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Tip Sheet

Tip Sheet: March 2009

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Fresh ideas to better your business.

 

PICTURE PERFECT
PARTNER UP When you link up with someone outside the industry, especially in a marketing venture, you’re likely to be offering your customers something they can’t get anywhere else. Weston Jewelers in Weston, FL, did that last year when they teamed up with local photographer Andrew Duany to offer free studio portraits for their Mother’s Day customers who spent more than $1,500. The store ended up giving out 96 gift certificates and generating some great buzz with the mom and daughter portraits. “It was a win/win for (the photographer) because we paid for the advertising. All he had to do was donate ‘sitting time.’ Everyone knows if someone loves the portrait they are not going to stop at getting one print, and that is how it became profitable for him,” says Paul Slutsky, Weston’s VP for marketing. “Today, advertising is all about partnerships and this seemed to be a natural.”

Catching Creepers
SIMPLIFY If you’re like a lot of small businesspeople, your profit-and-loss statement is long and detailed and not particularly informative. “I can’t tell you how many profit-and-loss statements I’ve seen that have about a million different expenses listed in alphabetical order — in dollar amount only. What’s that tell you?” says Laurie Owen, a business coach at Business Resource Services, and an Instore columnist. Owen recommends giving your P&L a spring makeover. Consolidate expenses and group them into like categories, such as salaries and benefits, marketing expenses, admin, etc. Then, next to the dollar amount, list the expense amount as a percentage of sales. You now have what is known as a “common-sized statement,” Owen says. It helps you see when an expense is increasing as a percentage, and not just going up because your sales are increasing.

Brand Buzz
TRACK IT Seen an intriguing new line, but don’t know if you can trust your own taste? Log on to eBay. With some 80 million active users and more than 5 million new listings each day, eBay’s a pretty good — and free — way to track brand buzz. “Our data reflect consumer trends,” eBay’s pop-culture expert Karen Bard told Brandweek magazine. “Therefore, it can be useful to marketers who are trying to gauge the likelihood of a product’s popularity.”

No-Brainer Marketing
E-SIGN IT OK, folks, this really ought to be a no-brainer, but we get enough e-mails from jewelers (and you know who you are) that have no e-mail “signature.” This is simply a few lines of text (preferable to a photo or HTML) at the bottom of every e-mail you send that give your name, your store’s name, its location, phone number and perhaps your store’s slogan. We spend the time and effort tracking down your store and location because it’s our job. Do you want to make it that much work for your customers, too?

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Pain Reliever
SEIZE THE MOMENTS Squint for the silver lining around the cloud of recession, and you might see more time on your employees’ hands for training and professional development. “Often when times are tough, that’s precisely when there is enough breathing room in the daily work flow to give your people the chance to better themselves,” says BV Krishnamurthy in Harvard Business Review. If nothing else, he says, seeing this downturn as an opportunity can reduce the mental anguish.

Traffic Driver
BLOG ON In the world of search — meaning driving traffic to your website — bloggers are king because of the weighting Google gives to frequently visited links. For Goldsmith Jewelry in Orlando, FL, that made blogs an ideal recruit to assist its Valentine’s Day promotion. The jeweler offered any bloggers who wrote anything about Goldsmith the chance to win a pair of $1,500 diamond earrings. “The only requirements were that the blogger write about Goldsmith Jewelry and that they mention the contest,” says Don Lair, the store’s VP of e-commerce. “It could be positive or negative, and would still be a valid entry.” Lair contacted close to 1,000 bloggers by e-mail and received 75 entries directly. Another 2,000 unique visitors were referred directly to the site by the postings on the blogs that entered the contest. The best pay-off though was how it boosted traffic to the store’s website — up 400 percent.

Best Free Advice
RENEW EARLY AND OFTEN Renew your subscription to Instore if it’s due to expire sometime soon. Instore, the best source of free advice out there. But don’t tell your personal trainer we said that.

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VIDEO HIGHLIGHT

Jimmy DeGroot

Be Ready for ‘What Do You Have for $100?’ and Other Holiday Questions

As Christmas approaches, the queries you’ll hear from customers are actually pretty predictable, says jewelry store training expert Jimmy DeGroot. Here's how to make sure your team is prepared for the more common ones.

