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Manager's To Do

Manage the Important Stuff … and More To-Do’s for December

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Dec. 4-9

EXPERIENCE When the holidays are at their most hectic, a bathroom can offer a welcome refuge. Get your restroom in the holiday mood with a few extra touches, such as a portable lamp with an appropriately colored shade, holiday towels and a scented candle. Your guests will appreciate the extra effort.

OPERATIONS Stay on top of the Big Three: human resources, marketing and inventory. Says Tonia Ulsh of Mountz Jewelers in Camp Hill, PA: “Continue to keep a positive outlook for me and my team. Work on solidifying wish lists. Continue to re-order fast sellers.” 

Sales floor When the going gets tough, everyone can do with a few well-chosen words to stoke the embers. Prepare fridge quotes, inspirational emails and some rocking tunes to get everyone in the mood every day for the next three weeks.

Dec. 11-16

MARKETING Prepare a welcome offer for customers who make their first purchase in December — perhaps a voucher to get them back in the store ahead of Valentine’s Day. 

MEETINGS Start holding short morning meetings. Keep everyone updated on things like average sale, which pieces to show first, repair deadlines and any ads you’re running.

STORE Want to assure customers they are dealing with real live humans in your store? Cut a Christmas karaoke video with you and your staff singing timeless holiday classics in booming voices (off-key is fine). Play it occasionally — and at a low volume, please — on your store’s video monitors.

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SOCIAL MEDIA Start posting photos of your two best-selling jewelry pieces on Facebook each day. Post the first when you open and the other around 3 p.m. Launch three new Pinterest pages: Last-minute Gift Ideas for Her; Last-minute Gift Ideas for Him; Gift Ideas under $100. Ask each of your employees to post at least one photo a day to your store’s Instagram account. Watch for feedback and keep the conversation going.

Dec. 18-23

MERCHANDISING The last-minute men are on their way. Brainstorm gift ideas and suggestions with your staff, then create a “Holiday Favorites” display case to help procrastinators speed up their gift choices.

EXPERIENCE Double-check every piece and pane of case glass to see that it is sparkling. Don’t let smudges sow seeds of doubt in your customers’ minds.

SALES FLOOR Tell staff: Keep it personal. Ask questions and listen closely to what customers are saying. It’s late in the season, but these are still gifts of love.

Dec. 25-30

INVENTORY Figure out which inventory failed to live up to expectations and needs to go. It’s post-Christmas sales time — a certain group of customers have been waiting all year for this. Don’t let them leave without a slow seller.

PLANNING While the season is still fresh on everyone’s minds, have a meeting to discuss how things went and what could have been done better. Discuss broad targets for the 2018 season.

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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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A Good Idea for Thanksgiving, and More Important Dates for November

Includes a fitting tribute to the quiz show Twenty Questions.

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2 The quiz show TWENTY QUESTIONS MADE ITS DEBUT on national television on this day 70 years ago. Mark the occasion by brainstorming 20 questions to get your customers talking. Sami Fine Jewelry in Fountain Hills, AZ, came up with a list that ranged from icebreakers like “What kind of pets do you own?” to those with a specific sale in mind: “How would you like to be a hero for under $100?”

19 Mark management expert PETER DRUCKER’S BIRTHDAY by saying no to something that you feel is vaguely important, but if you were to be brutally realistic, you don’t have time for.

28 Get in the spirit of THANKSGIVING by sending a goodie bag to your best 50 customers (be sure to include a coupon). It’s likely they provide an outsized contribution to your success.

29 It’s showtime! BLACK FRIDAY marks the traditional start of the shopping season. Spur your holiday sales with a special coupon mailed to your customer list.

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Manager's To Do

Considering Store Layout, Guilt-Easing Gift Ideas, and More Manager’s To-Do Items for November

And here’s a key scheduling tip for your holiday email marketing.

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Nov 3-9

STORE LAYOUT Look out for store fixtures that are too tall to allow shoppers to look across and take in your store. Fixtures that restrict visibility through the space kill the “spirit” of a store and the impulse to buy.

INVENTORY Investigate vendor spiffs. Your suppliers want their lines to succeed this season, so take advantage of the incentives they offer.

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Video: Increase Your Jewelry Sales Through Add-Ons

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Video: It’s Not My Problem When You Buy a $120 Ring and Your Wife Finds Out It’s ‘Fake’

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Video: Things to Remember When Dealing with ‘Gonna Buy’ Jewelry Customers

ONLINE Mobile devices are expected to drive about 70 percent of all Christmas-related retail traffic this year. Test your website and any apps to ensure the customer experience on tablets and phones is working as well as on desktops. It often doesn’t.

Nov 10-16

MARKETING Post your advertising schedule in the back room. Make sure your staff is fully aware of what promotions will run when.

SALES Find “guilt-easing” gift ideas to go with gift cards or certificates. For bigger certificate amounts, have a “real” gift — like Belgian chocolates or a bottle of wine — close at hand that you can bundle in free.

Nov 17-23

MARKETING With only four weeks to go until Christmas, step up your email campaigns to twice per week. Schedule campaigns on Thursdays or Fridays to stimulate purchases over the weekend, when conversion rates typically peak.

MERCHANDISING Impulse buys can come in many price ranges and store locations. Rethink the way you normally position these items.

STAFF Show your team how much you appreciate their efforts. Take them out for an activity or nice meal. Team-building will make it easier to get through the weeks ahead.

Nov 24-30

GOODWILL Play Santa: Sneak a little gift into every wrapped item.

OPERATIONS Starting today, hold a short staff meeting every morning, keeping everyone informed on progress. Single out a separate item each day and discuss the best way to present it. Keep the meetings short and make sure they end on an upbeat note.

TRAINING Coach your associates to steer more. Urge them to ask about the colors that spouses or partners wear, whether they prefer gold or silver, and if they favor big or small earrings. Advise them to keep the number of recommendations limited.

MANAGEMENT You should now be in full holiday-season mode. For last-minute tips and promotional ideas, go to your own INSTORE archives (or our past issues at instoremag.com/digimag).

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Why National Bring Your Teddy Bear to Work Day Matters to Your Store, and More Important Dates for October

Don’t miss your chance to capitalize on Emotional Intelligence Awareness Month.

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1 Research estimates that 85 percent of an individual’s financial success can be attributed to their “human engineering skills” — that is, their ability to communicate and lead. During EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE AWARENESS MONTH, improve your ability to make others feel valued and understood. It requires good listening skills, empathy, and a commitment to inspire positive feelings.

1 At the start of CO-OP AWARENESS MONTH, weigh up the pros and cons of using co-op dollars for holiday advertising and make a decision based on your circumstances.

9 A little-appreciated fact: Teddy Bears look great in diamonds. On NATIONAL BRING YOUR TEDDY BEAR TO WORK DAY, feature a few bling-wearing teddies in your cases.

29 Today, THE INTERNET TURNS 50. If your online presence is little more than an electronic brochure for your store, sit down and map out a more aggressive online strategy.

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