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Manager's To Do

Manager’s To Do For Jewelers: February 2016

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Week 1 / FEB. 1-6

Technology Showcase popular Valentine items on your homepage, with a special emphasis on items that are exclusive to your store.

Display Starting with your V-Day displays, take a photo of each case the first of every month. With a history of it, you’ll know what Valentine’s Day 2016 looked like when it comes around to doing the display for 2017.

Strategy Visit your competitors’ stores and websites, subscribe to their newsletters, and assign someone on staff to create a scrapbook of their ads. You’ll be able to identify which areas to compete in and how to differentiate your store.

Week 2 / FEB. 8-13

Strategy Feb. 14 falls on a Sunday in 2016, leading to last-minute panic-buyers. Prepare a list of popular items at different price points. Review your “last-minute panic-buying” strategy and stock levels.

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Operations The No. 1 complaint customers have about salespeople is a lack of follow-up. Create a follow-up system and let your customers know you will always be there.

Staff You may not need new people now but keep a list of candidates.

Marketing Email blast: “Three days left ’til Valentine’s Day!” List your top 10 ideas for gifts.

Week 3 / FEB. 15-20

Finances If your fiscal year ends in December, you should finalize your financial statements by Feb. 29. Make an appointment to see your CPA.

Marketing Identify your top 1,000 customers and make yearlong plans targeting them. If you don’t have birthday and anniversary data, start thinking of ways to get it.

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Store If florists have any cheap stock left over from Valentine’s, you could get a jump on spring with fresh flowers in the store.

Marketing Adjust case content with an eye toward Mother’s Day and grad season. And don’t forget self purchasers — they buy throughout the year.

Marketing Create a yearlong calendar for events and promos: Bridal event for the fall, designer trunk show for summer, loose diamond event, holiday sale.

Finances If you haven’t updated your props and fixtures for five years, they’re sure to be showing their age. Amortize and depreciate fixtures and props as you do other equipment. Set a budget and schedule to acquire new gear.

Week 4 / FEB. 22-27

Inventory Buying season is on the way: Take a hard look at your inventory. Weed out underperformers and identify any new category trends. Set targets and support plans for your emerging inventory stars.

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Finances Don’t have time to negotiate? Billcutterz.com will do it for you. It haggles utility, Internet, cable, cellphone and trash bills for no starter fee. You and the site split the savings 50-50.

Technology Still not using bar code technology? Get with it. The same goes for all the other under-utilized functions on your POS system.

Operations Conduct an annual review of your property insurance policies to ensure they represent today’s prices.

Data Security It’s the time of year to back up all customer and store data and other important files.

This article originally appeared in the February 2016 edition of INSTORE.

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Manager's To Do

A Trick to Selling More Platinum, And Other Manager’s To-Do Items for September

And here are some great tips for infographics in your store.

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Sep. 1-7

INVENTORY The economy may be slowing a tad, but the wealthy keep getting richer. That is allowing more people to trade up from the standard 1-carat diamond engagement ring. But to sell 2-, 3-, or 4-carat pieces, you need to have a few on hand, says David Brown of the Edge Retail Academy. Start experimenting with more expensive bridal sets.

MARKETING Conduct an advertising review. If it’s bridal sales you desire, put that shotgun away. Pick one or two advertising media, based on their reach and return on investment, and concentrate on them. That requires courage and perseverance, but it’s the surest way to break through the chatter and win that key top-of-mind presence in your local market that will deliver engagement ring sales.

Sep. 8-14

STAFF Few things are more important to staff than having the sense that their work matters. As bridal season approaches, make it a constant refrain in your strategy meetings: you’re helping people with one of the most important decisions of their life.

SHOWROOM “It’s remarkable,” says merchandising expert Sally Furrer, “how often diamond areas are underlit in stores.” Crank up the lights.

Sep. 15-21

TRAINING The rise of the bead phenomenon in the last decade caused many jewelers to cut back on diamond sales training. If that happened in your store, look to bring in a trainer who specializes in bridal goods. It’s a whole different skill set.

MARKETING Twitter’s search function, along with free applications like TweetDeck, can be great tools for market research and lead generation. Start monitoring your competitors’ brand names and hashtags to see what people are saying about them and you. Set keywords related to bridal sales in your market and don’t be afraid to follow up (unsolicited messages from strangers is a fact of life in the Twitter-sphere).

Sep. 22-28

SOCIAL Want to take your social media efforts to the next level while educating your clientele about bridal in a way they’ll remember? Think infographics. Whether charting the evolution of diamond cuts or providing tips on ring cleaning, infographics are a great shareable way to communicate your message. Try these free infographic websites: Piktochart.com, Venngage.com, Easel.ly.

SALES Want to sell more platinum? Highlight its staying power. Keep an old white-gold ring and an old platinum one behind the counter to show customers what happens to the two metals after a few years. One of platinum’s strengths is the durability of its white color, which won’t fade or change (like an enduring love, hint, hint) and will continue to complement a diamond, as opposed to white gold, which fades to yellow.

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Yarr! It’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day and More Important Dates for September

“I’ll be paying top dollar for whatever golden loot ye’ve got stashed in your little treasure chest.”

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19 Many jewelers seem to have forgotten what a lucrative earner gold buying can be. Luckily, International Talk Like A Pirate Day is here to remind you. Yarr, have some fun with your advertising. “Yes, me hearties, Cap’n Jack Black Diamond has gone straight. I’ll be paying top dollar for your doubloons, old lockets or whatever golden loot ye’ve got stashed in your little treasure chests. Come see the Cap’n before the sharks get ye.”

01 On NATIONAL NO RHYME (NOR REASON) DAY, challenge your customers on social media to come up with words that can’t be rhymed. Three you can probably put to good use in your posts that day are “spirit,” “silver” and “woman.”

06 Today is FIGHT PROCRASTINATION DAY, and if you’re one of the many afflicted, try this trick: when jotting down a to-do item, keep rephrasing it until it involves the use of your limbs: “Pick up phone and call …”, “Open laptop and search for …”

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Remembering Woodstock, The Little One’s First Day in Kindergarten, and More Useful August Dates

You’re always busy, but this month, get things done.

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19 Mark the 30th anniversary of the launch of Stephen Covey’s THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE by doing something in its spirit: keep a journal of everything you do, broken down into 30-minute increments. At the end of each workday, assign a value — 1, 2 or 3 (the lowest) — to your time, and at the end of the week, evaluate the results. They may well surprise you. Obviously you want to be spending at least half your time on No. 1s.

1 August is GET READY FOR KINDERGARTEN MONTH. On the first day of school, invite all new kindergarten moms to come in for mimosas and snacks. They can reward themselves for surviving this milestone.

4 The FIRST ELECTRIC LIGHTBULB sparked to life 140 years ago today. Mark the occasion with a brainstorming session with staff for fourth-quarter promotions.

15 Fifty years ago today, the promise of free music, a good time, and … umm … a pretty good shot at “getting lucky” drew 400,000 young people to WOODSTOCK, NY. To many folks, that’s much the same promise that jewelry makes (minus the music). Roll back the years with a store party.

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