Our first full year of business had flown by. We’d had ups and downs, trials and tribulations, but we’d finally made it thru. A local competitor had tried their best to put us out of business, but I’d simply made up my mind that no matter what happened, our store was staying put! Then it came....
The month of November - and I’d been caught with my pants down. What do I mean by this? I had failed to properly plan for the holiday season and as in months before, I was literally flying by the seat of my pants. With no formal inventory or marketing plan in place, I did the only thing I could do and that was to pray! Luckily, we survived and because of this, I took the time to learn my trade in the jewelry business better.
This was me almost 2 decades ago, but perhaps it’s you today, or at least parts of the story are! Hey, there is nothing wrong with admitting you don’t know how to do something or that you need help. Shucks, that’s where true improvement and success begins.
So at this point you may be asking yourself, “What does he mean with all this rhetoric?” Simple, just like I had mentors who helped me along during those times and were kind enough to give me advice, allow me to be one of your mentors today. I really wish someone had been there my first year to take me by the hand and plot a course thru the land mines for me, and perhaps I can help you do that within the context of this article.
Perhaps you’ve found yourself here in the month of November and you’re still wondering if you’ve done what you need to do to insure holiday success. If so, here’s a checklist I’d recommend to you:
- Make sure you’ve stocked your store’s best sellers - those items that you’ve stocked and sold within 180 days (that’s an industry number for fast sellers by the way). It’s crucial to have the right inventory.
- Take the time now to contact the local media that you’ve tested and proven best for your store and see what deals they are offering for the holidays such as: radio packages, newspaper special (especially remnant deals), etc.
- Put together a gift certificate of $50 or more and mail to your better clients to use during the holiday season. Trust me, they won’t just spend the $50. I suggest using the top 20% of your clients if you’re using a POS system.
- How about offering a FREE gift with any purchase of $200 or more? We’ve given away boxes of chocolates, bath & body gift sets, restaurant gift cards, etc.
- Using your POS system, export a list of your better clients and send them a phone call using voice blast technology such as www.voiceshot.com It’s easy to record a message, target an answering machine and call 500 clients for only $50 and they’ll thank you for it.
- Put those e-mail addresses to use by sending a special offer or gift certificate to these folks. It’s FREE to do other than your time and you can count on at least 5% using it and that could add up to big numbers.
- Most definitely hold a “Black Friday Sales Event” because people are already out shopping and why shouldn’t you get your fair share? I can’t believe a jewelry store owner wouldn’t do this? For the last five years we’ve helped over 500 clients in the first two hours of opening with special offers & events - you could do the same or better!
- Start posting special items and offers to your Facebook & Twitter followers - it’ll reap rewards!
- Host a special “After Hours Holiday Event” showcasing the latest, greatest items in your store - and be sure to sale price them. While doing this, we bring in a pianist, serve finger foods and drinks while making the atmosphere light but exciting and fun.
- Shop your competitors and see what they’re doing. Match or beat their offers - you can bet they’re shopping you! Go to their website and sign up for their e-mail offers and then see if they’re doing something you can do, but perhaps better!
- If you choose to do radio or newspaper, don’t get caught in the “Just a lil’ dash will do” mind-set. Dominate whatever you do or don’t do it at all!
- If you’re using a holiday flyer, hire a student to go around in parking lots and stick them under the wiper blades of cars and to post them on community bulletin boards.
- Be sure to stuff your holiday flyer or other offers/coupons into the store bags you put your merchandise in when a client makes a purchase.
- Perhaps you could host an event for one of your area’s larger employers and offer their employees a special discount or FREE gift during this event only.
- Ask for referrals when your clients make a purchase. To entice them to do so, tell them if someone they referred comes in and they make a purchase of $$$ or more, you’ll give them a $50 gift certificate or you’ll pay for a nice dinner for two.