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Knock Those Customer Surveys Down, Invite Vendor Reps and More Tips

Make that store signage memorable!

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SIGN ONMake It Memorable

Remember how we’ve talked about creating store signage that clearly communicates policies to customers — but does it in a fun, friendly, and most importantly, memorable manner? This is exactly what we’re talking about.

LET’S GET AWAYInvite a Vendor

If you hold an annual company strategic retreat for your store, why not invite representatives of your key vendors? Share everything. Your vendors will understand you better, and can usually provide ideas to help you sell better. Jason Jennings, author of Think Big, Act Small cites this policy as a key strength at Sonic Drive-In, one of America’s hottest fast-food franchises.

DRESS ME UPA Web Idea to Try

Here’s a website that’s making the viral rounds in a big way: www.dresskevin.com. Concept: a 20-something guy named Kevin has photographed his entire wardrobe, put it online, and lets visitors vote to decide exactly what he’ll wear each day. A simple, and seemingly unremarkable idea, but he gets thousands of visitors each day, and has been profiled on CNN, Good Morning America and the CBS Early Show. So here’s our brainstorm — how about having one of your cute, young sales associates doing a dress(me).com website — featuring loads and loads of your jewelry.

READY FOR THE PITCHHave a Vendor Day

If you constantly have manufacturer’s reps dropping in when you least expect them, or are getting headaches trying to keep track of all your vendor appointments, here’s an approach from Jason Jennings, author of Think Big, Act Small that should help make your life simpler. Have one day a week (or even just a morning or afternoon) when vendors are free to visit you with no appointments needed. The rest of the time, you are off- limits — at least, if you want to be.

JUST TWO QUESTIONSKeep It Simple

Many businesspeople like to show their acumen by commissioning elaborate customer-satisfaction surveys. Mark Hughes, author of Buzzmarketing, saves you time and money by suggesting you throw out all the questions except two. “All other questions are meaningless data dung,” says Hughes. The magic questions: 1.) “How did you hear about us?” (which tracks word-of-mouth and marketing effectiveness) and 2.) “Would you go out of your way to recommend our product to a friend?” (this measures customer evangelism, or buzz.) Getting answers to both of these questions will show you clearly whether you’re doing things right.

HATE, ACTUALLYSome Bad Words

Seth Godin presents a bunch of words that, when you use them in copywriting, make it easy for people to ignore you: “actually, totally, absolutely, completely, continually, constantly, literally, really, unfortunately, ironically, incredibly, hopefully, and finally.”

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BEAR WITH USReturn with a Roar

If you’re one of those jewelers who closes shop during dead periods (for a few weeks or even a few months), Casey Gallant of Steven Gallant Jewelers in Orleans, MA has an idea for you to help you get business started off on the right foot when you re-open. Introducing: the “Coming Out of Hibernation Sale!”

THE BIG PAYOFFPre-Pay Small Bills

If you’re paying for a service that costs about $15 a month (e.g. an Internet service contract), and you have to pay bills monthly, Entrepreneur Magazine says you should request to pay six months in advance. Reasons: you’ll save time writing out checks and stuffing envelopes, almost $2 in stamps, and even better, won’t run the risk of incurring hefty late fees.

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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It’s Going to Set Us Up Very Nicely for Retirement

You’ve worked hard all your life. And if you’re like most jewelers contemplating retirement, you’re hoping that your going-out-of-business sale will add to your nest egg — with minimal complications. That’s exactly what Doug and Jacki Friedrich, fourth-generation owners of Friedrich Jewelers Inc., of Vernon, Conn., experienced when they selected Wilkerson to run their sale. “Jewelers who are contemplating a sale should go with Wilkerson because of their experience,” says Doug. And with financial goals “exceeding expectations,” the couple can now focus on enjoying the next chapter of their lives. “It’s going to set us up very nicely for retirement,” says Jacki. “The money’s coming in and we have no complaints. It’s been wonderful.”

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