Skip to main content Navigation

Articles and News

Make The 2017 Fourth Quarter Work for 2018 |  October 18, 2017 (0 comments)


La Costa, CA—You spend months preparing in anticipation of the most profitable time of the year, the fourth quarter. It’s here again—amidst hurricanes, floods, and fires—but December is just around the corner. By being intently focused on this fourth quarter you could have a significant impact on next year’s sales, expenses and profitability. Let’s consider the major contributors of your fourth quarter and reinforce the reality that could positively impact next year.


We find the majority of stores’ close rates much lower than what one might think. Specifically referring to new product sales, most owners estimate their close ratio is six in 10, but in reality it is closer to three in 10. We encourage you to run a personal test in your store: step out onto your sales floor and make note of the next 10 people who come through your door. Did they come for a repair pick up or drop off? Did your associates show product while your customers were waiting on the repair? Did the customer look through your cases with an interest in purchasing or were they a walk by – just browsing? Did they fill out a wish list? Most importantly, how many of these 10 potential customers did you close with the purchase of a new piece of jewelry? Is your close rate as high as you thought?

Consider this, if you increase three in 10 by just one more sale to four in 10, that will increase your close ratio by 10%, but it’s the percentage increase in your sales by 33.3% that’s substantial! Who couldn’t use a more than 30% increase in sales next year?

Do Now – 2017. The information you will collect from this brief, unannounced survey of your staff and customers will direct you as to what you can do immediately to improve your sales this fourth quarter. Throughout the upcoming months, repeat this process periodically, noting how your additional training and store meetings are improving your close ratio, Naturally, the closer you get to the end of December the easier the sale so be sure to date each observation time.

Do Later – 2018. Use the information you gained from watching your staff during fourth quarter to shine a light on the areas where they need additional training to improve their selling skills and close ratios. Repeat the process throughout the year to track improvement. Lastly, at the same time next year, conduct the same observations, hopefully revealing your improvement over 2017.


Do Now – 2017. As customer traffic begins to pick up, and you make personal calls to prepare wish lists, note what your customers ask for first. Of course, if you don’t have exactly what they are seeking, the goal is to help them find an alternative favorable selection from your inventory. However, start a “customers seeking notebook” and have your associates make notes as to what customers specifically stated they were looking for.

Do Later – 2018. Use your notebook as a buying guide. Did your customer define their search as vaguely as “something around $500”? Or did they tell you specifically that they wanted a particular brand or a certain type of bracelet? Either way, whatever they were looking for that you didn’t readily have, use this as a potential buying guide for next year.


Do Now – 2017. Certainly, your advertising is well planned and ready to kick off the fourth quarter season. This year, be determined to learn what worked and what didn’t. Be diligent about collecting the important information about what brought your customers in. Many of your POS systems will allow you to make a notation and ask the customer what brought them in.

You are looking for specifics when your associate asks this question! The answer is not, “Well it’s Christmastime.” You want to know details, and it’s OKAY to ask, “What brought you in, allowing us to make your gift purchasing special this year?” This will tell you if your associates are calling your customers, or what media is working. If, for example, the answer is, “I saw your billboard, and it reminded me of you,” ask which billboard!

Over the next two months, you have the opportunity to collect information that could save you thousands of dollars in advertising and drive your business significantly next year. Clearly knowing what is and what is not driving your business is crucial.

Do Later – 2018. Now that you know that no one commented on your billboard on the bypass, perhaps it’s time to either change it or take it down. That TV ad that you ran? If not a single person mentioned it; either you have the wrong media buy and are on the incorrect channels, or your frequency is not enough. If you learned that the mailer you sent out with a coupon was responsible for a major part of your business, then certainly that is something you want to repeat. Which dollar amount or offer was most effective and redeemed the most?

Whatever the case may be, learning from your 2017 fourth quarter can make your advertising dollars go much farther in 2018 by strategically responding to what you learned.

KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. The information you gather in these upcoming months can make you more profitable, more effective and more efficient in 2018. Don’t miss the opportunity.

After decades of experience with both national retailers as well as independent chains, Dan and Lori Askew of Vantage Group apply their expertise to assisting the independent retailer and manufacturers in the jewelry industry. They closely examine each area of business and address those in the order that will make the greatest impact in the most time efficient way to grow business incrementally while avoiding common pitfalls. Vantage Group's commitment is to insure overall success through cash flow, merchandise planning, inventory control, advertising, and store management, by partnering with the client either from the beginning or at any point along the way.

Share This:

Leave a Comment:

Human Check