Columnists David Brown Make the most of those busier shopping days

Make the most of those busier shopping days

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Now that the holiday season is behind you it’s time to look at the road ahead and try to maximize those key customer buying occasions during 2013.

Of course, the year gets underway quite quickly for the romantics with Valentine’s Day first on the horizon. It may seem a little exhausting to have to think about this when you’ve barely got past the holiday season, but an opportunity missed is one gone forever.

December can be a great month of the year – not only because of sales but because it helps you to hone in on the key areas of the business and sales staff are getting the best opportunities to improve their selling skills in the real world environment. It’s important that you keep the momentum going into the New Year.

Aside from Valentine’s, there are a number of other important gift giving occasions that affect a large percentage of the population – and these need to be taken advantage of as well. Father’s Day and Mother’s Day are two such examples – but the one that should be front of mind for most jewelers at this time of year is Valentine’s Day.

Now it’s not always easy to know who your prospective market is for this period, after all it’s often “young love” that celebrates these occasions, and young love can be fickle! But it can be one of the best opportunities to sell engagement rings, and it’s important that this is recognized and taken advantage of… after all if you don’t appear to meet the needs of this market then your potential customers may shop with your competitors.

There are a few simple steps that can help you get organized for Valentine’s Day:

1. Get your staff ready. They need to realize the opportunities that exist around this period and be ready to deal with them. Some simple role playing can help in the situation.

2. Be ready for the “lost male.” You know the one - he will come wandering in during the last two days looking dazed and confused. This is not their normal habitat – they are there for a reason. Make sure your staff understand that these men are a customer – they are not “just looking.”

3. Review your inventory to make sure you have what you need. Check that you have the right selection for this important shopping period. Make sure you have reordered your best sellers from December, particularly in the areas of engagement rings and silver – two of the more popular sellers during the Valentine’s period. Print a sales report for February 2012 and have a look at what departments sold well last year (and what sorts of items). This will be a good indicator of what you can expect for this year.

4. Look for opportunities to make the occasion even more special. At Valentine’s it’s not just about the item - it’s about the moment. There can be the chance to garner some good will by going the extra mile.

Has he organized a special dinner? Offer to call and book a restaurant for them. Have the item gift wrapped with extra care and delivered to the restaurant so she won’t see it first. You may even like to slip something extra in, like a voucher to be redeemed, to help make it more memorable. These are the moments that couples remember and you can make sure they remember you too.

Sometimes the male buyer is “under instructions” and is buying the item she has sent him to get. How about asking him if he’d like to get something extra as a surprise? He will often like to show her he can go the extra mile and just needs a little guidance to get him over the line.

5. Capture that information. Especially if it’s an engagement ring sale. After all they will need to be back for the wedding rings. Make sure you have the contact details and the customer is included in your database for future marketing opportunities. This is not only about a short term sale, but cultivating a long term customer for your store.

David Brown is President of the Edge Retail Academy, an organization devoted to the ongoing measurement and growth of jewelry store performance and profitability. For further information about the Academy’s management mentoring and industry benchmarking reports e-mail This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 877-569-8657.

 
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