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Publisher’s Note: Be Prepared

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PUBLISHER’S NOTE

BE PREPARED

A few pointers to think about before hitting the shows this year

BY DAN KISCH
Published in the April 2014 issue

When I’m on vacation I love to visit jewelry stores. I kind of think of them as museums more than stores because buying is not my goal. I want to see how quickly and completely the store captures and keeps my attention. With many stores I’m in and out before I can say “Hi, I’m the publisher of INSTORE.” But when I walk into a great store, it can feel like I’m 10 years old again, going to see the dinosaur bones at the Museum of Natural History for the first time.

This year, The SMART Show will be especially interesting as we will be focusing a lot of attention on merchandising.

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Here are a few things to consider as you walk the shows in the next few months:

The vendors at the show actually want the same thing that you do. That’s right: The goal we all have is to put the right merchandise in the right place in your cases so you can turn lookers into buyers and buyers into repeat customers. Talk to your vendors about what product will work best for your store and what merchandising tips they have to turn their hot sellers into your hot sellers.

Not everything you buy at the show needs to be intended for sale in your store. Huh? Yep — you need a certain amount of merchandise just to create interest and excitement. You need a bit of wow to go along with the now. While we believe you should rid yourself of dogs, there are certain pieces that you might buy just for show. Merchandising is more than just turn; it’s about traffic, word of mouth, marketing, store positioning and more.

Create a needs hierarchy. As part of your plan you need to know what you must accomplish as well as what you’d like to accomplish. Focus on the essentials and you’ll go home feeling like the week was worth it.

Map it out. Probably the most important thing you can do is set up an itinerary by booth number. (You can go to the website of the show beforehand and get the list.) Once you have the list, be disciplined about following it. It’s easy to get sidetracked.

Finally: Talk to your sales associates. They are the true heroes of our industry. They are the front lines. They stand between us and the loss of our way of life to flat-screen TVs, tablets and smartphones. People sell what they believe. Making them an integral part of your preparation before the shows is essential to ensure that they are enthusiastic about what you put in their hands for the selling season.

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If you think of making your customers’ eyes light up as they walk into your store like a 10-year-old seeing dinosaur bones for the first time, your business will thrive like never before.


DAN KISCH
[email protected]

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