Merchandising management has never been more important to the success of a retail jewelry store than it is today. Consequently, measurable performance results are now equally important for all jewelry merchandising managers. Jewelry companies depend on merchandising managers to source items that prove to be in high demand and do not require heavy discounting before they can be sold. Jewelry merchandising managers need to execute programs utilizing speed, agility and flexibility by giving each program the time and attention required while exceeding projected sales revenue by product line and category. Profitable sales margins and reasonable return on investment start with the decisions made by merchandising management.
Here are 14 ongoing approaches to finding the right merchandising solutions for your store:
- Maximizing Display Case Space – Consider the total space of the store and how few square feet are taken by display cases. In general, most stores lose 40 percent of total space due to aisle ways, doorways, office space, back rooms, facilities, etc. Total jewelry product display case space can often only take up as little as 10 percent of the store’s total square footage. In an effort to show as much inventory as possible, some stores put too many items into showcases. The result too often leads to visual confusion. There are too many points of information vying for shoppers’ attention. When shoppers do not engage in displays be sure confirm if there was a strong focal point and key areas of interest to guide them through the display. Visual merchandisers can visually guide shoppers from one item to another by using basic design theories.
- Strategic Product Placement – How does each display tell a unique story? Knowing what product categories are most effective at engaging shoppers is merchandising intelligence. Jewelry visual merchandisers need to routinely check store traffic flow to ensure maximum presentation of the most saleable merchandise in the most visually enhanced displays. What interior store display case locations best serve the needs of shoppers and sales associates for each category of product? How can product placement best encourage impromptu purchases? Retail design is a means to increasing sales as shoppers respond emotionally to stores with exceptionally appealing visual displays.
- Unsellable Merchandise – Resist grouping unsellable merchandise into one display case. Instead, consider the color, design, material usage, and style and try to integrate items in displays with more attractive merchandise. Find ways to group jewelry items to enhance the total appeal of all merchandise on display. Additionally, consider other sales channels to sell off aged inventory. EBay has been effective for many jewelry stores as an alternative to deeply discounting items to store customers.
- Eye Appeal – Some jewelry products have more eye appeal due to design, style, or materials used. These products attract more shopper attention and often look like they should sell for a higher price than the store’s standard mark up. How can merchandise buyers find more products with more eye appeal?
- Display Appeal – How can displays be created with more spacing between items, more impactful color thematic, and product positioning to create more appealing visual presentations? How can sales associates be motivated to more frequently refresh, straighten and clean displays to ensure the visual appeal of jewelry? Impromptu purchases are dependent on shoppers noticing and engaging with displayed products that just look too good to pass up. The ultimate success of a jewelry display ends with a shopper demanding to buy the item they discovered while engaged with the display.
- Fabulous Fixtures – Too often jewelers mix fixtures with different colors, textures, and shapes in the same display case. Using different fixtures can help visual merchandisers create areas of interest to call attention to different jewelry grouped within one display case. However, the more common outcome of mixed fixtures is a look of clutter and lack of eye appeal. Fixtures are a point of information and can make huge impressions on shoppers. Consider how the use of fixtures can help shoppers recall your store and products. Make each tray count by not blending disparate products within each tray. If you only have six items that are complementary, then only use a tray for six. Spend the money to complement the placement of jewelry with the right fixtures. Fabulous fixtures can create visual differentiation.
- Natural Props – Throw away the silk flowers. When was the last time you saw any design magazines showing silk flowers? Many jewelry customers want to be served by jewelry experts who are well versed in design. Use natural props to create more dramatic display case designs. Contrasting natural items with highly detailed jewelry designs draws shoppers into displays.
- Display Planograms – Why not start with stated objectives and then formally design displays through planograms? There are so few square feet of display space in jewelry stores. Every jewelry display needs to be able to accept new in-store merchandise so each piece of jewelry stands out to shoppers. Consider how much easier it will be to get new merchandise to the floor more quickly and efficiently by using a planogram. A product display planogram helps visual merchandisers better develop new display set-ups and resets are easier to restock because the latest products can be kept up-front and on display for store shoppers. Consider how the use of planograms can reduce the time required to set up displays each morning and how the planograms help guide and direct sales associates to recreate the display as it was initially intended.
- SKU’s Support Inventory Management – Use SKU’s (stock-keeping units) to provide detailed data in realtime for more effective inventory management and product replenishment. Track product sales performance using SKUs.
- Reduce Out of Stocks – Quickly replenishing hot sellers is the name of the game. Developing the right product back up inventory can minimize missed sales. Negotiate lower minimums with vendors/manufacturers to expedite reordering hot sellers.
- POS Replenishment – Merchandising managers require accurate information and detailed replenishment processes. POS systems can support detailed order data and provide speed and efficiency while processing product replenishment.
- Rely on Sales Associates – Sales associates provide in-store demonstration of merchandise to shoppers. This one-to-one product selling transforms shoppers into buyers. Merchandisers need to research resources available from vendors/manufacturers and make the information available to sales associates. Merchandisers can often gain product presentation content that can be adopted by sales associates to improve their performance. Selling jewelry can be enhanced by providing shoppers with the right reasons to buy. Merchandisers need to be resources for sales associates.
- Credits and Returns – Merchandising managers need to negotiate more return to vendor programs to help the store reduce unsellable merchandise. Merchandising managers need to expedite the execution of return authorization processes to ensure prompt, efficient, and accurate product returns to vendors/ manufacturers. Jewelry merchandisers need to perpetually refine processes for new product introductions and develop replacement merchandising solutions with reduced lead time.
- Memo Goods – Use memo goods to expand higher ticket prices of items offered in popular product categories. Memo goods are not free. There are hidden costs associated with freight, stocking, and maintaining memo goods. Be sure to train and motivate sales associates to maximize their ability to effectively sell memo goods. Ask vendors/manufacturers for sales person incentive funds (SPIFs) to further motivate sales associates. Approach vendors/manufacturers that do not offer memo goods for guaranteed sales agreements to bring in new items that expand the price range of popular categories.
Today, jewelry merchandisers are relied upon to provide merchandising solutions that create competitive advantage. Merchandising managers need to perpetually assess the comprehensive needs of the business. From ordering to display to sales conversion and inventory management, merchandising managers can contribute to the success of a jewelry company. Measuring the performance of merchandising managers is just smart business. Evaluate their performance using a return on investment approach.