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Tip Sheet

How to Make Icy Steps Safe, Bring In Competitors’ Clients and More Tips for December

The trick that worked in New Mexico.

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The flatter the world becomes in terms of product experience, the more important it becomes to add local flourishes to the retail experience. In keeping with New Mexico tradition, the sales team at Lilly Barrack Jewelry in Albuquerque regularly smudges the store with sage. “This is a Native American tradition that clears a space of negative energy, “ explains manager Phaedra Charles Rayner. “This practice may seem quirky to outsiders, but people from all over the country come to the Southwest to experience this lifestyle, especially Lilly’s millennial customers.”

PRODUCTIVITY

On Time, Ready to Work

Stephen Ware, owner of Ware Designs in Lafayette, CA, is a big believer in the notion that a productive day starts with a productive first minute. “Get the work on the desks and benches of employees before they come to work,” he advises, adding this is about being efficient, not squeezing labor costs. “If you have good employees, then make sure without a doubt that you show you care. They are not chattel.”

CUSTOMER SERVICE

Pet Friendly Steps

If more than a few customers are still bringing their dogs to your store even as winter approaches, a tip from the One Good Thing blog: De-ice with Dawn. Why? Salt and other chemicals can hurt pets’ paws. Slipping customers and the ensuing lawsuits can hurt your wallet! A solution of one teaspoon of Dawn, one tablespoon of rubbing alcohol and a half-gallon of hot water poured on the sidewalk and doorstep will ensure it doesn’t refreeze in a hurry.

MARKETING

Stand Out from the Robots

Our tech discovery of the month: Bonjoro, a tool that allows businesses to easily record and send individual video greetings to new customers. Medium.com quotes the CEO of tech startup Highrise as saying she uses the app to send about 30 customized welcome videos a day (time spent: 90 minutes), adding “the payoff is completely worth it.” See instr.us/10181 for more.

GIFTS

Wedding Survival Kit

Wander into Brax Jewelers in Newport Beach, CA, with a proposal on your mind and you’ll be buried under an avalanche of goodwill. “We give each person a proposal kit with a book with 101 proposal ideas, a diamond loupe to help them with their diamond search, a pamphlet with our ‘Brax Rules of Engagement,’ and catalogs from our best-selling bridal pieces,” explains owner Amy Astaraee. “We also give away a bridal box to every recently engaged bride-to-be that includes gifts like chocolates, nail polish, pearl earrings, and many other bridal survival tools.”

CUSTOMER SERVICE

Attract Competitors’ Clients

As the auto industry has discovered, after-sales services can be a lucrative field. But why limit yourself to servicing the jewelry bought only from your own store? Designs Unlimited in Rapid City, SD, offers ring-sizing and general after-the-sale support to products sold at all other stores in the local community. “Valentine’s Day is around the corner, and how better to showcase our service?” says owner Michael Goin.

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Tip Sheet

Try-It-On Parties, Blinky Ring Genius and More Tips for November

Whip up your customers’ sense of anticipation with a “sneak preview” event.

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Stoke the Fires

Anticipating is half the joy of anything — Christmas presents, vacation planning, even trunk shows. Next time you’re doing such an event, heighten the excitement by inviting some of your best prospects in for a “Sneak Preview”, like the Gem Collection Tallahassee, FL, did with a recent Hearts On Fire show.

Video: It’s Crunch Time for Jewelers … Here’s Some Last-Minute Christmas Advice
Jimmy Degroot

Video: It’s Crunch Time for Jewelers … Here’s Some Last-Minute Christmas Advice

Video: To Improve Your Email Marketing, Read This Book
Jim Ackerman

Video: To Improve Your Email Marketing, Read This Book

Gene the Jeweler’s Rule: Never Buy the Same Piece Twice
Gene the Jeweler

Gene the Jeweler’s Rule: Never Buy the Same Piece Twice

SALES

Start Befriending

This is such a crucial time of year for not only repeat customers but also to cultivate relationships with new customers. The key is to be “true to yourself,” says Morgan Bartel, co-owner of Susann’s Custom Jewelers in Corpus Christi, TX. “Customers can spot a salesman a mile away. Stop selling and start befriending.” Oz Hefner of Oz’s Jewelers concurs. “So many people change who they are during the holiday season, just be who you are just like the rest of the year.”

