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Tip Sheet

Tip Sheet: February 2010

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FUN IDEAS FOR selling more Trollbeads, a charitable idea for watch battery replacements, the power of familiar music, and one piece of advicd for handling the finger-licking, ring-removing customer.

MARKETINGInstant Upgrade

Online shoe retailer Zappos offers nearly all customers who call up the chance to become VIP customers, for which they receive “special” privileges. The deal is actually designed to ensure shoe buyers go directly to Zappos instead of simply typing a shoe brand into Google and being directed elsewhere.

Wig Out

Effective marketing doesn’t need a big budget, just imagination. Steve McNeill, the owner of Diamond Designs in Marion, IL, learned that with a promotion for Trollbeads. He dressed up two girls in troll costumes and bright wigs in front of the store and gave them “Sale” signs. “The Trollbeads sold really well, we got hits all week,” he said, adding that the wigs cost $7. It was $8 per hour for the “Dolls.”

Donation & Battery

Napa Valley Jewelers in Napa, CA, has a nice twist on the watch-battery charity theme. It charges $10 for a new battery and then returns $2 to the customer to drop in a container for either a local food bank or a charity for the young. “Customers appreciate the chance to choose the charity and that we are keeping the donations local,” said store owner Kent Gardella.

IN THE STOREFamiliar Music

Never sure what music to play in your store? Opt for Phil Collins over Bjork. Familiarity — even if it’s a tad uncool — is relaxing. In a study from the Long Island Conservatory, participants who listened to familiar music that they enjoyed had “profoundly” lower anxiety levels and blood pressure than those who listened to music they didn’t like. “It’s a feel-good system that allows us to relax,” said the study’s author. And relaxed customers are more likely to stay longer and spend.

Better Performance

All retail is a performance and Eve Alfillé, owner of the Eve Alfillé Gallery & Studio in Evanston, IL, says she was hugely impressed by the show put on by her local Van Cleef & Arpels store. “They had exquisite designs, presentation, and salespeople,” she noted, adding she was really taken by the “black cotton gloves they put on to present the pieces to us.”

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Finger Lickin’ Good

One of the great conundrums of jewelry retailing is what to do when a customer moves to lick her finger to help ease off a ring. One idea sent to us: Ask the customer to hold her hand above her head for 20 seconds to drain blood from the ring finger. Another reader suggested Purell.

OPERATIONSInsurance Review

It’s a new year but the search for cost savings goes on. Wharton lecturer and small business expert Robert Chalfin suggests you review your ongoing monthly expenses, especially insurance. “You could have a service contract you don’t need or can be reduced. You might have insured your computer equipment years ago when a PC cost $4,000,” Chalfin told the Wharton Small Business Resource Center. He advises reviewing your property insurance annually to ensure it represents today’s prices.

Folder Filer

Tech tip of the month: Create an “@pending” folder in your e-mail account for those unresolved exchanges which, if left, will disappear into the bottomless pit of your inbox in two or three days. The @ sign will ensure it stays at the top of your list of folders. (Note this works for just about all e-mail programs — Safari, Google, Outlook — except Yahoo.)

Saving Suggestion

Have a customer who keeps coming back to drool over a certain piece that’s outside of her budget? Suggest she do what one of Veronica Babich’s favorite customers does. “She had a baby, and realized she’d never get any jewelry because it cost too much,” explained the sales manager at The Gem Collection in Tallahasee, FL. “So now she asks her family for gift certificates as gifts, and she saves up a little at a time. Eventually, she has several thousand dollars to put toward a piece of jewelry.”

Abe Sherman is the CEO of BIG - Buyers Intelligence Group. BIG designs solutions for the merchandising challenges facing retail jewelers and manufacturers. BIG utilizes a data analysis tool, Balance to Buy, to help consult with clients and customize their individual experiences and results.

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SPONSORED VIDEO

When Sales Beat Projections, You Know Wilkerson Did Its Job

There are no crystal balls when it comes to sales projections. But when Thomasville, Georgia jeweler Fran Lewis chose Wilkerson to run the retirement/going-out-of-business sale for Lewis Jewelers and More, she was pleasantly surprised to learn that even Wilkerson could one-up its own sales numbers. “Not only did we meet our goal, but we exceeded the goal that Wilkerson had given us by about 134%,” she says. After more than 40 years in the business, Lewis says she decided a few years ago to “move towards retirement.” And she was impressed by Wilkerson’s tenure in the industry. Overall, she’d recommend the company to anyone else who may be thinking it’s time to hang up their loupe. “As a full package, they’ve done a very good job and I’d definitely recommend Wilkerson.”

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