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Manager's To Do

What You Need to Be Doing in Your Business This October

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Week 1 / OCT. 3-8

Clienteling Review customer lists for the holidays. Plan a delivery of something special — flowers, bath soaps, homemade jam — to your best customers of the past three years to be made around Thanksgiving.

Events Finalize plans for special events. Confirm staff assignments.

Marketing What’s your wish-list strategy this year? Do you have a nonbuying ladies night planned? A flier? Are you on top of your POS wish-list functionality to track expressions of interest and follow-up?

Inventory Make up last-minute stocking stuffers — nature rock key chains? Eyeglass chains with beads, anyone?

Gift Wrapping Do a count of packaging, boxes and other wrapping supplies. Shop wholesale gift markets for holiday decorations. Internet Investigate what it would take to sell digital gift cards directly from your website. Gift cards get more popular each year, and young consumers don’t seem to have any issue with such digital gifts.

Week 2 / OCT. 10-15

Sales Expand your market reach to a new segment. See if there’s a holiday gift show planned for your area.

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Marketing Invite some local fashion bloggers to come in and play with your holiday inventory.

Staff Temporary staff members should be trained and in place by the beginning of November.

Marketing Launch a holiday-specific email newsletter with specialized content and product offers. Prominently display “top sellers,” “our picks,” “top products,” etc.

Week 3 / OCT. 17-22

Marketing Let your customers know about your repair and redesign services — turning your customers’ tired old heirlooms into beautiful new styles is a great Christmas-gift idea.

Merchandise Clean your entire inventory and props. Display expert Larry Johnson recommends using Simple Green cleaner (diluted 50/50 with water) to lightly clean all leatherette displays.

Sales Your sales associates should have a story for every piece of jewelry in your store. Start testing them with pieces in your morning meetings. Internet Begin adjusting website content for the holiday season. Put Christmas into your titles and keywords.

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Operations Does your store have a coat check? Look into setting up one. It will make customers more comfortable.

Week 4 / OCT. 24-29

Repairs Set cutoff dates. Put them on a sign behind the counter, in ads and on your website.

Operations Build a music playlist for the holidays that evokes the joy of gift-giving.

Inventory Ensure you’ll have sufficient inventory for last-minute holiday purchasers. Plan to ratchet up promotions for 11th-hour specials and products in order to attract this growing type of desperate shopper.

Training Focus on strategies to handle customers who “need to check with their wife first,” who say their mortgage is tying up their finances, or who “saw it on Blue Nile for less.”

This article originally appeared in the October 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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