Q: What’s the best way to drive more traffic to your store on Valentine’s Day? —Christine Ferdinand, co-owner, Ferdinand Jewelers, New Providence, N.J.
A: “We’re going to do our dozen roses giveaway again this year. For the last two years I’ve hired a retired florist to specially create hundreds of Valentine’s Day bouquets to hand out on Feb. 13 and 14. The other part of our promotion is selecting a diamond-set silver or gold pendant that retails for about $150. We have our copywriters make it the must-have jewelry item for Valentine’s Day, then promote it like crazy. It’s hard to gauge exactly how many customers we had in 2009 and 2010. But we gave away 175 dozen roses the first year and 250 last year. It’s crazy-busy in our store, but this event has worked wonders for us the last two years, and we’re ordering upward of 300 dozen roses this time around.”
—Cathy Fleck, co-owner, Occasions Fine Jewelry, Midland, Texas
“For many years we’ve had great success with our ‘Expressions of Love’ contest. But the contest, which invites people to send in their expression of love in whatever medium, has gotten so big we’ve expanded it to be citywide to make Annapolis the ‘City of Love.’ As this event has grown, we’ve started doing cigar and whisky-tasting parties just for men the Thursday night before Valentine’s Day. We invite about 75 gentlemen to let their hair down and be guys, smoking the finest cigars and sampling the best whisky. Jewelry designer Gregg Ruth just happened to be in town for one of these events, and he said he’s never seen customers so thoroughly enjoy a store event like this one. In 2011, this will be our third such event for the guys, and they love it. And they always buy jewelry.”
—Steve Samaras, co-owner, Zachery’s Jewelers, Annapolis, Md.
“For this Valentine’s Day we’ll be doing our ‘Unforgettable’ event, marking the fifth year. Customers who spend $500 or more receive flowers, chocolate, and dinner. Those who spend $250 or more receive just the flowers. Over the years we’ve made slight changes to the Unforgettable event by changing up restaurants and some nice extras. One year we gave couples a photo shoot together, and another year we gave the women a spa treatment. We do our best to work with as many cross-promotional partners as possible for this event. The combination of jewelry, chocolate, flowers, and dinner is a winner. We’ve only slightly tweaked the components.”
—Mary Sherwin, vice president, K-Jon’s Fine Jewelers, Atascadero, Calif.
“Jewelers are competing directly with florists and chocolatiers for Valentine’s Day, so it’s important to let consumers know there are affordable jewelry options that hit their budget. Jewelry is forever, symbolic, and special.”
—Craig Husar, president and chief romance expert, Lyle Husar Designs, Brookfield, Wis.
“Hook on to something bigger than yourself—for example, a radio station contest or giveaway. This may cost you a few dollars, but the exposure you get in return is worth much more. Plus, your name will be spread all over like peanut butter on bread because newspapers and radio have lots of fans (they’re the original social media!).”
—David Craig Rotenberg, president, David Craig Diamonds and Fine Jewelry, Newtown, Pa.
“Come in and receive a free hug from Eddie! Readers Fine Jewelers has been in the community for 41 years and are a fifth-generation jeweler. It’s not a discount that drives customers in; I show my customers love and passion. I love what I do, and that shows in my relationship with my clients. We get involved in the community and they support us. And nothing lasts longer than jewelry. I tell my customers, ‘You pay for the jewelry and get the flowers for free.’ I guarantee that the jewelry will last longer than the flowers.”
—Eddie Guerboian, president and owner, Readers Fine Jewelers, Santa Monica, Calif.