La Costa, CA—Summer is a jewelry retailer’s spring-cleaning time: the perfect time of year to get your store in order and prepared for fourth quarter. The summer months often bring slower traffic, giving the staff time to devote to tasks that otherwise can get overlooked. We suggest that you help your staff make good use of this downtime by taking on important projects such as examining your merchandise assortment and starting your advertising campaign for fourth quarter, cleaning up your data base, ramping up your training, and hosting an event to draw in customers during a traditionally slower time of the year.
Whether you made it to Las Vegas or not, the shows’ significance to all retailers is timing. June should mark the beginning of retailers’ fourth quarter planning and summer should jumpstart the tasks on your to-do list.
Merchandise Assortment. JCK and Couture typically trigger retailers’ largest merchandise purchases of the year. Retailers make decisions as to what product their jewelry cases will be filled with come the critical fourth quarter. As purchases continue to be made, we recommend you make certain that they are fitting into your overall merchandising plan, creating the assortment by both product type and price point that meets your customer’s needs. This selection of goods hopefully includes new looks and designs that will influence the merchandise mix of the entire store, the advertising campaign, and ultimately the sales for the year’s finale. These key purchases allow the opportunity to reinvent and reassert a store’s image. Showcasing new lines and brands offers retailers a new story to tell and the venue to create excitement in the marketplace.
Fall Advertising Campaign. June is when it all begins. As merchandise is selected, advertising plans should be laid out. Mr. Retailer, this year will be a race to see who can make themselves heard following the excessive media static from the Presidential election. To be heard, seen and recognized, a campaign with multiple reaches must be put in place and ready for action. A last-minute effort will not be enough.
Following the election year’s media blitz, consumers will be looking for a break: a bit of quiet time from the continual flood of minute-by-minute election coverage. Retailers need advertising and special events to reach consumers in a way that captures attention and motivates people into the store. Your approach must be unique and inviting to separate you from all the media consumers either have been intently watching or trying to escape. More than ever this year, ADVERTISING MUST BE CREATIVE AND CAPTIVATING! If you haven’t ever worked with an ad agency before, this might be the year to find one with a track record of creative, innovative marketing ideas.
Database clean-up. Maintaining your database is one of the less glamorous parts of marketing, but a necessary element. As you decide on your campaign for the upcoming months, consider exactly whom you want your message to hit, or if you will have multiple messages for multiple audiences. Will you pursue a broad reach, attempting to bring in new customers, or will you personalize your message and focus on your loyal customers from years past?
Either way, both your mailing list and your email list could probably use refreshing. You hopefully keep your list current by omitting names when mailings or emails are returned, but consider categorizing your lists as well. For example, sort your lists by the last time a purchase was made or by the amount of the purchase or even by what was purchased. These kinds of sorting considerations could narrow what you thought should be a mailing or invitation list of 5,000 to one of 2,500 that are more likely to spend. Spend your advertising dollars wisely and get a bigger impact for your dollar by getting the right message to the right customer.
Summer events. Although the Presidential bantering might be intriguing, consumers also become tired of it and are looking for a breath of fresh media air. Consider a summertime event as a positive distraction to the election and continual media onslaught. A summer event doesn’t need to be big, but it should be fun and remind your most valued customers of your presence, which will play as a prompting in the fourth quarter.
You could host a traditional repair, appraisal or trunk show event, but spice it up by making it a barbecue with rock or country music instead of the typical quiet background quartet. What else might you do to make yourself stand out in a positive way to a customer who is tired of the media, and the uncertainty of the economy in an election year?
Training. The slower days of summer are an ideal time to boost staff training in advance of the fall season. Consider bringing in an outside professional or setting up an online course for your team so they’re confident and ready to work with even the most Internet-savvy customers.
We hope these summertime hints will inspire you to tackle a few of the necessary yet easily put off tasks in your store. Although sales have been challenging and consumers have felt uncertain about the economy for longer than any of us would like to admit, there are definitely strategic moves you can make to ensure your success. We encourage you to make this summer productive and headed towards a strong 2016.
For more information, see vantagegroupinfo.com.