By Brecken Branstrator and Michelle Graff
New York--While the holiday season has started off strong for many jewelers, metrics suggest the best is yet to come. 

The fact that Christmas Day is on a Thursday this year means that “Super Saturday,” the Saturday before Christmas, is expected to be a busy day for retailers, even more so than Black Friday.

That makes now the perfect time to remind salespeople to ask for the add-on, and/or to refresh the store’s tactics for making multiple sales. 

Below are eight tips for making those add-on sales during the holiday season, as suggested by jewelers from across the country. 

Keep track of what the store has. In San Antonio, Texas, jeweler Aaron Penaloza said he’s been guilty of a sin perpetrated by many jewelers: he has a lot more inventory than he needs, making it a challenge to keep tabs on exactly what’s in stock.

This year, however, he has made it a holiday-season goal to stay on top of all the different price points they carry. That way, if a customer buys a $10,000 pair of diamond stud earrings, they know what smaller sizes they might have to offer him, or her, for a different loved one.

Helping him out in this regard are new displays from Rio Grande--hard-sided, roll-up boxes that the store keeps in the safe but can bring out to show customers. He said when opened, the boxes display the merchandise in a presentable manner. “It works well,” Penaloza said. 

Merchandise right. Having a selection of great jewelry pieces near the checkout area can be a great way to drive add-on sales as consumers are wrapping up their purchase.

Debbie Fox of Fox Fine Jewelry in Ventura, Calif. says that they place more affordably priced pieces that might appeal to a self-purchaser near the checkout. At Ralph Miller Jewelers & Gallery in Erie, Pa., Daniel Niebauer, the store’s vice president of operations, said they have a Christmas tree full of gift cards as well as plenty of jewelry cleaner and sterling silver ornaments, all high-margin items that make great add-ons. 

Dean Abell, vice president of Sarah Leonard Fine Jewelers in Los Angeles, said this year, one of their best-selling add-ons are $35 freshwater pearl bracelets that are colorful and kept in a bowl on top of the counter. “People like to dig through and play with them,” Abell said. 

Meet them on their ground. If a customer starts wandering or browsing while a store employee is making a repair or gift-wrapping their purchase, this can be a great time to approach an add-on sale, Debbie Fox, of Fox Fine Jewelry in Ventura, Calif., said. 

She gives an example of one regular customer who was looking around while his purchase was being wrapped, presenting the opportunity for Fox to try for the add-on and resulting in the customer leaving the store with seven pieces of jewelry. 

“Go to where they are and answer their questions,” Fox said. 

Practice with staff. Stephenie Bjorkman, CEO of Sami Fine Jewelry in Arizona, said that her sales mantra is to assume the sale and see what else she can add on with every interaction on the sales floor.

She practices add-on techniques with her staff in regular employee meetings. The store has 15-minute meetings every day and a longer meeting once a month.

Other store owners reported making add-on sales a regular part of store memos that are distributed monthly, weekly or even daily. 

Incentivize. Along the same lines, Bjorkman said that because she teaches her staff to go for the add-on sale every time, they have competitions and she provides rewards for the employee that can obtain the most. They respond well to that. 

During a three-day contest, Bjorkman won with 38 add-ons, but she gave the cash prize to the employee that managed almost as many, achieving 36 add-on sales.

Isolate a case. J. Dennis Petimezas, owner of Watchmakers Diamonds & Jewelry in Johnstown, Pa., is trying something new this year.

He has designated a case 80 percent off and filled it with unsellable merchandise--pieces that haven’t moved for one reason or another and were marked to be melted down at the end of the year. 

Though he isn’t advertising it publicly, when customers come into the store this case is where he has his staff direct people for add-on sales. “It’s actually working,” he said.

Petimezas admits that while he doesn’t make much more off the sale of these remarkably-marked-down pieces than he would if the just scrapped them, it’s a way to pass along good will to this customers. “If we sell half of it, we’d be happy. It’s a good bonus,” he said. “It’s a win-win for everyone.” 

Look ahead to the next holiday. Suggest that clients buy the gift now and put it aside for an upcoming birthday, anniversary or the next holiday, such as Valentine’s Day. Fox said that trying to get a consumer to think ahead to the next holiday can be especially effective for one-of-a-kind creations, which might not still be available if they wait. 

Abell, of Sarah Leonard Fine Jewelers, said around this time of year, they call clients who have December/January birthdays and anniversaries to remind them they can take care of all of their presents with a trip to the store, and to offer suggestions for each occasion. 

Encourage customers to share the love. At Manfredi Jewelers in Greenwich, Conn., owner Roberto Chiappelloni said they sell a lot of high-end watches to men. 

When they do that, they, very kindly, make a suggestion to the men: it might be nice if your significant other had something nice to open as you enjoy this expensive new watch. And it works. 

Chiappelloni said they recently sold a $54,000, 18-karat gold Audemars Piguet chronograph to a gentleman. When they suggested he pick up something for his wife he obliged, in the form of a $38,000 18-karat rose gold and diamond ladies Audemars to complement his. 

“I find that, with (my store), because they buy such extravagant watches for themselves, it works very well when you suggest the ladies should also be remembered,” he said.  

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