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Tip Sheet

Sharpen Your Edge and More of This Month’s Tips

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THIS MONTH, WE focus on tips for making your store stand out from the crowd.

Sharpen Your Edge

David Brown, president of the Edge Retail Academy, tells the story of a small-town jeweler he once worked with who believed that bridal sales held the secret to his success. But no matter how hard he marketed his bridal lines, the young people in the area never showed much interest; they preferred to travel to the big city miles away to shop for their rings. A re-examination of his sales convinced the jeweler that his best customers were actually the wealthy, older matrons of his local market. And by shifting his focus and making inventory adjustments to fit their tastes he finally found the business success he’d been looking for. Long story, but short lesson: Small stores can’t compete with the big guys in terms of selection and especially price. You need a different “value proposition.”

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Seize the High Ground

Between them, Internet merchants like Blue Nile and big-box retailers like Wal-Mart don’t leave much room for independent jewelers to compete on price. Your only option is to stick to the high ground of value and service. Here are some ways to do that:

  • Don’t carry the same merchandise as the bigger stores in your area.
  • Ensure your buying matches your ambitions. Want 50 percent of sales to come from platinum merchandise? Then your inventory should match it. Eliminate non-core goods.
  • Offer services that the big guys can’t, like repair work, superior packaging and custom design.
  • Always ask your vendors, especially the smaller local artists, about “market exclusivity” agreements.
  • Search for areas of “organic growth” — they are the areas with the best potential and where you have your sharpest competitive edge.
  • Constantly seek feedback.
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It Figures

Revenues from the top four specialty jewelers account for about 11 percent of total industry sales. In contrast, the top four merchants in other big retail categories — consumer electronics, home centers, office supplies — generate more than 50 percent of industry revenues. Clearly, jewelry remains one of the few unconsolidated retail categories in the U.S. What’s it mean? There is room for you to carve out a niche. — Source: U.S. Department of Commerce, Ken Gassman

Try this: The Toughest Question of All

During a store meeting, ask your staff to name everything that makes your store unique and different in the marketplace — apart from “quality, service, and being nice people.” Or, if they really want to mention these, they must clearly define what they mean, and it must be something that is specific and measurable.

The conversation should include very special treatments provided to customers, as well as unique products and services.

Once you have this information, how do you use it? It must become part of your presentation to every customer who comes into the store. It becomes part of your advertising. It becomes part of every promotion.

If the marketplace sees you as just another jeweler, why should shoppers come to your store? — Source: Dave Richardson

Over the years, INSTORE has won 80 international journalism awards for its publication and website. Contact INSTORE's editors at [email protected].

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SPONSORED VIDEO

Wilkerson Testimonials | Zadok Master Jewelers

Stick to the Program — And Watch Your Sales Grow

When Zadok Master Jewelers in Houston, Texas, decided to move to a new location (they’d been in the same one for the 45 years they’d been in business), they called Wilkerson to run a moving sale. The results, says seventh-generation jeweler Jonathan Zadok, were “off the charts” in terms of traffic and sales. Why? They took Wilkerson’s advice and stuck to the company’s marketing program, which included sign twirlers — something Jonathan Zadok had never used before. He says a number of very wealthy customers came in because of them. “They said, ‘I loved your sign twirlers and here’s my credit card for $20,000.’ There’s no way we could have done that on our own,” says Zadok. “Without Wilkerson, the sale never, ever would have come close to what it did.”

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