1. Clean up your showcases. Get rid of all the extraneous items in your cases that do not directly impact sales. Props that add to the ambience of the store can stay if they are impactful and of good quality. Take out any shiny trim from inside the case (because it shines more than the merchandise!) Take off or move away anything on the tops of the cases that cast shadows on the merchandise underneath.
2. Get old dead merchandise out of the showcase and in a clearance case. The average shopper looks at about 5 or 6 items before she decides if your selection is worthy of further examination. If half your stock is old, you just cut your chances of a sale in half!
3. Use the data from your stores software system to make display decisions in your store. One of the first things I do when I go into a store to consult is ask for their “Inventory performance report by merchandise category for the last 12 months.” It tells me what the store is really selling, at what price, profit and markdown . It tells me how much we have in the cases and at what cost. I use that report to decide how much space to allow each category. What price point to feature and what merchandise should not even be in the case. It is like the blood test your physician runs on you during a checkup. You just have to read it.
4. Put the “Top 10 gift ideas” program in your store cases and keep working it. This time of year, birthday and anniversary gifts are a big part of the business. Make those sales easy for your customer and yourself with this proven sales plan. If you missed the details of the plan, send me an email at Lbjis@Msn.com and I’ll send you the details.
5. Make color mean something in your cases. Red lights, pink ribbons, blue skies, white flags, all mean something to the viewer. If your cases are a mixture of brown neck-forms, white ring-fingers, black ring trays and a few purple vendor displays, you are confusing the customer and making your cases look like a flea market. If you can afford new displays that match, at least combine your displays into colors and put all one color into a single case.
6. Recover your floorboards unless they have been done in the last 18 months. This is the least expensive way to give your cases a visual lift. Order real material (I like Fifield charisma suede) from your display vendor to be sure the fabric doesn’t fade under your lights or emit fumes that will tarnish your merchandise. You’ll be amazed how your regular customers react to the look and find “new” pieces in your cases that you’ve actually had a long time!
7. Organize your cases into a “Good,Better,Best” arrangement. I suggest my 20-40-40 strategy to make it easy for customers to find what they want. It also avoid that awkward move over to the cheaper case when a client balks at the price of your better goods. Again, send me an email if you want details of this idea.
8. Promote monthly payments in your store. I read the other day that 61% of the sales of a major chain jewellery store were made through in-store credit! They are not in the jewellery business, they are a finance company. Having a small sign in your case that say “We offer financing” is not enough. Calculate the monthly payments for that special piece you want to sell and put a small sign (I like the Avery label #5302) with the description, price and $xxx/month on it. This helps the customer see how he/she can afford their dream. You really expect that customer in your store that pays monthly for their apartment, car, phone, student loans, etc. to pay you $19,000 in cash for a ring? Make your store an easy place to buy.
9. Get your display person some training. You probably would not let “Matilda” who never went to jewellers training, set stones on your bench or repair watches, just because she really liked doing it and it “looked nice.” You might, however let her rearrange your showcase interior layouts and move things around and DIRECTLY impact your sales because…. things “look nice.” Cases should look nice in museums. Cases in jewellery shops should sell jewellery! The problem is that you don’t realize how visual merchandising impacts sales. Enroll Matilda in a VM class at the local college or buy her a few books on the subject on Ebay. (Blatant plug, my book, “A complete guide to effective jewelry display” or Effectivejewelrydisplay.com are also decent places to start)
10. Keep track of what works and what doesn’t. Do more of the good and change out the ideas that flop. Take pictures of your cases and your windows. When you review your sales for the preceding month, take a moment and look at the photo of that case from last month. What was different about the display? What items were featured? How? What window display brought in more customers? If you do not analyze the successes and failures of your own stores experiences, how will you learn and grow? Experience is the best teacher. Start listening and taking action.
I hope these ideas are of help to you in improving your store’s performance. If you have other ideas, send them along and I’ll include them in a future column. If you need clarification of any of the ideas included, contact me at Larry Johnson Consulting, 817-980-2135 or Lbjis@Msn.com.