Encinitas, CA—We all know there is tremendous concern as to how and when the economy will come back, how to stay safe and healthy, and lastly, what this whole situation means for luxury retail sales. None of these are topics that flatter our industry and they certainly are not the sort of thing that drive traffic into stores.
However, the current situation does bring in more dedicated shoppers. In a situation like we’re in now, most people coming into your store are expressly intent on purchasing—they aren’t out ‘just looking.’ So, even though it seems counterintuitive at times like these, train your staff in going for the close more intently than they ever have before.
Have you noticed that some consumers may even feel guilty about shopping? This happened in the 2008 recession as well. Many people are aware that even though they may be able to shop, there are others who simply can’t afford it or, worse yet, are unemployed indefinitely. So even the large percentage of gainfully employed people have pulled back.
It is important that you find a way to reach consumers in a way that doesn’t inflict guilt. In theory, jewelry as a luxury item is an indulgence, not a necessity. Well, not always! There are many occasions that because they are extra special, deserve an extraordinary, life-lasting, symbol of the moment. No one will fault a bride for a beautiful wedding set, a couple for a 25thanniversary ring, a new mother for her ‘push gift’ given from the proud new daddy. These occasions are so special they call for a gift of jewelry to mark the exceptional day.
Retailers must use creative personal ways to draw the consumer into the store while making them feel both safe and comfortable. Your store must reach out to the female customer with reasons for her to come in other than buying a piece of jewelry. Once she’s there then you go to work on the sales side and building wish lists.
Wish lists will be the single most important tool you can have this Christmas selling season. These lists should be updated with every customer that comes through the door and you should be certain to have three to five items on the list. There is a good chance pieces that go on a list now may sell, and not be able to be replenished.
Now is your time to be offering personal invitations like never before. For example, call your customers with reminders of the importance of having current jewelry appraisals. Have them come in to have their prongs checked because anything over six months is too long. She would not want to have to try and replace her beautiful center stone. Does she have jewelry that she no longer wears? It’s been a long time since gold prices were this high. Now would be the best time to turn those items into cash or trade them for something she would truly enjoy. All of these are techniques to get traffic in the door and then you and your staff must take advantage of every selling opportunity from that point forward.
Traffic is no doubt down, but you can offer private appointments, and complimentary services to give consumers a reason to visit your store. If you don’t close a sale now you can at least plant the seed for a future purchase and keep yourself top of mind for that next big occasion. In any case, staying close to your customers is more important now than ever. You can increase business - you just must think outside of the box.
Dan and Lori Askew of Vantage Group strategically examine each area of business and address concerns efficiently to make the greatest impact on cash flow, merchandise planning, inventory control, advertising, and store management. www.VantageGroupinfo.com