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Manager's To Do

To Hold a Sale or Not to Hold a Sale and More Existential Questions for March

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Should we have an annual “summer sale” when we are not a sale-oriented store? 

We understand your fear both in terms of your store’s image and the risk of training customers to expect sales. But an annual sale clearly signposted as an infrequent event is a good opportunity to move dated merchandise that is costing you money to keep in your cases, at a time when things are usually slow (see our lead story in this issue). It’s also undeniable that sales work. Our Big Surveys have repeatedly shown that sales promotions are by far the most effective way to get people in the store and to move goods. It may help to reframe the way you think of markdowns. Rather than view them as losses, consider them as lessons: Your customers are telling you what they don’t like. And the cash you generate will allow you to get lines in that your customers have said they do like.


Can you give me information about malls so I can compare data like sales per square foot, base rent and operating costs?

It’s true that malls in general have struggled the last few years, but at the top end, they are still raking in the dollars. According to Green Street’s rankings, there are three dozen U.S. malls rated “A++” and about 270 high-performing malls with A ratings with sales around the $1,000 per square foot mark. The rest, more than 700 malls, have lower grades, many of which are struggling to attract consumers and may be generating sales of only $250 per square foot.

Factors to consider when researching malls:

  • Size and breadth makes malls a destination for shoppers and help them compete with the variety of products offered online. The bigger the mall, the better.
  • Louis Vuitton, Prada and other luxury brands attract higher-spending customers, boosting a mall’s sales per square foot. According to Green Street, an Apple store leads to a 13 percent bump in a mall’s sales per square foot.
  • An anchor like Neiman Marcus or Bloomingdale’s is generally a good sign. A Sears, J.C. Penney or Kohl’s store can possibly be a sign of trouble because a retailer that is closing locations can trigger contract clauses that let other tenants out of their leases, creating a downward “death spiral.”

What do you say when someone asks about the competition? 

Stay positive, or be non-committal (“We actually don’t consider them competitors, as we operate in a different part of the market”). Just don’t bad-mouth them, even if they’ve been less than nice about you. Customers will think less of you if you do. 


Where can I find a jewelry event guru?

Kate Peterson suggests you look beyond the jewelry industry. “There’s an entire industry out there built around party planning and logistics. My best recommendation is to look there rather than within our industry. If you partner with the right individual or company, you can find someone who is closer to the customer’s mindset while being creative in concept development and organized in execution,” she says.

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This article originally appeared in the March 2017 edition of INSTORE.

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Manager's To Do

A Trick to Selling More Platinum, And Other Manager’s To-Do Items for September

And here are some great tips for infographics in your store.

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Sep. 1-7

INVENTORY The economy may be slowing a tad, but the wealthy keep getting richer. That is allowing more people to trade up from the standard 1-carat diamond engagement ring. But to sell 2-, 3-, or 4-carat pieces, you need to have a few on hand, says David Brown of the Edge Retail Academy. Start experimenting with more expensive bridal sets.

MARKETING Conduct an advertising review. If it’s bridal sales you desire, put that shotgun away. Pick one or two advertising media, based on their reach and return on investment, and concentrate on them. That requires courage and perseverance, but it’s the surest way to break through the chatter and win that key top-of-mind presence in your local market that will deliver engagement ring sales.

Sep. 8-14

STAFF Few things are more important to staff than having the sense that their work matters. As bridal season approaches, make it a constant refrain in your strategy meetings: you’re helping people with one of the most important decisions of their life.

SHOWROOM “It’s remarkable,” says merchandising expert Sally Furrer, “how often diamond areas are underlit in stores.” Crank up the lights.

Sep. 15-21

TRAINING The rise of the bead phenomenon in the last decade caused many jewelers to cut back on diamond sales training. If that happened in your store, look to bring in a trainer who specializes in bridal goods. It’s a whole different skill set.

MARKETING Twitter’s search function, along with free applications like TweetDeck, can be great tools for market research and lead generation. Start monitoring your competitors’ brand names and hashtags to see what people are saying about them and you. Set keywords related to bridal sales in your market and don’t be afraid to follow up (unsolicited messages from strangers is a fact of life in the Twitter-sphere).

Sep. 22-28

SOCIAL Want to take your social media efforts to the next level while educating your clientele about bridal in a way they’ll remember? Think infographics. Whether charting the evolution of diamond cuts or providing tips on ring cleaning, infographics are a great shareable way to communicate your message. Try these free infographic websites: Piktochart.com, Venngage.com, Easel.ly.

SALES Want to sell more platinum? Highlight its staying power. Keep an old white-gold ring and an old platinum one behind the counter to show customers what happens to the two metals after a few years. One of platinum’s strengths is the durability of its white color, which won’t fade or change (like an enduring love, hint, hint) and will continue to complement a diamond, as opposed to white gold, which fades to yellow.

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Yarr! It’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day and More Important Dates for September

“I’ll be paying top dollar for whatever golden loot ye’ve got stashed in your little treasure chest.”

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19 Many jewelers seem to have forgotten what a lucrative earner gold buying can be. Luckily, International Talk Like A Pirate Day is here to remind you. Yarr, have some fun with your advertising. “Yes, me hearties, Cap’n Jack Black Diamond has gone straight. I’ll be paying top dollar for your doubloons, old lockets or whatever golden loot ye’ve got stashed in your little treasure chests. Come see the Cap’n before the sharks get ye.”

01 On NATIONAL NO RHYME (NOR REASON) DAY, challenge your customers on social media to come up with words that can’t be rhymed. Three you can probably put to good use in your posts that day are “spirit,” “silver” and “woman.”

06 Today is FIGHT PROCRASTINATION DAY, and if you’re one of the many afflicted, try this trick: when jotting down a to-do item, keep rephrasing it until it involves the use of your limbs: “Pick up phone and call …”, “Open laptop and search for …”

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Remembering Woodstock, The Little One’s First Day in Kindergarten, and More Useful August Dates

You’re always busy, but this month, get things done.

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19 Mark the 30th anniversary of the launch of Stephen Covey’s THE 7 HABITS OF HIGHLY EFFECTIVE PEOPLE by doing something in its spirit: keep a journal of everything you do, broken down into 30-minute increments. At the end of each workday, assign a value — 1, 2 or 3 (the lowest) — to your time, and at the end of the week, evaluate the results. They may well surprise you. Obviously you want to be spending at least half your time on No. 1s.

1 August is GET READY FOR KINDERGARTEN MONTH. On the first day of school, invite all new kindergarten moms to come in for mimosas and snacks. They can reward themselves for surviving this milestone.

4 The FIRST ELECTRIC LIGHTBULB sparked to life 140 years ago today. Mark the occasion with a brainstorming session with staff for fourth-quarter promotions.

15 Fifty years ago today, the promise of free music, a good time, and … umm … a pretty good shot at “getting lucky” drew 400,000 young people to WOODSTOCK, NY. To many folks, that’s much the same promise that jewelry makes (minus the music). Roll back the years with a store party.

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