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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

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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