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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

Hold an Appraisal Clinic, and More Manager’s To-Do Items for March

This is the time to get your ducks in a row for spring and Mother’s Day.

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Mar. 1-7

MARKETING Study April’s birthstone, diamond, and the best ways to work price and value perceptions. Begin planning a diamond event that can run in April. Short of ideas? Try a diamond re-styling event — one recently brought in $35,000 for one of our Brain Squad members over a two-day period.

MANAGEMENT Having trouble sleeping? This probably won’t help, but you’ll find it fascinating and hugely instructive nonetheless: Every Amazon shareholder letter written by Jeff Bezos in a single downloadable

PDF (instoremag.com/amazonletter). The letters highlight how prescient and strategic he and Amazon have been since the 1990s and where he envisions retail in the future.

MARKETING Invite your customers to an “Appraisal Clinic” at your store, along with a reminder that their insurance company will typically pay the oldest (meaning “lowest”) appraisal price, so they should “update now” to protect their investments.

Mar. 8-14

SHOWROOM Do a case-by-case inspection to see how jewelry is performing by location. If a case isn’t producing, mark it off, sell it down and reinvest the money in faster-moving jewelry.

OPERATIONS Train employees to plot customers’ diamonds at take-in. As part of this, teach them to explain to customers how to identify their diamonds. It will greatly raise their confidence in you.

BRANDING Add a line at the bottom of all store correspondence that says: “Shop and support local companies. By shopping locally, you save on emissions and help the local economy.”

Mar. 15-21

SHOWROOM “Now’s the time to order carpet cleanings for April,” says Jim Doggett, owner of Doggett Jewelry in Kingston, NH. You don’t want your customers being reminded of stuffy musty winter days as the warm months roll around.

MARKETING Work that word-of-mouth. Put a friendly little sign near your exit that says something like, “Don’t forget to tell your friends about us!”

INVENTORY The sales game “First In, First Out” reminds sales associates that there is a customer for every piece and that they are responsible for finding that customer. To get them to see things your way, offer bigger commissions for selling older pieces. Code your older inventory with colored dots: green for pieces one or more years old (pays 10 percent commission); red for pieces nine months old (7 percent  commission); and blue for six months old (5 percent  commission).

Mar. 22-28

MARKETING Reach out to a local florist to have bouquets ready for the Mother’s Day weekend (May 9-10). “Help your male clients take something off their list when they’ve forgotten to buy flowers for Mother’s Day. And who knows, maybe they will buy a bit of sparkle from you to go with the flowers,” says Kathleen Cutler of Kathleen Cutler Strategy.

FINANCES Set a time to see your banker. Look for ways to use idle cash, reduce interest, and improve cash flows. Set up a credit line now even if you don’t think you’ll ever need it.

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Strike a Pose for Sisterhood (it’s International Women’s Day), and Other Important Dates for March

And tag, you’re it on National Proposal Day.

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8 International Women’s Day is a chance to demonstrate solidarity with your sisters around the world. Ask your staff to join you in striking a pose for gender equality (this year’s theme is #EachforEqual; see photo for proper pose). “Show your younger clients that you are paying attention to causes that matter to them,” says Kathleen Cutler of Kathleen Cutler Strategy, adding that you should submit the image to the local newspaper for some extra press.

1 National Procrastination Week. That thing you’ve been putting off? Just do it … even if only for five minutes in the beginning.

20 National Proposal Day. He got the ring (from you), he’s got the idea … Make sure he doesn’t forget to tag your social media accounts when it comes to the big moment.

29 On National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day, revisit your marketing to see how you’re playing up to being local, independent and service-minded.

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Manager's To Do

Prep Your Last-Minute Panic Buying Strategy for V-Day and More Manager’s To-Do Items

This is the time to get your strategy in order for the year.

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Feb. 2-8

CRM Want to be top of mind come dates like Valentine’s Day? Send a bouquet of flowers on the birthday and anniversary of every woman customer who has spent over $3,000 in the last two years. Start this week.

FINANCE One of the downsides of never-ending economic growth is a tendency to get sloppy with costs. There are savings just about everywhere — if you are prepared to demand them. Don’t have time to negotiate? Services like BillShark, BillFixers and Billcutterz will do it for you in areas such as your fixed-line telephone, water delivery, even alarm system for a share of the savings.

OPERATIONS Only a week to go until Valentine’s.It’s time to turn that wish-list data into sales receipts. Email spouses and partners. Then get on the phone to follow up.

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Feb. 9-15

FINANCES If your fiscal year ends in December, you should have your financial statements finalized by Feb. 29. Make an appointment to see your CPA.
SALES Feb. 14 falls on a Friday this year. Review your “last-minute panic-buying” strategy. Expect a rush in the afternoon when employees all over the country switch off from work and start thinking about the weekend.

INVENTORY Identify your “white space” — those areas where demand in your market is going unfulfilled by your store. Make a note of what your customers are requesting that you don’t have, like, for example, inventory under the $100 price point. Be ready to fill in the blanks come buying season.

Feb. 16-22

STRATEGY Embark on a strategic review. Look at what your competitors are doing and learn from them, both the good and the bad. Visit their stores and websites, subscribe to their newsletters, and assign someone on staff to clip or screenshot every one of their ads (not just specialist jewelers), and create a scrapbook. With such knowledge, you’ll be able identify what areas to compete in and how to differentiate your store in your ads.

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OPERATIONS Examine your in-store signage. Is it friendly? Is it memorable? If it’s not both, start the process of changing it.

MARKETING Valentine’s is done and dusted. Adjust case content with an eye toward Mother’s Day and graduation season. And don’t forget self-purchasers — they buy throughout the year.

INVENTORY Contact suppliers. Ask if they have merchandise following the holiday season that might be a fit for your market.

Feb. 23-29

STAFF Do you have guidelines for handling complaints? If not, get busy. As much as possible, empower your team to make decisions without you.

MARKETING From here on out, things start to slow. Identify your top customers and make yearlong plans targeting them. Have your sales staff research what, when and how their best 15 (or more) customers buy. Use this information to target their needs and deliver better and more personalized service. Input this information in your customer management database.

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