Make this your most successful year-end yet. Consider these tips from industry experts to jingle all the way to the bank.
1. Monitor Quantities
Make sure you have enough inventory to get through the entire holiday season. “You’d be amazed how many studio designers run out of product the week before Christmas and lose 30% of their holiday sales because of it,” says New York City–based jewelry designer Ariana Boussard-Reifel.
Top: Kuro earrings in sterling silver and brass; $575; Ariana Boussard-Reifel; firstname.lastname@example.org; arianaboussardreifel.com
2. Leverage Customer Wish Lists
Give the customers who have wish lists on file special treatment. Personally notify them of promotions. Or host a VIP shopping event in their honor.
3. Bulk-Order Best Sellers
“Consider offering special pricing on one of these pieces, and present it in a prewrapped gift box,” says Nan Palmer, owner of Denver-based Facets Jewelry Consulting. “You can play with your margins here by selling large quantities at a ‘doorbuster’ price.”
4. Make Merry
Find ways to make your in-store events extra-compelling. Men like whiskey. Henna tattoos are irresistible. And everyone loves a flamenco dancer. “We hosted pop-ups with local artists each weekend in December last year,” says Jamie Hollier, owner and founder of Balefire Goods in Arvada, Colo. “It brought new people to our doors and also offered our regular customers access to makers that share our gallery’s focus on artisan-made goods.”
5. Don’t Stop Selling
“So, you’ve sold a beautiful pair of diamond stud earrings to your customer for his wife. What’s the next thing you do? Wrap it up and take his credit card? No!” says Kevin McLean, partner -development executive at Forevermark U.S. “Ask him who else is on his list. He may not have realized that you have a pair of silver earrings for $75 that will be perfect for his niece.”
6. Shoot a Beautiful Campaign
“It’s certainly an investment,” acknowledges Jennifer Gandia, co-owner of Greenwich St. Jewelers in New York City. “But considering that we use the photos across all touchpoints—in-store, website, social media, email marketing, digital advertising, direct mail, and more—we know there is impact, and sales as a result. Last year, we sold enough product out of the holiday lookbook to cover the cost of the shoot and printing, and we ended the year up 15% in sales.”
7. Use Subliminal Gestures (Yes, Really)
“When talking about the piece of jewelry, the jeweler can subtly, softly nod their head ‘yes.’ At the right time, this can influence a customer’s buying -decision,” says body language expert, author, and media -personality Blanca Cobb.
8. Celebrate Everyone
Honor and respect all your customers with displays that reflect the festive season in general terms. “We once did a window with a beautiful white sleigh in the background with white quartz elements that looked like little icebergs, and white jewelry on icy-blue mounts, and it was really effective,” says Hillary Macklowe, chief operating officer at Macklowe Gallery on New York City’s Park Avenue.
9. Incentivize With Discounts
A 10% or 15% discount is always appreciated. Ditto free shipping for orders placed online. Offering a Black Friday promotion along these lines is vital—and expected—and it should be ready to go live on Thanksgiving Day, when people are shopping from home or on their phones.
10. Streamline Your Assortment
Neutral gold-and-diamond or pearl pieces always sell during the holidays. Still, make sure you’re curating strategically and staying on-brand. “I won’t sell random things just to make a sale,” says Alexis Kletjian, a jewelry designer who owns an eponymous boutique in Kennett Square, Pa. “This holiday, I’m only reordering customer favorites.”
Love Lock necklace in solid 14k yellow gold with 0.21 ct. t.w. diamonds; $1,080; Shy Creation; email@example.com; shycreation.com
11. Be Thoughtful About Packaging
“Our returning clients know they can count on exceptional wrapping without the insides being ‘given away,’ as our holiday wrap changes every year,” says Danielle Merzatta, co-owner of Merzatta in Morristown, N.J. “When a sale is close-but-not-closed, often preparing the gift wrap alongside the piece and showing the entire presentation that the purchase includes can seal the deal.”
Cairnes pendant with sliced diamond and petrified whale bone in 18k and 14k gold, sterling silver, and white enamel; $8,800; Merzatta; firstname.lastname@example.org; merzatta.com
12. Call in Santa
When Chicago-based Steve Quick Jeweler hosted a promotional event that asked customers to choose “mystery discount” ornaments from Santa’s sack, they hired a professional actor. “The person who plays Santa needs to be really outgoing,” says president Melissa Quick. “Ours stood outside and engaged random people who weren’t our regular clients to come in and shop, and the discount they got then compelled them to buy.”
13. Show Prices
Be transparent about what things cost. “The jewelry stores I know that are posting prices on their Facebook and Instagram platforms are selling their jewelry,” says Aleah Arundale, founder of the Jewelers Helping Jewelers Facebook page. “This makes people feel empowered, and the more empowered a customer feels, the more likely they are to buy.”
14. Nurture Client Relationships
“We position ourselves not as solicitors but as their trusted guides in gift giving,” says Julie Von Bargen Thom, owner at Von Bargen’s Jewelry in Hanover, Vt. “We don’t sit back and hope they remember their favorite pieces or tell their partners. We reach out and follow up.”
15. But Skip the Holiday Card
“An email greeting is much more cost-effective, eco-friendly, and makes it easier for clients to respond,” says Kaeleigh Testwuide, president of The Diamond Reserve in Denver. “Last year I wrote -personalized ‘We are here if you need us’ holiday emails and got a lot of responses and sales as a result.”
16. Diversify Your Price Points
“Designers should cover a variety of price brackets,” says Amalia Keramitsis, a New York City–based branding and retail consultant. “Anything at or below $1,500 to $5,000 works well. Once you hit $10,000, that requires more thinking and decision-making on the part of the buyer.”
Jenny petite hoops in 18k yellow gold; $1,900; Rosa Van Parys; 818-928-4430; rosavanparys.com
17. Cultivate a Positive Environment
“We consistently have a leader on the floor setting the energy and celebrating the wins of the team,” says Brad Schneider, head of retail at Shinola in Detroit. “We know it only takes seven seconds to make a first impression, and we’ve got to ensure each one is positive whether it be through body language, visual merchandising, or the initial greeting of the guest.”
Omaha stainless steel watch with white enamel dial and green nylon strap; $700 (also includes orange and dark navy straps); Shinola; 888-304-2534; shinola.com
18. Message Your Differentiators
“Identify what services you already offer that may attract the holiday shopper’s eye,” says Ashley Ayoob, manager of client and media services at Centro, an advertising software developer and digital media agency headquartered in Chicago. “This could include free shipping, free returns, and more. Boast about these in your social ad copy and through Google’s various ad extensions.”
19. Spread Good Cheer
Jewelers who amplify the holiday spirit in their communities see their efforts rewarded in sales. Since 2014, Alter’s Gem Jewelry has staged a tree-lighting ceremony in front of its store in Beaumont, Texas. “Last year, we saw over 800 people attend—including the local news—and we see an increase in foot traffic not only after the event, but also prior to it,” says sales associate Michelle Coon.
(Earrings: Genevieve Hanson; gifts: Victoria Bee Photography/Moment/Getty; Santa: Andrew Burton/Getty; tree: cloe-fontaine/Unsplash)