If you’re attending JCK you may want to have a plan of attack. Here’s a start. Read more.
Are you ready for JCK?
In approximately 4 weeks, retailers will descend upon one of the largest (if not the largest) jewelry shows in the world. There is no doubt doing business for retailers, suppliers and vendors is getting tougher each and every year. So, perhaps this will be the year to step back and assess exactly what you need to achieve during those grueling days in sin city.
Sit down with key members of your team and be a little introspective about your business. What do you feel will advance your business? Is it new inventory? Do you feel you need to take your staff up a notch? Do you feel you don’t have a handle on your business overall, be it inventory management or your numbers? Are you woefully behind in marketing and the way today’s consumer wants to shop? Are there tools that can speed up repairs or make your operations more efficient?
The good news is there are numerous companies at the show who can fulfill any of those needs. But, it can be overwhelming, so, perhaps you should make a plan.
Obviously, if you’re a retail store, you need inventory. But, not just any inventory. You need to have the right product to sell to your target customer. That also starts with knowing (and not guessing) what you need to buy. You should have an intuitive, easy to manage POS system, which can provide you the important data you need to make financial decisions in your business. Don’t have one? It’s a must-do in Vegas.
Be organized. Prepare a list of your best sellers and categories. First on your list is to replenish those items that have been well-received. Visit those vendors first. If those vendors haven’t introduced new product, place your order and move on. Allocate enough time during your stay to look for vendors who are new and exciting to complement similar, profitable categories. Your customers are looking for you to introduce them to the latest and greatest!
Ask about marketing support. What does the vendor offer to help you in your own advertising endeavors for your own market? What are their current digital initiatives? Today, the savvy shopper is online. Do they offer a formal co-op program? Will they consider offering co-op for a program you feel will be successful in your own market? Do they provide digital assets on a regular basis to use for your own social strategy?
Do they have beautifully shot product photography you can use and easily access to market their product online? Create a check-list you can pull out with each vendor so, at the end of the day, you have that apples to apples comparison.
Check if the vendor sells direct online. Do this research before you even approach their booth. If the answer is yes, take an about face. If there was no time to do prior research, or if you see a brand that catches your eye as you walk by, take out your phone and Google them to see if they do!
Call some buddies. Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. Are there retailers you respect in a non-competing market who are jewelers you would like to emulate? Take a tour of their website and see who they are carrying. Call them to get the download on specific vendors who have been successful and those who are not. I have found retailers to be very helpful to other retailers and always willing to offer advice.
Beyond inventory issues, what about staff? At the National Retail Federation meeting this year, there was a resounding theme that came across loud and clear: Store associates will be key to the future success of the retail industry. Consumer behavior is changing and great (not good) customer service and well-trained store associates will be the key to success. If you feel you need outside help in this area, there are qualified companies at JCK who can help. Add these companies to your plan.
Is your marketing all you want it to be? Begin the journey to find the right fit for you. There are website only companies. There are companies that deal with websites and digital marketing efforts. There are companies that do it all (including traditional elements) and take an integrated approach. Is one better than the other? You’re the only one that can answer that question. What are your needs? Take time to sit down with people who are experts in your industry. Honestly, these are not times to go to what I would call a “General Practitioner of Marketing”. If you’ve got a real problem to solve, it’s time to move away from local companies who know nothing about your business. Sit down and explain the challenges you are facing. In 30-45 minutes or less, a good company can provide a quick assessment and make some suggestions on the path you should take. This also provides ample time to see if you jive. Marketing is the bloodline to growing your business and should not, I repeat should not take a back seat to seeking new jewelry vendors.
It’s showtime, people. Make the most of it and truly take your business to the next level. Do your homework. Do your prep-work. This is no time to roll the dice and see if you come up with a lucky seven.