to give the same joyful “WOW” experience when customers come in wanting to return their gift just as if they were making the purchase over again. Don’t make them feel ashamed, down, or pushed to the side because they came back to return.


Consider the following when developing the process for returns to ensure a wow experience:

  1. Have a greeter at the door to make them feel welcome.
  2. Designate someone to lead them to the original sales associate or to look up the transaction in the POS software.
  3. Offer them a beverage so they feel comfortable and like they are at home.
  4. If the original sales associate is not available, provide them with another associate who has a similar amount of experience.

Now to the fun part: How to get your sales team to save sales that they originally didn’t sell!

Create a contest. If they save a sale that they didn’t originally sell, have them reprint the receipt, handwrite their name on it, and put it in a Christmas themed box, so at the end of the month, you can draw a winner. Obviously, if they save many sales, they have more chances to win the prize. You can make the prize anything from a cash incentive to a weekend vacation!

Happy selling, and feel free to share your “save a sale” success story with me on LinkedIn at



Moving Up — Not Out — with Wilkerson

Trish Parks has always wanted to be in the jewelry business and that passion has fueled her success. The original Corinth Jewelers opened in the Mississippi town of the same name in 2007. This year, Parks moved her business from its original strip mall location to a 10,000-square foot standalone store. To make room for fresh, new merchandise, she asked Wilkerson to organize a moving sale. “What I remember most about the sale is the outpouring excitement and appreciation from our customers,” says Parks. Would she recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers? “I would recommend Wilkerson because they came in, did what they were supposed to and made us all comfortable. And we met our goals.”

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