For Better Or Worse
by Angie Ash, Executive Vice President
Seems like every retailer wants the same things consistently and, no doubt, they’re great things and smart things to strive for. Better bridal business. Repeat customers. Higher average sales. More traffic. But when it comes to putting those wants into tangibles, sometimes the obstacles to success begin at the store level.
1. Better Bridal Business. Every weekend there are couples getting married, whether that marriage takes place in a cathedral, large hall or courthouse. Every retailer has an opportunity to sell bridal, but not every jeweler is set up to dominate bridal. Regardless of your goal, you need to ask what you offer as a jeweler that sets you apart in the bridal marketplace. Retail jewelers who want to beat their competition in bridal offer a wealth of brands, including those their competitor does not offer, varying styles and price points in their cases, a loose diamond search function on their website, attractive financing options and a convenient store location in a town or close to a town where young adults reside. They utilize paid search efforts to target the zip codes their bridal customers are coming from and take the time to extract and scrutinize this data, refine it and re-define it. Digital initiatives like retargeting and Pandora radio help jewelers micro-target to an ideal demographic while broad-based marketing tactics keep you top of mind. When couples come in to see your selection, what are you doing to follow up with them if they don’t make a purchase that day? You need that crucial feedback from this elusive customer to make your business better. Maybe they didn’t fall in love with what you have in your cases, maybe they didn’t mesh with a salesperson, and maybe they’re just simply not quite ready to make the big, important purchase yet.
2. Repeat Customers. Regardless of why a customer visits your store, retail jewelers should be armed and ready to acquire data, whether it’s on a profile card or asked for at the point of sale. Although there are plenty who are reluctant to provide this information, you still need to ask for it. It helps to explain to the customer that you won’t sell their data. You just want to send them an occasional email about upcoming events, holiday parties, and special offerings. In addition, you may want to ask how they want to hear from you. Some prefer direct mail, some would rather receive an email. If you offer a rewards program, use this time to ask them if they’d like to become a member and explain the benefits. Once you have customer information, be sure to send a thank you letter and an offer to come back. If you time it well, you could even insert a flyer listing upcoming events.
3. Higher Average Sales. If you’ve found your average sale to be dipping, it’s time to scrutinize your inventory and have some discussions with your sales team. Don’t assume every person coming in for a birthday purchase wants to buy something in silver or a bead. Although you do want to find out if there’s a budget number in mind for your customer, don’t assume the smaller price point. Is this a landmark birthday? A combined birthday/anniversary gift? Can you sell diamond studs? A piece of diamond fashion jewelry? As a fine jeweler, your aim should always be to sell better jewelry first.
4. More traffic. I personally can’t believe how many retailers we work with do not use a traffic counter and the “why in” function of their point of sale system. Traffic in the door equates to sales opportunities. It’s imperative to have this in place. Outside of the traffic counter, though, you need to invest in a well-rounded marketing plan to brand yourself consistently throughout the year, not just for events. If that’s a goal, it’s a good idea to stick to a budget. Employ inexpensive tactics like bag stuffers to promote your events or special offers. This is not junk unless you treat it like junk. The point is they never let you leave the store without giving you a reason to come back.
If your goal is to always have a better year, not worse, than the year before, make sure you have the basics in place at the store level first.