It’s that time of year again. Are you ready for your moment in the limelight?
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to recognize if there’s one time of year when a jeweler needs to be organized, it’s now, as the industry gears up for another holiday season. However, many jewelers take very little time to prepare for the month that will decide, in many cases, whether the business will make a profit for the year.
So what should the typical store be doing now to make this year financially memorable (in a good way!)?
Review aged inventory. Now is your best opportunity to quit these items without heavily reducing them. Why? Because the sheer number of people coming through your door means even the ugliest item stands a good chance of getting noticed. Get those old dogs re-ticketed and reboxed. Make sure their price reflects current market value. Most important, talk to the staff about this product and how important it is to be showing it. There’s usually nothing wrong with many older inventory items; often, the staff simply doesn’t like them or has become bored with them.
Carry spares. I’m talking about the bread-and-butter items you can’t do without—the ones your vendors may not be able to resupply in December. Look at anything on your reports with a fast-seller status of six or more; they’re likely to go so fast in December that you will miss sales if you don’t have spares.
Plan your marketing. What lines are your best sellers? What mediums are available for contacting customers? What extra events will you stage during the holiday period? What other retailers target customers like yours with whom you could stage a joint promotion? What will it take to make your store the shop of choice for holiday buyers?
Focus the staff on the job at hand. Talk to your employees about your holiday targets and goals. Make sure they know about the best sellers. Help them fine-tune their customer approach and make sure the rosters are in place with backups wherever required. The average customer has more than 10 people to buy for at this time of year! Telling your staff that can open up a world of opportunity for the smart salesperson.
Review procedures so you can cope with demand. Aside from hiring extra staff, you may need to order spare repair books, extra wrapping paper and computer rolls, even an extra POS terminal or till. Make sure all these things are thought through well in advance.
Get your best salespeople on the floor. It’s amazing how often retailers see December as the opportunity to let new staff “have a go.” This period is too important to leave to novices. Would you hand the ball to a rookie pitcher in the World Series? Of course not. Here’s another example: Before the World Cup final, players practice penalty kicks leading up to the game—even if these players would never take a penalty or practice penalty kicks during the regular season. Why? Because they know if the final is a draw, these players will be called on to find a result through a penalty shootout. Your staff is the same. Make sure your best staffers are “taking the penalties” (i.e., selling the diamond rings) and that they get the training and practice (and opportunity) they need leading up to the big occasion. Your other staffers are there to support them and complete the less-important tasks.
Record and measure your activities. Don’t forget the decisions, processes, and initiatives you put in place at this busy time of year. In other words, don’t force yourself to reinvent the wheel next year. Record all your marketing initiatives and store policies in a journal so you can easily refer back to them. The biggest crime of marketing isn’t getting it wrong; it’s failing to learn from mistakes or measure successes.