Ellen Fruchtman is founder and president of Fruchtman Marketing, a full-service agency headquartered in Toledo, Ohio, representing independent jewelers, jewelry manufacturers, jewelry designers and trade organizations throughout the United
What’s your preference this holiday season: surviving or thriving? When so much of the retail jewelry business depends on this very important time of year, it's easy to feel anxious and stressed. How you mentally approach the season could result in a self-fulfilling prophecy. Your level of preparedness will make the difference between surviving and thriving. Let's be honest, it's not like it doesn't come around the same time every year. And yet, many of you are feeling frenzied; are just beginning to sit down and think about your promotions, events and the like, in October! If you are reading this article today, you don't have much time to make it happen.

You can do it and here are some tips to help you survive and thrive:

Chances are your staff might be feeling the pressure, too. I'm pretty sure most people don't relish long nights and seven days a week. So, how about a pep rally (for lack of a better term)? We have Fruchtman Fridays every now and then: some booze, snacks and bonding. They become more frequent in the 4th quarter, but do happen all year long. I'm pretty sure it happens more when I'm gone and I'm totally for it! Granted, you can't roll out the bar at 2:00 PM on a Friday, but you can host a small get-together after hours (in-store or at a location) for a little unwinding before the madness. A toast to the team and a bit of rah-rah might go a long way.

Along with the cheerleading, maybe you want to think about a fun internal sales promotion. Set goals, and put together teams that include everyone from sales to your repair department to support staff. After all, you're all in this together, right?

Take time to think about the following, too:

When a customer walks in your store what is their first impression? How are they greeted? How are your employees dressed? What music is playing? Consider the tone you want to set for your store.

Same old holiday decorations? Consider something new. Serve fresh-baked holiday cookies…eggnog…hot chocolate…candy canes for kids. Buy a scent machine and infuse your store with the aromas of gingerbread, pine or cinnamon. (www.scentair.com)

Is your store in a cold-weather destination? Have a coat rack available so people aren’t forced to wear heavy coats while shopping.

Have a list of suggestions ready and available for those “I have no idea” shoppers. Guys really have no clue. They need you to give them an idea. Make your list clever yet informative.

Consider hiring a greeter. He or she can be dressed in something special for the holidays and handle all of the above details. If the customer has never been to the store before, give them a quick tour and make them feel comfortable.

Hire college students to take care of your beads and charms, so your key salespeople are not bogged down with some of these lower price-point sales.

Consider offering FREE shipping and/or FREE in-town delivery by special store “elves”. And market this benefit in the store.

Have a rack of FREE holiday cards at the counter.

Have a case designated for lower price-points: “Gifts under $200”. It’s less intimidating for those customers who aren’t prepared to spend more – and helps with add-ons.

Get set…

Make sure that you have a way to capture data. I know you’re busy but you need to capitalize on your holiday traffic, even if you simply get a name, address and email.

Have your follow-up thank-you note and a possible short questionnaire ready to go out in January to each and every new customer. Include an incentive to return.

Consider distributing a pre-printed offer or bag stuffer, good for one month following the holidays. This can be anything: a product, repair or appraisal offer. The idea is to get them back into the store as soon as possible.

Make this year’s holiday experience the best ever. For you. And your customer.

Get ready to go. 

|Subscribe >
National Jeweler

Fine Jewelry Industry News

Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.