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Manager's To Do

What You Need to Be Doing in Your Business This March

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WEEK 1Feb. 27-Mar. 4

SEO It’s a good idea to see how your store rates when someone says, “Siri, where can I get my ring repaired?” Siri defaults to Bing, while Samsung phones use Samsung Browser and most other Android phones go to Google. Run some voice tests to make sure your store is appearing high in your local area.

SOCIAL MEDIA Make contact with other small businesses in your market to see if they are interested in some reciprocal social media action via Pinterest. In your case, you could have boards such as Bridal Stores We Love, Florists That Inspire Us and Bakers That Know Our Weakness.

MARKETING First Communion season starts in mid-April. On your website and in your windows, highlight that you have small crucifixes, religious medals and patron saints along with chains that make suitable gifts for the occasion.

WEEK 2 Mar. 6-11

OPERATIONS Do you have guidelines for handling complaints? If not, get busy. As much as possible, empower employees to make decisions.

INVENTORY Traditionally, bridal sales followed a pattern — men’s wedding band sales, for example, were strongest in April and May just before June, the most popular month for weddings. Now they are likely to be more scattered as millennials pursue their endless desire to be different and marry in less traditional months. Closely scrutinize last year’s sales data to ensure you’re on top of your categories. 

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WEEK 3 Mar. 13-18

MARKETING Create a signup area in your store (and on your website) for shoppers to provide their email addresses to receive promotions and store information via email.

EMPLOYEES It’s time for your twice-yearly employee reviews. Trainer Kate Peterson urges you to set up a professional development plan for each employee — and for yourself. “Ask what they feel they need to learn or even what they would just like to learn, then challenge them to come up with a plan to get it done,” she says. Give them a week to get it done and then work out the logistics.

WEEK 4 Mar. 20-25

MARKETING The next wave of holidays and milestone events (Easter, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day graduation) lies just ahead. Get creative with your gift cards by creating your own store cash, or invest in higher production quality. Studies show the return is better when you depart from the standard gift card.

SALES Wear name badges, says Eileen Alexanian (PICTURED, ABOVE), owner of Diamonds ‘N Dunes (Kitty Hawk, NC) . “It allows the customer to interact without having to ask the name of the associate, which hopefully translates to more ‘getting to know the customer.’”

MARKETING Your best customers are your current customers. Identify your 200 top customers. Draft a plan to cater to them over the next eight months.

WEEK 5Mar. 27-Apr. 1

BUYING Begin researching buying groups. Being a member can help not only with inventory costs, but can also provide a resource for bouncing ideas or problems off of your peers. 

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

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Manager's To Do

Add These Dates to Your To-Do List to Ensure a Productive May

Mother’s Day, the Vegas shows, summer and more guarantee it will be a busy month.

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May 5-11

SALES Everything should be in place for Mother’s Day (May 12). Remind salespeople that it’s a fantastic opportunity for add-on sales in the form of matching jewelry. What have you bundled for dad and daughter to buy together for Mom?

PLANNING If you’ve typically taken your annual vacation in July, why not shake things up a bit and opt for vacation in August this year? Who knows what your community’s jewelry needs are like in July if you’ve never really been present.

STRATEGY Vegas bound? (JCK begins May 31.) Hunker down with your POS system. Be clear on what you are trying to achieve at the show. What are your goals? To attract female self-purchasers, expand your bridal clientele with new bridal product, increase margin with in-house branded collections? (And keep an eye out for our June trends guide toward the end of the month at instoremag.com — it could be a huge help.)

May 12-18

MANAGEMENT Start meeting with staff at least monthly to share three “good things” to build on and three “development areas.”

MARKETING Your best customers are your current customers. Identify your 200 top customers. Draft a plan to market to them in the second half of 2019.

SECURITY Hotels in Vegas make it clear they are not responsible for loss or theft of items brought into their property. If you travel with goods, look into getting insurance.

May 19-25

OPERATIONS Hurricane season is ahead in many parts of the country. Run through a checklist to ensure that your bad weather protocol is up to speed.

BUYING This year, be organized and professional in front of your vendors in Vegas — prepare all your reports and forms. Re-confirm your appointments, and get cell phone numbers so you can contact them if you need to.

May 26-June 1

BUYING In Vegas, make a point to visit the Design Atelier at Couture and The Design Center at the JCK Show. The talented designers in these sections create jewelry unlike anything you may have seen, which will engage your most consistent clients while also opening up new markets.

SHOP Slow season project: Take photos of all waxes not already in your CAD library and add them.

MERCHANDISING With summer on the way, Larry Johnson says redo the props in your showcases to give a fresh look. Throw away those seashells in the pearl case and replace them with props that show your customer all the places in town where she can wear those beautiful pearls.

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May Day, Sea Monkey Day and More Important May Dates

One is a day to remind yourself that ultimately, you’re selling emotional benefits.

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1 Elsewhere, the proletariat may be standing shoulder-to-shoulder on May Day, singing “L’Internationale” to show solidarity with their daily toil, but in the good ol’ U.S. of A, that’s not considered politically correct. In place of class struggle, tell your staff you want to hear what can be done to make your store a better place to work. Ask your employees to come up with three small things each that would make their working days more pleasant. Implemented right, small things can go a long way to making employees feel empowered, involved and happy to be at work.

4 AUDREY HEPBURN, who was born on this date 90 years ago, did more for little black dresses and diamond earrings than anyone else in history. Mark the occasion with an invitation-only morning event with your favorite customers.

14 The BIRTHDATE OF THE BUDDHA is a perfect time to focus on what works and let go of the rest. Invite input, keep an open mind, and act to de-clutter.

16 It helps to be smart in your marketing, but bold is so much better. Remember that today as the world celebrates SEA MONKEY DAY — a briny nod to the power of selling emotional benefits.

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Siblings Day, National Volunteer Week and More Important April Dates

Seize on this date to own the ideas of truthfulness and trust in your community.

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10 Sure, sometimes they wouldn’t surrender the TV remote, and you had to wear red because they got the blue top, and they never seemed to do their fair share of the dishes … But they are also the only other people on the planet who understand what weirdos your parents are. On National Siblings Day, remind your customers of all this. Siblings are like the best friends we never asked for but are really glad we have. They deserve a nice surprise gift — in red.

7 On National Volunteer Week, pick up litter on roadsides or in your local creek, serve food to homeless, repaint the children’s shelter; do something to give back to your community.

14 On Be Kind to Lawyers Day, send a cheery note of thanks to yours for their hard work keeping your business safe from legal jeopardy.

30 Those honored on National Honesty Day are given “Abes” to mark their commitment to truthfulness. Sponsor an event at a local school. Own the ideas of truthfulness and trust in your community.

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