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Manager's To Do

Shopping Tips for Show Season, P&L Advice and More May To-Do Items for Managers

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Apr. 30-May 6

WEBSITE Is the information in your “About Us” section purely factual, or are you using stories to help illustrate who you are? As Mark Twain said, “Don’t say the old lady screamed. Bring her on and let her scream.” The best marketing writing is written to be said, not to be read. So give it a try, and then use the simple test of reading it out loud.

buying “Decide what markets we will be attending in Las Vegas and set a timeline to pull reports and review what product lines we’re going forward with, what we need to stock balance, and what products have not performed well.”

DISPLAYS Position your best Mother’s Day (May 13) specials in a showcase just inside the front door. Simplify the selection process by highlighting a few classic pieces or current trends.

May 7-13

MERCHANDISING Reel in the tax rebates: create a display of jewelry items that fall into the $100 to $300 range and promote them. That’s close to the sweet spot for fine fashion jewelry.

SALES Weekly sales meeting topic: What else? The run-in to Mother’s Day. Tell ‘em, “Leave nothing in the locker room! And nothing in the vault!” A spiff or sales game wouldn’t hurt ether.

May 14-20

BUYING Show season is on the way. Prepare a portfolio to present to prospective vendors with a letter of introduction that contains information about your store’s history, market demographics, other brands you carry, and your business’s credit ratings. Also, include marketing and promotional campaigns you’ve carried out and copies of magazine articles that mention your store. (Another reason to join the Brain Squad — hint, hint). 

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EVENTS Finalize plans for summer trunk shows and designer events. Confirm dates with vendors. Planning your catering now will allow you to negotiate volume discounts when multiple events are booked.

May 21-27

MARKETING We can see the intro now: “Want to know what will be the next big trend in jewelry? Janie Johnson of JJ’s Jewelry is just back from the world’s biggest jewelry show …” Before you head off to Vegas this year, get in touch with your local newspaper and promise to come back with something interesting.

FINANCES Business coach Laurie Owen recommends giving your P&L a spring makeover. Group expenses into categories, like salaries and benefits, marketing expenses, admin, etc. Then, next to the dollar amount, list the expense amount as a percentage of sales. “It helps you see when an expense is increasing as a percentage, and not just going up because your sales are increasing.That way, you don’t miss those creepers.”

May 28-June 3

INVENTORY Ever tried a “Christmas in July” promotion? Maybe this could be the year. Or if you’ve got a lot of lower-end inventory that won’t move, what about a sidewalk sale?

MARKETING Send your first Father’s Day (June 17) postcard this week.

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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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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