February 3: Only 11 days to go until Valentine's. It's time to turn that wish-list data into sales receipts. Send e-mails to spouses and partners. Then get on the phone to follow up. Ask everyone — repair customers, browsers, friends — what his or her plans are for the Day of Love. Maybe there's something happening you can be a part of.
February 4: On the 10th anniversary of the day Mark Zuckerberg and three friends launched The Facebook, adopt the company’s motto, “Move Fast and Break Things” and commit to giving it a measured try. For the next three months, aim to post two or three times a week to allow your customers to really know you. Maybe test some sponsored posts as well.
February 5: Announce your big spiff for the salesperson who sells the most “jewelry for friends” for Valentine’s. (Have appropriate “friend gifts” ready to show.) Maybe an extra day off after Washington’s Birthday on Feb. 17?
February 6: Mercedes-Benz New York Fashion Week kicks off today, and the annual event is increasingly a showcase for jewelry and accessories. Browse the list of exhibitors and preview their wares here.
February 7: National Wear Red Day is a perfect fit for a jeweler. Partner with a clothing store to stage a Red Dress fashion show, join in a community activity, such as entering a team in your local American Heart Association Heart Walk, host a Red Dress gala in conjunction with Valentine’s Day, or distribute Red Dress Pins.
February 8: The XXII Winter Olympics is up and running in Sochi. For the next two weeks, encourage your sales staff to go for the gold in four categories (or any others you can make up):
- Highest weekly average sale
- Highest number of weekly items sold
- Highest weekly total sales volume
- Largest combined sale to one customer
Post the records after the first week and then at the end of the games, hold a ceremony to award medals (and other fun prizes).
February 9: Send out two slightly different e-mail blasts, distinguished by gender. The message for men: We will solve your V-Day headache. Check out our no-brainer gift ideas. For women: Share the love with friends.
February 10: Helena Rubinstein said there were no ugly women, only lazy ones. At the start of “International Flirting Week” (yep), make that Point 1 in your list of Top 10 flirting tips Write up a press release and send it off to your local paper.
February 11: Type your store’s name into Google (omit the apostrophe if you have one, such as in Jameson’s, because that’s what your customers will do). If your store’s website appears “below the fold” (where people have to scroll down to see it), you’ve got work to do. First up, join the conversation: Reply to any positive review posts on Yelp or Yahoo. Consider a blog or Twitter account to raise activity.
February 12: Your "last-minute panic-buying" strategy should be ready to kick in. Prepare a shortlist of popular items at different price points for male customers.
February 13: Share the love. Buy chocolates for your employees. Inscribe the card, “Love your work!”
February 14: Romance it, market it, milk it. And don’t forget two growing segments: the “just friends market,” and “gifts of love” from parents to children. According to a National Retail Federation survey, more than four in 10 consumers see V-Day as a reason to give a gift to someone other than a romantic interest.
February 15: Valentine's is done and dusted, so send a thank-you e-mail to all customers who took advantage of your V-Day offer. Check the websites of online florists to see if they’ve got any cheap stock left over from V-Day. You could get a jump on spring with fresh flowers in the store. Winter drags on ... but you can get a jump on spring with fresh flowers in your store.
February 16: Create a display of jewelry options that fall into the $100 to $500 range and promote it to attract those tax rebate dollars that start pouring in from March through May. Most households are expected to spend in the range of $100 to $300, which just happens to be the “sweet spot for ‘fine’ fashion jewelry.”
February 17: Examine your in-store signage. Is it friendly? Is it memorable? If it's not both, start the process of changing it.
February 18: If your fiscal year ends in December, you should have your financial statements finalized by Feb. 28. Prepare a list of uncovered losses; these may be tax deductible.
February 19: Back up all customer and store data and other important files. Most small business networks can be backed up to a single external hard drive.
February 20: Identify your top 1,000 customers and make year-long plans targeting them. If you don't have birthday and anniversary data, start thinking of ways to get it.
February 21: This is a good time to broaden your business and gemological skills. Check out what courses GIA and JA are offering. Can you send your jeweler somewhere to sharpen his skills?
February 22: Begin preparations for Mother’s Day and graduation season. Start researching “hot sellers.” Take a good look at your bridal jewelry case. Could you modernize it, add new props? Look for a bridal fair to attend.
February 23: Go out and shop a competitor this week, or send a salesperson to do it.
February 24: The No. 1 complaint customers have about retail sales people is a lack of follow-up. Create a follow-up system and tell your customers about it. Let them know you will always be there. Promise a lot. Deliver more.
February 25: If engagement ring sales are picking up, as they typically do in February, can wedding-band sales be far behind? Unfortunately the answer too often is "no." Create an incentive to get spring-wedding couples back in the store. And don't forget those attendant gifts.
February 26: While just over 25 percent of a jeweler’s business comes from the big holidays, the rest comes from milestone events like anniversaries and birthdays. Jewelers with good customer records can call their clients to remind them that they have “just the thing” for an upcoming life-cycle event.
February 27: Call a local glass company to come to your store an get that scratched showcase glass replaced. Those scratches make it look like you don’t care about your merchandise.
February 28: Want to reach the high-end customers in your community? Golf season is coming fast. Sign up at the local country club and start hitting the links for a year that's way more than par for the course.
PREVIOUS MONTHS' LIST
- January 2014
- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- Over 70 percent of the wealth in the U.S. is controlled by people over 50.
- Half of all consumer spending is done by people over 50.
- People over 50 have an average net worth 3 times that of younger generations.
