In-Store Marketing and Promotion

In-store promotions combined with focused marketing let you target a specific audience and are more cost effective than traditional advertising. Generating excitement and creating buzz about your store in general and gold specifically will go a long way to improving sales. A wonderful source for information and insight is Guerrilla Marketing by Jay Conrad Levinson, who defines guerilla marketing as “unconventional marketing intended to get maximum results from minimal resources.” Visit Levinson’s Web site at GMarketing.com.

A jeweler in a small town wanted to generate publicity, bring in new clients, and help a local charity. His bright idea: create a “gold mine” inside his store. He obtained the charity’s donor list in exchange for a specific donation, and then sent direct-mail invitations. For a $25 donation, recipients received “mining licenses” to mine for gold. He filled a child’s pool with sand and randomly placed gold-painted, numbered pebbles throughout. The pebbles corresponded to various levels of prizes including the grand prize, a custom-made gold jewelry item. Each pebble had a retail value of at least $100. Some items—like a pendant without a chain—required an additional purchase.

The employees and owner dressed as miners the day of the event, and local news media were notified. Each guest miner was given a child’s pail, shovel, and sifter and had three minutes to mine. The event drew more than 200 people, garnered 35 new customers, and generated sales of over $4,000 and lots of free publicity. The donation was tax deductible, and the owner didn’t spend one cent on traditional advertising.

Another jeweler had an Easter egg hunt. His direct-mail campaign involved the local PTAs. With a donation to the organizations, he got his list and invited the parents and children to his store the Saturday before Easter Sunday for the hunt. Hollow Easter eggs were filled with candy and prizes plus either a coupon worth 20 percent off, a pair of gold earrings, or—for one participant—a gold bracelet valued at $500. The eggs were placed not only around the store but also outside the front door and surrounding lawn. He wanted to attract a younger clientele, and he succeeded. He added 10 new customers and generated sales of $2,500.

Projects like these take time and effort, but during slow periods you can work on one. It’s more fun and rewarding to create your own campaign than to rely on expensive outside sources. They also create excitement among your employees, who should be brought into the creative process. Hold contests for the best ideas and reward the winning employee with a piece of gold jewelry. The more people involved the better.

If you analyze your profits according to category, you’ll probably be surprised that gold is among the highest. Unlike diamonds, which can be shopped by certificate number, gold is generally a blind item when it comes to pricing. Gold is fashion, and you shouldn’t ignore that fact. Gold isn’t just a commodity like potatoes sold by the pound. Don’t treat the sector like produce. Bring romance back into the equation.

Not once have I mentioned the word sale. Running a promotion to increase sales can be a slippery slope. If used wisely and infrequently, a sale event can increase traffic and revenue. If used incorrectly, it can lead to constant discounting, which erodes profits and dislocates sales. If customers get used to a regular sale promotion at a certain time of year, there’s no incentive to buy at other times.

But creative sales promotions can be beneficial. A Halloween promotion could offer a normal discount, a larger discount for anyone coming to the store in costume, and a contest for the best costume. Having the staff wear costumes helps create a light-hearted mood.

A sales promotion should, of course, focus on selling product, but a theme sets it apart from other sales. Promoting and planning are the most important aspects of a successful event. If you promote the event only in store, without outside marketing, you’ll be disappointed. Consider partnering with your gold suppliers for either cooperative advertising allowances or advertising media such as ad slicks. (Aladdin Gold will even provide merchandise on consignment for the length of the sale.)