For Better or Worse
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 store level basics.
- Better Bridal Business. Every weekend there are couples getting married, even now with COVID hanging over our heads. Every retailer has an opportunity to sell bridal, but not every jeweler is set up to dominate bridal. If that’s your goal, though, 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 invest in a multitude of styles, offer varying price points, most likely have a loose diamond search function on their website, offer attractive financing options, and have a convenient store location in a town or close to a town where young adults reside. Internally, they most likely have at least one young salesperson a traditional bridal customer can relate to. 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. They employ social media, digital initiatives, and YouTube advertising to micro-target to an ideal demographic, with broad-based marketing tactics keeping them 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, maybe you didn’t mention the custom design service you offer, or maybe they were just simply not quite ready to make the big, important purchase just yet.
- Repeat Customers. Regardless of what someone comes in for, retail jewelers should be armed and ready to acquire data, whether it’s still on a profile card or asked for at the point of sale. Although there are plenty of people 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.
- Higher Average Sales. It’s time to scrutinize your inventory and have some discussions with your sales team if you’ve found your average sale to be dipping down. Don’t assume every person coming in for a birthday purchase wearing a sweatshirt wants to buy an inexpensive piece. Due to COVID, many opted not to travel and therefore may have extra money set aside to spend on jewelry as their luxury purchase this year. 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? Aim to sell better jewelry first as a fine jeweler.
- More traffic. I personally can’t believe how many retailers do not use a traffic counter and the “why in” function of their point of sale system. Traffic in the door or frankly at the curb these days 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. Not everything has to be expensive. If you’re able to put a sign out on a sidewalk, do it. Employ inexpensive tactics like bag stuffers, emails, and counter signs to promote your events or special offers. This is not junk unless you treat it like junk. They work for other non-jewelry retailers you’ve shopped in. The point is those stores never let you leave without giving you a reason to come back.
If your goal is to consistently have a better year than the last, no matter the circumstances at hand, make sure you have the basics in place at the store level first.