How often have you heard the phrase…. “Little things mean a lot?”
As a jewellery visual merchandiser, the phrase is one I repeat often because it is certainly true in its application to the retail merchandising of high-ticket items. The details evident in your merchandise, your sales staff, your store display environment, all make a big difference in whether or not you close the sale.
Over the last few months, I have compiled the following list of “little things” I see retailers do that have a big impact on their success or failure. Check out the list and see how many of these your store is doing (or not doing) and consider taking a different direction for a period of 90 days and testing the outcome.
- Stop making the merchandise in your showcases hard to see. Go out to one of your cases and look at the pieces in that case and see if you can see each item “straight-on.” Ring fingers usually show the ring at about a 45 degree angle. If you have those ring fingers in the front 6” of the showcase, you are forcing your customer to bend over at the waist and look through the front of the case to examine your merchandise. No one likes to shop in that position with her backside sticking out into the store aisle. Make every item in your cases visible to the shopper from the top of the case and at an angle that shows the piece front on.
- Bring your goods out of the shadows. Stop loading up the top of the showcases with extraneous items that cast shadows over your merchandise. Easels, signs, counter pads, décor items, top-of-counter displays, all get in the way of your real business of selling the stuff inside the case. Clear all those distractions off and let the light shine in. (Followup in 2 weeks and be sure old habits haven’t allowed these items to move back in!)
- Stop using signage that doesn’t motivate a positive action! A sign in the store saying “We offer in-store financing” is basically worthless. Chain jewellers do as much as 60% of their sales through in-store financing. They reach those levels by telling the customer that this particular diamond ring is only $399/month. Replace your generic signs with a proactive sign that talks to a particular piece and watch things start to happen.
- Turn your store TV Monitor into a real sales tool instead of just showing a boring loop of a few images you got from some vendor. TV monitors in retail environments are everywhere and they influence sales decisions everyday. Put together a slideshow of impactful images and change it often to keep it fresh. Show slides unique to your store and designed to motivate the purchase. If you don’t have time to do all this, contact www.MyStoreMonitor.com and let them do a new show each month for you for about $115 per month.
- Keep your cases sparkling clean! Remove all the displays and vacuum out the cases 3 times a year. Clean the glass thoroughly. Clean the smudges off the displays (use Simple Green and a damp cloth but don’t rub the coating off the leatherette.) When finished and the displays are back in, go around to the front of the case and look at the dispay from the buyers perspective to be sure you got it right.
- Avoid lots of different colored displays in your cases unless the colors have significance. Consumers are used to seeing color as having some significance. When you throw a beige neck form into a white showcase just because it was handy you confuse the customer. When a showcase has a mix of colors in the displays that result from using a hodgepodge of display, the result is confusing for the customer and your store looks like a flea market.
- Don’t have empty slots in your tray. If you have a 9 ring tray with 3 slots empty (or filled with pennies or “sold” plugs) you are telling the shopper that the 3 best items are already gone. Put those 7 remaining rings in a 7 ring tray and your selection now looks full.
- Keep a photo record of how your showcases look on the first of each month. If you believe, as I do, that how you display your merchandise matters, then having a photo of how your showcases looked during that particular month that sales spiked, or died, is very helpful. Look at the photo of your showcase when you examine your months’ sales and you just might find the visual reason you got the results you did.
- Be sure your staff dresses the part. I was in a store recently where the owner was lamenting his lack of sales of fashion jewellery. We looked at the showcases and made a few changes but then we took a critical look at the sales staff that usually helped those fashion customers. The staff exhibited no sense of fashion style in their own dressing style! Women shopping for fashion jewellery often want input from the sales staff. (Ever notice how many people ask the waitperson at a restaurant for their recommendation or which item is their personal favorite?) Make your sales team look the part. Get a fashion stylist to come in and give them ideas. Provide them with a modest clothing allowance if necessary.
We are in the business of selling “little things.” If you pay attention to the details in your store that impact the buying decisions your customers make, you just might see “big” results. Good luck and let me know how things work for you.