Do you ever wonder about ways you can improve your business? You sit and think about it, but you’re just not sure what to do? As I write this article, the New Year has recently started and I find myself being reflective about things, but looking forward as well. Many things we tried in our jewelry store worked well last year, but some of the marketing, strategies and events were clunkers just like any other business has.
The title of this article is “How to reinvent the wheel in your store,” but perhaps it should have been “How not to reinvent the wheel.” What do I mean by that statement? Simple - I’m a big fan of the “Modeling Process” or in other words, copying the successful systems, attitudes and behaviors of those I wish to emulate or be more like. Just like you, I have my heroes in the jewelry biz and in the retail world at large.
One of the things I find helpful to stimulate new ideas is visiting other successful jewelry stores to see what they’re doing and to see if I can implement some of the ideas I learn in my own store. No one, and I repeat no one, has all the answers and we should all keep learning our trade each and every day. If we don’t do this, it’s my opinion that our business could cease to exist as our competitors locally and not so local, aka the Internet, Blue Nile, etc., move forward with innovative ideas.
Perhaps the best marketing advice I can give to any jeweler seeking to improve their store’s operation is to get out and visit other jewelry stores. On one recent visit to a store near our vacation condo I saw how this jeweler had integrated a very successful “Estate Jewelry” operation in their store that obviously set their store apart from others in their region. This made me question myself - why I had never seriously put in a estate jewelry case in our store. I also noticed this jeweler marketed to his client mailing list with postcards and special offers to those clients who love this type of jewelry. Duh!!! Why haven’t I been doing this???
With thanks to David Geller for inspiring me to do this many years ago, I modeled one of his behaviors in that I started sending “Thank You” notes to every customer who made a purchase or had a repair done in my store. With each of these thank you notes also came a gift certificate in whatever amount I deemed appropriate that the client could use on their next purchase. These days this is quite easy due to the advent of POS systems such as Edge, Winjewel and many others making it simply a “click of the button.”
One of the things I’ve been paying particular attention to lately in other jewelry stores, as well as other retailers, is the use of text marketing where you have a customer send a text message to your service and a special offer, gift certificate or message pops up on their smartphone. I’m experimenting with this as I write this and think there is some merit to it that we jewelers should incorporate ourselves.
As we continually become a more smartphone dominant society instead of desktop computer or laptop, it also seems very important to make sure our store’s websites are optimized for viewing on a smartphone. Over the holiday season, it absolutely amazed me how many younger clients came in my store with a picture of a ring from some website that they wanted to purchase in my store. I was very glad of this, but also kind of ashamed that I hadn’t optimized my own website sooner! Note to self... hey self, get off your butt and get your website optimized for viewing on the small screen!!!
One more thing - if you’ve not had the opportunity, go visit a Chico’s ladies store. My wife goes there often. Ok, maybe too often, but watch these folks in action. They are simply some of the best at clienteling I’ve ever seen! A few days after a purchase, my wife gets a card saying “Thanks” along with a special offer to come in again. Did I mention they also know her preferences and call her anytime something has come in that she might like? They also call her anytime there is a special event and give her a FREE gift just for coming in. Plus, they never forget a birthday and send a gift certificate for that as well. How often do you do this for your clients? Another note to self... start clienteling like Chico’s does and watch the bank account grow!
Most successful retailers belong to several organizations and often get great ideas, brainstorming sessions and many more benefits simply by being a part of them. I currently belong to four groups, two of which are jewelry specific and two made up of all types of retailers. It never ceases to amaze me the knowledge that is shared and how much I come away with. I suggest you find a group that you enjoy being a part of. Go out and try some until you find the right one. Like me, you may have to try several. Let some go, but by all means find one you can learn and grow with!!
Good luck until next time.