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Eileen McClelland

Holiday-Customer Strategies Reveal Universal Sales Truths



The Big Story for INSTORE’s November 2015 issue is about customer types retailers may encounter between Black Friday and Christmas Eve.

Thanks, Brain Squadders for being so descriptive when conjuring up images of those colorful types – high maintenance, low maintenance – I heard about them all.

But the approach to Christmas sales boils down to this: Be grateful for the traffic, (no matter how odd, under-dressed or dramatic), treat everyone with respect, provide a "wow" experience, and make the kind of friendly first impression that will lead to a long and meaningfully profitable relationship.

And of course, don’t pre-judge anyone: “We are so eager to rush off to the next customer because we are sure they are going to buy,” says Becka Johnson Kibby, sales and training manager for The Edge Retail Academy. “But you truly never know who is going to buy.”

Dealing with a budget

Kate Peterson of Performance Concepts says that shoppers today – no matter the type – are more impressed by service than anything else. There was a time, she says, when you could tell a customer a ring is worth $10,000 because of its features. Now, your approach has got to be about the customer as an individual – what they get for what they spend.

What makes it a good value to the individual?


“Remind sales people that shoppers are not just trying to save money, they’re trying to make the best choice with the money they have,” she says. “If they don’t love it, you’re never going to make it valuable to them. If they do love it, they will spend way more than they planned to. So when they say, `It’s expensive,’ don’t argue with them. Say, well of course it is. The best always is and you have great taste. “

Find out what they love most about it by asking the right questions and find something they’ll love at a price they are comfortable with.

And no matter what the customer looks like, assume he or she can afford the best you have to offer.

The Internet Shopper

Everyone’s worried about the Internet price shopper, in particular. But if they show up in your store, they are yours to lose now, Kibby says. More than 90 percent of shoppers do online research. If they are looking for your help, something stopped them from pushing the buy button. It was likely the longing for great service and a more personal experience.

“Listen carefully to what their needs are,” Kibby says. “Ask them what they loved about what they saw online. That will help steer you in the right direction in the store.”


Eileen McClelland is the Managing Editor of INSTORE. She believes that every jewelry store has the power of cool within them.



Celebrate Your Retirement with Wilkerson

For nearly three decades, Suzanne and Tom Arnold ran a successful business at Facets Fine Jewelry in Arlington, Va. But the time came when the Arnolds wanted to do some of the things you put off while you’ve got a business to run. “We decided it was time to retire,” says Suzanne, who claims the couple knew how to open a store, how to run a store but “didn’t know how to close a store.” So, they hired Wilkerson to do it for them. When she called, Suzanne says Wilkerson offered every option for the sale she could have hoped for. Better still, “the sale exceeded our financial goals like crazy,” she says. And customers came, not only to take advantage of the going-out-of-business buys and mark-downs, but to wish a bon voyage to the beloved proprietors of a neighborhood institution. “People were celebrating our retirement, and that was so special,” says says.

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