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Here’s How We Make This the Best Time of Year at My Store

Warm conversation and delicious food and drink make the season jolly for customers and staff alike.

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This story was originally published on INSTOREMAG.COM in November 2016.

SITTING AROUND A TABLE with extended family, laughing, telling stories and celebrating is something I cherish during the holidays. I enjoy the entire process, from planning the menu, shopping for ingredients and cooking with my kids, to greeting family as they arrive and making sure everyone feels right at home. Even cleaning up the quiet house after guests have left gives me the time to reflect on just how lucky I am.

This time of year, my team and I take this recipe for a joyful celebration and apply it to our store, making it the most fun and rewarding time of the year.

Video: To Improve Your Email Marketing, Read This Book
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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

How to Turn Your Gift Cards Into Something People Actually Buy
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How to Turn Your Gift Cards Into Something People Actually Buy

Over the course of the last several months, we have carefully selected our menu of beautiful jewelry. We’ve worked with our vendors to select the highest quality ingredients, ensuring the sweetest holidays for our customers.

Our hostess welcomes our customers new and old, just like family. Coats are taken, warming beverages are offered (sometimes coffee, sometimes whiskey), often hugs and stories of their recent adventures are shared. They are our BBK extended family. We’ve been with them through ups and downs, new relationships, babies, new jobs and new homes. They’ve been with us too, through business booms and through slimmer years, and for this we do everything we can to make them feel appreciated.

Just as in a crowded kitchen, our team dances around each other while presenting gift ideas and wrapping the perfect packages. There is always laughter as customers and associates mingle. Often, customers share with us how important BBK is to their holiday celebrations. We have customers tell us, “It’s just not Christmas without a Becky bag under the tree!” I even once had a gentleman thank me for bringing his wife’s memory back: “She did things last night she hasn’t done in years!” After all the work we put in to build relationships and connect with our customers throughout the year, these stories make us glow!

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This is all an analogy, but of course there are very real meals involved at BBK. My team works hard, and we play hard too. I’ve learned that nothing bonds them like food and the occasional drink. Nearly every day in December, our break room becomes a huge family dinner. During this month, there isn’t much time for everyone to cook at home, so I look forward to making special lunches for the team. It’s a small way I can give back to them for all the hard work and energy they give me and my customers throughout the year. Taking the time to celebrate a little every day, especially during the most hectic days, keeps everyone motivated and excited.

Dec. 24 (closing time), the team gathers together on the sales floor and makes a toast to a very successful season and year. Lemon drop shots, of course! Our team favorite.

And just as when family has all left after any big holiday celebration at home, while locking up the store I take just a minute to peek back in the door after everyone has gone and realize just how lucky I am.

Becky Beauchine Kulka is the owner of Becky Beauchine Kulka Fine Jewelry in Okemos, MI, voted one of America’s Coolest Stores in 2005.

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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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Dave Richardson

Why Attitude Is More Important Than Experience When Hiring

Hire for attitude rather than just experience.

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WHY IT IS TRUE: The key question in hiring a new sales associate is, can this person sell? The second question is, does this person have any jewelry sales experience?

PLAN OF ACTION: Be careful hiring someone with jewelry experience, particularly if that experience comes from different stores over a number of years.

My philosophy has always been this: it is easier to train a good salesperson to sell jewelry than to train someone who knows jewelry how to sell.

Most importantly though, look at the person’s attitude toward selling, enthusiasm for working with customers, and results during their sales career. Chances are you will score a real winner.

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Columns

The Digital Doc: Answers to Your Questions About Digital Marketing

Smart Age Solutions takes reader questions about a topic that many jewelers find intimidating.

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IN THIS NEW COLUMN, Smart Age Solutions answers jewelers’ questions about how to use digital marketing on the local level to bring in more customers and make more sales. As the company notes, many jewelers do not yet understand just how much power they have to create a dynamic brand in the digital space.

Do you have a question for the Digital Doc? Send it to digitaldoc@smartagesolutions.com.

Q: I’m really hesitant about putting money into digital ads. I don’t know too much about it and I’m worried I’ll just be wasting money.

A: You are certainly not alone! First, it’s best to do some general research to educate yourself on the basics of digital marketing at the local level. You do not need to become an expert, but it’s important do some preliminary information-gathering before you make a decision. There are many resources online that can give you a basic overview of what you can achieve with different marketing channels (Google, Facebook, Instagram, etc.). Once you’ve done this, start a few conversations with reputable marketing agencies in the industry. These companies can provide you with different packages based on your budget. They can also give you an idea of what activity your marketing dollars will create.

