Up Close & Personal at Davis Jewelers

For Ashley Davis, it’s about handwritten letters, word-of-mouth referrals, and special service

1. What one advertisement elicited the most response and why did it work?
In April, we started giving $25 gift cards to every new person who liked us on Facebook. To receive the gift card, people also had to watch a video of me talking about the store, and then complete an online form. Actual marketing costs to promote the event have been incredibly inexpensive: $350 to print the gift cards and postage—that’s excluding the costs associated with the redeemed gift cards. Of the 1,000 new “likes,” 22 percent of those new to our Facebook page have redeemed their $25 gift cards. Of that 22 percent, 46 percent were new customers. And, from April to July, we’ve been able to upsell many customers, accounting for an increase in $30,000 in sales.

2. How do you differentiate your store from the competition?
A few years ago we started working with a business coach from outside the industry, partly to help identify our unique selling proposition. Based on Simon Sinek’s lectures that use Apple stores as an example, this coach [had us take] a hard look at why we sell jewelry. Davis Jewelers is all about personalized service and relationship building. From that, we developed “It’s personal” as our USP catchphrase. This has permeated all levels of our business, such as reducing the number of vendors to personalize the store’s relationship with fewer companies, and my father and me becoming the voices of our campaigns. 

3. What ambitious goal do you have for your store and how will you achieve it?
Currently we’re trying to cut our marketing budget and still grow our business by asking our top clients, with handwritten letters, for referrals to grow our customer base. By providing us with “qualifying introductions,” this type of referral would increase closing percentages greatly and would be more effective than, for example, networking efforts at a Chamber of Commerce function. Externally, we create brand ambassadors for Davis Jewelers. And in our store, the “It’s personal” mantra is reinforced and taken to new levels when service and relationship building with customers gets them to tell others “shop at Davis Jewelers.”

4. What’s the best idea you’ve come up with for your store?
Belle Étoile’s Joséphine Collection features a fleur-de-lis. Knowing this symbol is hugely popular with certain demographics in our market we created a billboard with jewelry from that collection and got a great response. In addition to [garnering sales], the billboard helped bring in other customers.

5. What has been your biggest business challenge—and what have you done to resolve it?
Last year, I heard a speaker at an industry event addressing issues exclusively facing women as the next generation of jewelers. The speaker’s central message was “It’s easier to be respected than to be liked.” Hearing this forced me to rethink my relationships at work. I knew my first challenge was getting over my personal desire to always want to be liked in a business setting, which makes it hard to be the disciplinarian and the friend with my staff. And with vendors, I found that once I earned a level of respect, liking came naturally.

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