One of the questions I hear most often from retailers is, “What have you learned as a result of seeing so many stores and talking to so many store owners?” For me, the biggest lesson is that no matter how successful the store, there is almost always a blind spot – that is, an area of potential growth or improvement that the owner is just not seeing.

I once had a boss who used to say, “You can’t read the label from inside the bottle.” What he meant was, sometimes you need an outsider to tell you what’s obvious to the rest of the world, but what may not be obvious to the owner and employees who are wrapped up in the day-to-day business of the store.

Before I started with INSTORE, I shopped several hundred jewelry stores as part of my role as a marketing consultant, and recently, I’ve been back inside quite a few stores as part of an effort to be more connected with what’s going on “on the front lines” of the industry. What was true before is still true, and I saw opportunity in each store. One store has updated its showroom and is on the forefront of digital marketing, but its exterior and interior signage still looks like it was designed in the 1940s (and not in a cool retro kind of way). Another has a great vibe, a cool location and an exceptional merchandising strategy, except it’s missing an opportunity at the high-end. One has an incredibly friendly and welcoming staff but hasn’t overhauled its exterior or interior for what looks to be about 50 years, while yet another looked to be on the cutting edge of interior design and self-branding, but its staff was unfriendly and uneducated.

"Get that second opinion, and see the unvarnished truth about your business."

I could go on about each and every store I’ve visited. Think your store is perfect? I guarantee there are opportunities for improvement, and some may be huge.

Back in my consulting days, we had a client who wouldn’t sell a diamond that was anything less than AGS zero cut. We talked him into opening up his standards just a little: He agreed to sell diamonds graded at 2 or better. His sales immediately jumped 30 percent and maintained that increase for a full year, just because he was willing to slay one of his “sacred cows.” His community knew he only sold the highest quality diamonds, so once more of them were able to afford to buy from his store, they jumped at the chance.

What are your sacred cows? Where are your blind spots? Maybe it’s time to get an outsider to come in and tell you what’s obvious to the rest of the world. That could mean bringing in a consultant, and there are several good ones in our industry. It could also mean asking people in your marketplace – not your current customers, but the ones you’re not getting. Why aren’t they shopping with you?

It’s not easy to hear from someone that you are missing opportunities, but is it worth the additional business you’ll receive? If so, why not act today? Get that second opinion, and see the unvarnished truth about your business. I can’t imagine you’ll regret it.

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JEWELER SUCCESS STORIES

Two-Time Winner

When it was time to close its doors, Cranstoun Court Jewellers of Sun City, Arizona chose Wilkerson to handle its liquidation sale. For all involved, the sale “far exceeded expectations.” But it wasn’t the first time Wilkerson helped sell off the store’s aging merchandise. They were there 13 years before, when ownership changed hands. See how Wilkerson can help you when it’s time to liquidate or sell off aging inventory.

 


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