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David Brown

It’s the Little Extra Sales that Make All the Difference

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The first decline in number of units sold in 16 months points to an area many jewelers could improve: items per ticket

David Brown


President of Edge Retail Academy
S

ales continued their upward trend in July with an increase in same-store monthly sales from $101,901 in July 2014 to $111,211 for July 2015, an increase of $9,310, or 10 percent from last year’s result. This is the 16th straight month that our survey group has shown an increase in the monthly sales figure from the equivalent month last year.

The result means a 0.59 percent increase in annual sales and this provides a 12-month trend of just over 7 percent annualized growth.

As the data shows, total sales were slightly down at 363 units versus the average of 376 units sold per store last year, although average retail sale per item increased 14 percent from $246 to $280. Gross profit has increased from $46,403 to $50,965, or 10 percent, with margins being close to their equivalent last year at just under 46 percent.

As the graph below shows, this is the first month we’ve seen a dip in quantity of items sold per month, slowing the trend that has been in place since February of last year.

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So how is your sales quantity performing?

Increasing sales is a double-edged sword and involves getting the balance right between increasing the number of sales you make and the amount you make on each sale. But the number of sales you make is not just about finding more customers — it’s also about making more sales to the customer you already have.

What do I mean? Let me ask you this question: How often does your staff suggest another item to a customer who has already purchased? If you’re like most stores, the answer will be “not very often” — if at all. Yet research shows that a customer is most likely to buy from you when they have just made a purchase.

Internet marketers know this and are increasingly using it as part of their game plan. How many times recently have you made an online purchase — be it a physical or Internet product — and been offered the chance to upgrade or purchase something else? Amazon are one of the best at this, suggesting additional items you may want based on what you’ve just purchased. Amazon is a huge company that spends a lot of time and money on researching how to convert browsers into shoppers — they wouldn’t do this if it didn’t work for them. Have you purchased an online information product and had another offer made to you from the thank-you page? Again this is an effective strategy online as marketers know that the person who has just given them their credit card details is the person most likely to purchase right here, right now.

So what are you doing to convert your best prospect — the person standing in front of you with their credit card already out — into a customer again?

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This starts with product. If Amazon shows similar product based on what you’ve purchased are you doing this in-store? Do people who want to buy sapphire rings also want to buy emerald rings? Or are they more likely to buy emerald earrings? Make the suggestion visually in the way you have your product displayed.

Secondly, and most importantly, it depends on staff. Most staff members breathe a sigh of relief and think their job is done when they get the customer to say yes. In reality, they have only just started.

Train your staff that the first sale is not the final sale but rather an expression of interest in a second item. Treat your first sale as a warm-up to the second and see how the conversion rate of add-on sales (sales per docket) increases.

Train them. Have you discussed with your staff how to approach the suggestion of an add-on sale? This should be a key part of their training so they can approach it comfortably. With December approaching you will have a lot of customers buying birthday presents in the next few months who will also need to think about their holiday purchases. Do the thinking for them.

Start measuring. Your system should be able to tell you the average number of items per sale. Measure it, talk about it in your morning meetings, and let the staff know that this is a key variable you are now measuring.
Put all this into place and watch the results start to happen.

 

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