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

How to Turn Your Gift Cards Into Something People Actually Buy
Jim Ackerman

How to Turn Your Gift Cards Into Something People Actually Buy

Q: How do I know if digital marketing is working? When should I expect a sale?

A: The first step in a digital marketing campaign is to declare your goals. The next step is to get as many qualified online shoppers in your community to visit your website so they can explore your products and services. The easiest things to measure are website traffic and telephone calls. If both increase, great! The sales will follow.

Q: I try to get my team to ask our customers for a review or feedback. I know they make us feel all warm and fuzzy, but how do online reviews help my marketing strategy?

A: There are many advantages a great online review provides. Besides the obvious notion that people trust other people’s opinions of products and services,your online reviews can have a significant impact on how you are treated as an advertiser by platforms like Google and Facebook. Google’s logic is simple: The more that consumers interact with a business online, the more legitimate and relevant they are to their community. The rewards that jewelers can expect for great online reviews are better ad placement, more consistent impressions, and lower costs per click to their website. What this means is that Jeweler A with 200 online reviews spending $1,000 can achieve better results for a lower budget than Jeweler B down the street with 10 reviews spending $10,000.

Pro tip: The big advantage to digital marketing is the ability to change your advertisements on the fly. If something about the advertisement isn’t working, you change the message, branding or event details. If you have ever had to pay to re-skin a billboard, print new catalogs or re-record a radio spot, you will know just how valuable it is to have the power to edit advertisements for little to no cost.

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Editor's Note

If You Haven’t Experienced All of INSTORE Online Yet, Why Wait?

A new website, podcasts, webinars and more come online from INSTORE.

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IF ALL YOU WANT FOR CHRISTMAS is a sizzling, user-friendly online experience that jam-packs the latest industry news, advice and stories into one easy-to-read format, then you’re in luck!

The new Instoremag.com is now live, and if you haven’t given it a look yet, prepare to be instantly charmed. The fast-loading site makes browsing a breeze. You can scroll through the latest news, tips, videos and podcasts, human-interest stories, and product coverage with big headlines and images galore.

Podcast: JimmyCast Takes on the Paradigm Shift in Jewelry Store Marketing
JimmyCast

Podcast: JimmyCast Takes on the Paradigm Shift in Jewelry Store Marketing

Podcast: A Blind Couple Inspires a Veteran Jeweler to Look At Jewelry Design in a New Way
Over the Counter

Podcast: A Blind Couple Inspires a Veteran Jeweler to Look At Jewelry Design in a New Way

Podcast: Jen Cullen Williams Enters “The Barb Wire”
The Barb Wire

Podcast: Jen Cullen Williams Enters “The Barb Wire”

As excited as I am about our new website, I’m equally stoked about our fresh stable of podcasts. Kyle Bullock, a smooth-voiced fourth-generation retailer from Roswell, NM, presents “Over the Counter,” which tells the stories of inspirational and memorable jewelry sales. Jewelry journalist Barbara Palumbo interviews a variety of industry figures in “The Barb Wire”; it’s light-hearted, freewheeling talk radio for the jewelry industry. And group editorial director David Squires conducts in-depth conversations with top retailers in “Secrets of America’s Coolest Stores.” Search “INSTORE” in the Podcasts app on Apple or simply listen to the shows on instoremag.com.

And lest I forget, we’ve also come blasting out of the gates with several “INSTORE Live” webinars, featuring marketing experts like Andrea Hill and Shane O’Neill, top digital companies like Podium and respected organizations like Platinum Guild International.

That’s a lot of marvelous, unmissable information, and I haven’t even talked about this issue yet! Rest assured you’ll love our hilarious “Holiday True Tales” and feel uplifted by “Kids Quest,” the story of a young girl learning to love the jewelry industry.

Talk to you next year!

Trace Shelton

Editor-in-Chief, INSTORE
trace@smartworkmedia.com

 

Five Smart Tips You’ll Find in This Issue

  • Create a custom visual standards manual (CVSM) to systematize the look and feel of your store. (Linda Cahan, page 51)
  • Hold special VIP shopping hours for your social media fans one evening during the holidays. (Manager’s To-Do, page 24)
  • Send your team members home whenever possible to avoid holiday fatigue. (Buzz Session, page 56)
  • Ask all job candidates to take a personality and skills assessment before you interview them. (Ask INSTORE, page 54)
  • On any piece with five to 20 gemstones, charge $28 to check, tighten and retighten within 12 months; $35 for 21 stones or more. (David Geller, page 52)
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