Thursday, 30 August 2012

How Big is your Market – Continued

Facebook follower Michael Goldie recounted a great story in response to yesterday’s blog. 
Back in the early 90's in the days of 75% off and that garbage, one of those guys opened in Cleveland. Advertised like crazy. Funny thing, small store in the back of the same center, had the biggest year in his history, by almost double. Why? Someone advertised jewelry and brought customers out his way.
So, a rising tide lifts all boats?  How many of you would welcome a new discount jewellery store to your mall or your street?  Might it double your sales?

Back in February, I wrote an article called “Why Can’t we be Friends?”  It posed the question of why retail jewellers (and maybe other luxury retailers) should get together on a consumer show that would benefit all participants.  If you’re going to spend more time, money and effort on expanding your market, and it’s going to benefit your competitors (like in Michael’s example,) why not involve your competitors to share the cost and effort?

We all know that a full-page print-ad costs less than four quarter-page ads.  What if four jewellers formed the “jewellery marketing coop” in order to buy full-page ads under the banner of “Jewellers Marketplace.”  I’ll bet that page would get more attention than the lone-wolf jeweller who does his or her own quarter page ad elsewhere in the newspaper.  And guess what?  Those who buy full pages get preferred placement, better discounts and perks. 

Here’s another thought.  Rather than ferociously protecting your exclusive buying-group territory, why not encourage a nearby jeweller to join the group and share a portion of your marketing costs?

We’re all so concerned about competition.  Never forget that many companies produce tasty and refreshing colas, but Coke and Pepsi have battled their way to such prominence that they’ve marginalized all contenders.  I imagine the marketing directors for those two companies secretly clinking beer mugs after a clandestine round of golf to toast their mutual success.

Thanks Michael for the story and for your contribution to The Toddwaz Report.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

How Big is your Market?

If grocery stores stopped advertising, people would continue to buy groceries.  If we stop promoting jewellery in our local market consumers will start spending their disposable money on other things.  This begs the question.  If you accept the premise that people would buy less jewellery if we advertise and promote it less, then the opposite must be true.  That is, unless you feel like we’ve saturated our markets with the messages, “jewellery is the ultimate expression of your love,” and “a diverse jewellery wardrobe is essential to adorning yourself fashionably.”

Sometimes it seems like we throw advertising dollars out there and we get very little in return.  Never stop pushing the message of jewellery.  Have the furniture stores slowed-down?  Have the car dealers eased-off on promoting the benefits of a new car?  Tooth whitening, plastic surgery, travel, home renovations, electronics are all screaming at the tops of their advertising budgets to take away jewellery sales.

Keep up the good fight.  If you’re not sure where to best spend your advertising dollars, FIND OUT.  Read advertising books, talk to experts, hire experts, monitor results during advertising campaigns, take full advantage of marketing coops, and find ways to spend time and energy along with spending money to further promote jewellery.  Have a comprehensive marketing plan and use it to guide all of your advertising and promotions throughout the year.

How big is your market?  If you turn the tide of gift and luxury spending towards jewellery instead of other items, there’s a bigger market to be had.  If you began to attract jewellery shoppers from neighboring towns, cities, provinces or states, the sky is the limit.  

Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Trunk Shows

Way back a zillion years ago when I worked for Forest of Jewels, the downtown store would host a client night.  During that evening a few select suppliers would bring their wares, show and sell them to Mr. Forest’s invited guests.  That was my first introduction to a trunk show.

Since then I’ve been involved in a few as a retailer and as a wholesaler.  I believe they’re a great way to make money and build your clientele.  Like many things in this life, the spoils go to those who will work the hardest.  Simply inviting a traveller to fill your showcase with goodies for a day or two is not enough.  You’ve got to make a plan, work the plan, analyze results, refine your plan and repeat until you build a successful event.

The most successful shows I’ve seen are either an evening event, and all-day event or a public all-day event with an exclusive invite-only component after-hours.  The supplier needs to be willing to spend the time, and it has to comply with his or her security and insurance requirements.  Your biggest suppliers and those with live merchandise are the first place to look for partners.  You can work with samples, but offering live cash-and-carry merchandise is far more effective.  Investing time and money in luring your best clients is critical to a great trunk-show.  If you make it a celebration with wine, snacks, live music, prizes, and pricing incentives then you’re sure to build a successful event.  When I say “build”, I’m implying that as you refine your approach and your consumers get used to the idea it can grow into an annual or semi-annual promotion worth tens of thousands of dollars!

It all comes down to this: you can sit in your store and wait for people to come to you, or you can go out and lure them in.  The bigger effort you make to provide an exciting experience for them, the more they will respond and the more they will want to give you ALL of their business.

Monday, 27 August 2012

Great Expectations

You can influence them.  You can advertise them into existence.  If you’ve been in business long enough they very well might be an unavoidable legacy of the brand you’ve purposely or accidentally created.  Whenever a client enters your store, they have expectations about what they will experience.

They might expect to look around unaided until they spot something they like and then invite you in to ring it up.  They could anticipate a warm greeting and to enter into lively conversations about fascinating jewels until together you zero-in on the perfect solution to the anticipated celebration.  Sometimes a man shopping for jewellery feels like a stranger in a strange land, expecting a sharp-tongued salesperson to sell them something they never would have thought of at some unforeseen price-point.

The job of a well-trained salesperson is to be prepared for various expectations, and handle them accordingly.  If you are a sales clerk, then you can well-handle the first type of shopper I mentioned.  If you are personable and knowledgeable, you can meet the expectations of the second kind of shopper.  If you are professional and can take charge of an unfocused shopper, you can make the third type feel great about their experience.

Sales training, communicating amongst yourselves, reading and stepping out of your comfort zone are some of the ways you can develop these capabilities.  Being a “sales-clerk” who can only write-up a self-directed purchase is a job easily replaceable.  If selling fine jewellery is your vocation don’t wait for years of experience to give you the tools you need.  Go out and get them, and watch your importance and your salary increase.

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Genuine Concern

I liked what I heard.  It was an ad for a glass company; talking about how dangerous it is to drive around with a cracked windshield.  They made the issue so darn critical that they didn’t care which shop you went to, for safety’s sake just get down there and have it looked at!  Chances are, if they are the ones telling you about the impending doom about to befall you for having a cracked windshield, you’ll patronize them.  After all they were the only ones who cared enough to spend the money on these benevolent public service announcements.

In what way could you use this paradigm in your jewellery marketing?  You could warn people about white gold discoloring when serviced (if you have a good solution to rhodium-plating troubles.)  You could warn diamond shoppers against inferior diamond certificates or non-certificated diamonds (if you are the one in town who has certified diamonds that will stand-up to any scrutiny.)  You might cause concern over diamond security from inferior retipping techniques (if your goldsmith avoids solder-tips and has a proven track record of precise and secure repairs.)

You see how this works?  Put your clients on alert to something that you have the best solution for.  Warning: if you make a big deal out of it and don’t truly have the top capabilities, you’re shining a light on your own inadequacies.  This only works if the problem is scary and your solution is genuine.