Q: What was your best store promotion?
“For a number of years we’ve held a VIP event and an 11-Hour Sale usually scheduled after Thanksgiving Day and before early December. The VIP event is like a customer appreciation event in that we cater to our top customers with an invite-only party. The two events run over three days from Thursday to Saturday. On the Thursday of the scheduled weekend we close the store all day and open our doors for the evening event. We want it to be an exclusive event with special pricing, swag bags, serving drinks and hors d’oeuvres, and even have some giveaways for added fun. Although it’s a VIP event, if people walk in during the event, of course they’re welcome. On Friday we host our 11-Hour sales event. This day is open to the public and has been heavily advertised throughout all forms of media. Friday is an easy set up considering we spent the entire day prior posting signs in cases, individually marking jewelry down, and preparing for the VIP event. As a surprise to the public and our customers we extend the event through Saturday for any last minute sales or customers who may have missed our event. We don’t advertise the Saturday portion of the two-day event until Saturday morning through different forms of social media, and always honor the discounts that day. After 10-plus years, the event has gotten bigger and better. People ask about and anticipate the event. Some may not buy over the course of the three days, but for those we add items to wish lists or plant seeds for future sales.”
Chalea Warth, marketing director
“We have been donating and giving away items for 38 years to bring customers into the store. Last year I read an article that stated giving away gift cards to your store is better than giving away old inventory, which many jewelers do. For example, I gave away a 3-carat black diamond thinking the custom work would bring in a good ROI, but it wasn’t all that great. Last year we stopped giving away jewelry or watches and instead concentrated on gift cards for the store, especially trunk shows. For trunk shows on the lower price point end, I may give gift cards starting at $25 and on up to the most expensive retail price of the designer’s inventory. On the top end, perhaps a diamond vendor, I might give away up to a $1000 gift card. We put the gift cards in envelopes and every hour a winner is drawn and they chose an envelope to see how much they have won. And, for March of Dimes related events, our biggest non-profit we contribute to, we might give away a gift card as much as $2000 to $2500. This has been very successful for us as people always spend much more than the gift card dollar amount. It brings them in the store to meet us and see what we offer. And, people get very excited – especially the ladies – about winning something.”
Brian Hoover, owner
Avant Garde Jewelers
“Over a decade ago, the state of South Carolina declared two days in late August as tax-free days for those buying back-to-school supplies. Although jewelry is not on the designated tax-free list, for the last 12 years we’ve been hosting a two-day no tax event. For all of the purchases made on those two days, typically scheduled for mid to late August, we pay the sales taxes. With a tax rate of 8.5 percent, on purchases of $3,000 to $4,000 or more, our event can mean a savings of around $700 to $800. That’s huge for a lot of people. This event always brings in a lot of customers. We also try to be very accommodating with many types of purchases including layaways. Just as important, the event helps bring up August sales, which are typically pretty soft with many families spending money on back-to-school supplies, clothes, plus end-of-summer vacations. Many customers anticipate and return to us for this summer event.”
Barry Woods, president and owner
North Charleston, SC
“Last Christmas we made some big changes to our Christmas catalog which resulted in a 10 percent increase in holiday sales and a 5 percent increase in year-on-year sales figures. What we did differently was take the Christmas catalog from four pages or six pages as we’ve done in the past up to eight pages last Christmas. The added pages gave us more options to showcase product. And, with more jewelry, we included a wider range of not just jewelry options but at retail price points, from $69 on up to $3,000, for gift-giving budgets of all sizes. Another significant change was increasing our mailing list from 5,000 to 10,000 existing and potential customers to 15,000 last Christmas. In doing this, we went from covering a 25-mile radius to twice that coverage with a 50-mile radius. Last Christmas we also included a 25 percent off coupon for Seiko and Pulsar watches, which helped increase sales for these brands of watches. Overall, the larger, 8-page flyer brought in a lot of increased sales. We’re going to duplicate this effort for Christmas 2016.”
Tom Keleher, owner
Keleher’s Jewelry, Inc.
“In recent years we’ve been relying less on traditional ways of promoting our business, and have been using more new media outlets. We still have some print ads in women’s magazines, but with in-house staff we’ve been able to build our Facebook fan base to nearly 4,000. Last year we sourced a large round brilliant diamond from a vendor, weighing 5.22 carats. We posted an image of the diamond on Facebook and asked our fan base to guess its exact weight. In one week, there were 300 responses for a chance to win a sterling silver and crystal pendant from Belle Étoile. The contest helped us reconnect with old customers calling to tell us they purchased their rings from us many years ago and are still together, to bringing in and attracting new customers. Product postings to Facebook have also helped us sell jewelry in the store such as ruby and black and white diamond jewelry from Cherie Dori.”
Paul Bechtold, owner
Sioux Falls, SD
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