Q: What’s the most creative way to capitalize on slow summer months?
—Vic Hellberg, owner, Hellberg’s Jewelers, Marshalltown, Iowa
A: “Charity events…are a great way to get exposure so people don’t forget about you in a slow sales time. Even if customers aren’t coming in to buy something, a charity event can serve as a means of clienteling. Last summer at our Milford store, we participated in a community fair that enabled us to sell some colorful store-brand watches, with a portion of those proceeds benefiting the Ocean Conservancy.”
—Cindi Rottermond, vice president, Rottermond Jewelers, Milford and Brighton, Mich.
“We’ve been fortunate over the past couple of summers in that we’ve been busy. But we do host our once-a-year anniversary sale at the end of July and early August for a week to 10 days. We’ve done it for 10 years. We have a closeout case, and otherwise, merchandise is 20 percent off. We do a mailing to our customer list to notify them first of the sale, and then we run ads. We’re not a ‘sale’ store, so customers know that this is the only time of year we have a sale.”
—David Cowell, president and owner, Anderson Jewelers, Taylorville, Ill.
“Take a vacation! Another thing I would like to do is host an in-store event for the community to get kids involved and parents on board. Kids are out of school and love arts and crafts, so I think a cute idea would be to host a jewelry design contest for kids; we would empty out our cases for the aspiring designers, provide signage, and have a show. The concept would create interest in the store, encourage friends and family to come, and if we made any ‘sales’ of the artists’ work, we would make a donation to charity. It’s an event you could do in a down time, and plan without going crazy on budget. Now I just need the time to plan it!”
—Alex Weil, president, Martin’s Jewelry, Manhattan Beach, Calif.
“The most important thing we do is stock balancing. Our ‘Christmas in July’ sale is a big part of getting rid of old inventory to make room for new jewelry sourced at JCK Las Vegas. We also cut back on advertising. Print ads run in the same frequency but smaller, from a full page down to a quarter page. Radio and TV ads go from three to four times a week to once or twice. This helps us save about 15 percent in our promotional budget each year.”
—Ed LaFontaine, owner, Ted’s Jewelers, Dothan, Ala.
“We typically have two to three events. In June [we had] a wedding band show and a restyling event. In July Pandora is planning a gift-with-purchase program. In August we’d like to host a launch party for Belle Étoile. We’ll also do an estate sale. In June we started our own e-newsletter. During the summer we’ll refine the content to make sure there are good tie-ins to our Facebook page. We’ll also be stepping up email blasts. This summer we decided to spend 5 to 7 percent more on radio…in part to promote our summer events.”
—Nicole Lasker, vice president, Lasker Jewelers, Eau Claire, Wis.
“For the summer we started a new bridal campaign on wedding bands. We’re trying to go after couples that are already engaged with discounts on wedding bands. The print campaign to get this started was in Premier Bride, the Philadelphia edition. This campaign is pinpointed for the demographic that is within 15 miles of the store.”
—Scott Slobotkin, owner, David Jay Jewelers, Warrington, Pa.