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EVENTS

Try a Try-it-on Party

It’s something you may have noticed yourself: customers being reluctant to stray from the styles they’ve always worn. To encourage them to experiment with different looks, Alchemy 9.2.5 in Belmont, MA, holds “Try It On” parties. “The party allows patrons to let their hair down and hopefully with the encouragement of their friends, see themselves in a new light,” says owner Kirsten Ball. “Who doesn’t want to live a little dangerously?”

HUMAN RESOURCES

The War for Talent

With the aim to make sure it gets the best job applicants, tech research firm CB Insights offers an award of $5,000 to anyone who can recommend a successful candidate for a position. That seems to be a ridiculously generous amount … until you consider that hiring is an expensive process to get wrong (according to some estimates, it can cost as much as nine months of a “wrong” employee’s salary). You can see how it structures the offer here.

PROMOTIONS

Flash of Genius

Few girls forget where they got their ears pierced. And to make sure they remember this often first experience with a jewelry store, Orin Jewelers in Garden City, MI, gives them flashing “blinky rings.” Smart.

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STAFF

When Animals Take Over

Everyone loves a store mascot, especially one with an officially recognized role. The “Director of Grrrrrreetings” at Sarini Fine Jewellery in Vulcan, AB, is a German shepherd, who in addition to being on hand in-store to meet customers, makes regular appearances in the store’s Instagram feed. At The Jewelers in Lebanon, TN, the position of “Security Guard & Office Manager” was for years held by the store cat, Peridot. The loved pet passed away in 2016, but the sense of fun at The Jewelers lives on.

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Blooper Marketing

If you cut a video for television, YouTube or Facebook, don’t let those off-cuts go to waste. Do a blooper reel, a la Sherrie’s Jewelry Box in Tigard, OR. Owners Sherrie Devaney and her husband may not quite be ready to host an hour of JTV programming, but they come across as a fun, genuine couple to take care of your jewelry shopping needs. See their out-takes at instr.us/ismag111803.

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Tip Sheet

Pinterest Planning, Overcoming Cellphone Eye Fatigue and More Tips for June

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See the Trees

Reading off the flat screens of phone, tablets and desktops for hours on end causes field of vision to narrow. But there’s a natural antidote that can be found in the three-dimensional perspective we naturally crave, Virginia Heffernan writes in WIRED: trees. “Trees are very unlike screens. They’re a prodigious interface.”

Start-Up Stories

Karen Hollis just doesn’t get tired of telling the story of how she made the jump from teaching to jewelry. It helps ensure her relationship with new customers gets off on a solid footing and keeps her in a positive frame of mind. “Building trust with new customers is one of my favorite parts of my job,” says the owner of K. Hollis Jewelers, Batavia, IL. “I share my story of how I got started with every new customer. After 12 years, I haven’t gotten tired of sharing. So blessed to get up and love going to meet new friends.”

It’s About Engagement

Jewelry Set in Stone in Chelsea, MI, does a neat job of engaging its social media followers with a regular custom design contest. Each month, owner Stephen Kolokithas selects a gemstone and designs four options. Followers are invited to vote and share the post. The piece is then created with updates posted on its progress. The store’s social media followers also get first dibs on the completed piece. “This has been a fun way to engage with our followers; many encourage friends to vote for their favorite styles,” says Kolokithas.

Political Following

Mid-term elections are coming into focus, but don’t forget the political action a little closer to home. Regardless of your political leanings, your rights as a jeweler need protecting. “Get involved in your state legislature,” says Brenda Reichel, Carats & Karats Fine Jewelry, Honolulu, HI. “There are always bills coming up that may affect our industry.

Going Beyond the Aesthetic

Donating jewelry to a charity is a time-honored tradition. It’s even better when the piece serves a purpose. Such is the case with Woolard’s Custom Jewelers of Burleson, TX, which partners with CASA to give every child adopted in Johnson County an adoption gift. Girls receive a charm bracelet, boys a necklace with dog tags on them. The gift is engraved with their name and adoption date.

Plan Ahead for Pinterest

Something most people forget about Pinterest is that it is essentially a search engine, so plan and pin two months ahead of time (for “beautiful holiday gifts,” for example). It takes time to build rank and credibility as users search for fashion and style information, participants at a Stuller Bench Jewelers Workshop were told.


This article originally appeared in the June 2018 edition of INSTORE.        

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