Our economic landscape has been radically transformed. Major retail chains and long-established independents have closed their doors forever. Although the economic downturn was national, different areas have been hit harder than others. High unemployment areas are still experiencing the slowest growth. But there are pockets around the country - major metropolitan areas such as Washington DC fueled by government and industry, affluent enclaves and wealthy resort spots - where growth is strong. Consumers still like and desire jewelry. Rising consumer confidence, especially in these affluent regions, offers a glimpse of the emerging landscape.
Formulas for success on the road ahead:
• Project Positivity, Belief in the Future
Customers respond to the atmosphere you create. Nothing inhibits sales like bare stores and staff complaining about the economy. A spotlessly clean, orderly environment is essential. When is the last time you updated your décor? Bring in a pair of fresh eyes, an “outside” friend, to give an honest impression of your store’s impact. Investing in your store reveals commitment to the future. Project a confidence that inspires your clientele.
• Promote. Promote. Promote.
Now more than ever you have to remind your customers what they love about jewelry. The communication landscape has altered. Tap into all the multimedia available to reach your target audience where they already are - on the web, including social media sites such as Facebook. A basic website is expected. Do you routinely collect the e-mail addresses of all your customers? Use regular e-mail newsletters to introduce new collections, announce special events such as trunk shows and offer special promotions.
• Reinvent Yourself
If you’ve relied for years on mainstay bridal and repairs, now’s the time to explore other options. More self-purchasing women are buying fine fashion and designer jewelry with an eye to color and style. If you’re not offering these options, your customers may be turning elsewhere to satisfy their desires - including multiple TV commercial stations and the Internet. Why not capture the interest of your fashion-forward clients, both men and women, with new offerings? Take advantage of hot current trends, including interchangeable bead bracelets and silver accented with gold at attractive price points. But also include some new higher-end pieces to capture the imagination and pique interest. Create the desire. If you don’t have it, you won’t sell it.
• Creative Credit
Work with both suppliers and customers to arrange credit. Many suppliers are willing to work with you, including providing additional memo items and rotating your current inventory.
Include layaway options for clients to help with larger purchases. Avoid the tendency to routinely discount across the board. This only suggests your merchandise is not accurately priced and undercuts its value. A special discount from time to time for loyal customers, on special occasions, or for multiple purchases adds more incentive and increases the perceived value of your collections.
• Happy Jewelry