- Baby boomers spend an average of $650/month on technology, more than either Gen X or Gen Y.
- Younger boomers outspend younger adults in every major category.
- Between now and 2030, the population over 50 will grow at about three times the rate of people 18-49.
- They are the target for 5 percent of all advertising.
- The boomers aren’t over the hill yet.
- May 2013
- a) Answer it within two rings and keep the call brief.
- b) Ignore it and pretend someone else’s phone is ringing.
- c) Apologize and turn the phone on silent mode.
- d) Apologize, step away from the table, and take the call.
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
January 6: Here it is, your second bite at the cherry, a/k/a gift-card-redemption season. Ensure you're stocked with fast sellers and your add-on strategy is in place.
January 7: Non-performers, Out! New Year sales don't have to be limited to Christmas gifts. Everything that didn't pull its weight last year should go. As markdown stock moves, don't be tempted by the slow economy to cut back on your re-orders. Empty case space looks bad and hurts staff morale. You don't want it to look like a distress sale.
January 8: All those outstanding "non-rush" jobs you took in over December should be completed this week.
January 9: News editors will be looking to do stories on the just finished Christmas season and the outlook for 2014. Send the local business desk a story idea about what you see for the year ahead for luxury goods.
January 10: Do a phone or postal/e-mail campaign to your regulars. Thank them for their Christmas purchases and offer a special gift or discount to reward their Jan 12
January 11: Here’s a hard-nosed lesson from Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who celebrates his 50th birthday tomorrow. In a posting explaining the company’s twice yearly meetings at which leaders in each department gather to debate the strengths and weaknesses of their subordinates, he says: “These meetings give us the opportunity to identify our future leaders ... (as well as our) least effective 10 percent of employees, who will be targeted for appropriate action to keep Amazon’s performance bar high.” The average employee stays one year at Amazon, but the service is admittedly pretty good.
January 12: America’s favorite Golden Girls, Tina Fey and Amy Poehler, will be back to host the 70th Annual Golden Globe Awards, as red carpet season kicks off in Los Angeles. The Grammy Awards follow on Jan. 26. Be sure to watch the blogs at instoremag.com for fashion updates.
January 13: Just about all of the novels of Horatio Alger, born on this day 180 years ago, reworked the same plot: Boy from humble background finds success, wealth and fame through grit, honesty and bravery. In the modern day, it’s not enough: You need to add smarts, opportunity and a willingness to promote yourself. You can find the first two at the SMART Jewelry show in Chicago, April 5-7. (As for the third, it helps if you have your own magazine.) Sign up today!
January 14: Update your customer lists. Input the names you gathered over the holiday season. Eliminate those names whose Christmas mail bounced back.
January 15: Before he jumped the shark, Arthur “The Fonz” Fonzarelli was about the coolest character on TV, with the ability to attract women with a click of his fingers and start a song with a slap of the jukebox. Ideas on what’s cool may have moved on, but Happy Days maintains a warm spot in many middle-aged Americans’ hearts. Mark the 40th anniversary of the show’s premiere with a “Happy Days are Back Again” in-store event. Milkshakes, ’60s music, leather jackets and jeans required ... “Aaaaeeeyyy! ... sounds like fun.”
January 16: Update your physical inventory. Check with your insurer to make sure your inventory is current with what's listed on your policy. While you've got your stock out, it's probably a good time to steam and ultrasonic the whole lot (get all those holiday fingerprints off!)
January 17: Today marks Ditch Your Resolution Day when gyms note a significant decrease in attendance and candy bars sales spike. But if you can hold on for just another week there is a good chance that the desired behavior can become a much-easier-to-keep habit. Twenty days — that’s the magic number.
January 18: Set yourself some 2010 business goals and then break them down into quarterly, monthly, weekly and even daily action steps. Post your yearly sales goals in the back so everyone can see and get excited by them.
January 19: As markdown stock moves, don't be tempted by the slow economy to cut back on your re-orders. Empty case space looks bad and hurts staff morale.
January 20: The last symbols of snow and cold weather should have been banished the day after Christmas. It may still be freezing outside but inside you want your customers thinking of spring. Order in fresh flowers.
January 21: Research colored-stone trends to prepare for Tucson. (AGTA show starts Feb. 4.)
January 22: Finalize your Valentine’s Day promotions. How about a men’s night? If you’re planning an event near V-Day, invitations or direct mail should be sent out no later than Feb. 1. Consider placing an order for red roses via an Internet service now — it’ll save you money. And don’t forget a bouquet for your spouse.
January 23: Start work on a merchandising strategy for the year. Which product segment do you want to build, which do you want to scale down? Run some reports to understand what sold in Q4 of 2013 — categories, price point, vendors, styling, metal etc.
January 24: National Compliment Day — shouldn’t it be every day? Alex Ferguson, the gruff former coach of Manchester United soccer club, said all his players wanted to hear were two words, “Well done.” We’d argue that if you want to see the behavior repeated, it helps to specify exactly what it was about your employee’s action that prompted your praise.
January 25: If you don’t have a performance management system in place — everything from weekly and monthly goal-setting to semiannual performance review to coaching and counseling to exit interviews, get one set up ASAP.
January 26: Get an early start on your taxes — and don’t forget to account for items lost to theft, disappearance or damage. These may be tax deductible.
January 27: Managers need to have a review at the end of each month, instead of every six months or year. Start the process with some goal setting, says Shane Decker. Six months is too long of a wait to improve on things that can help sales tomorrow.
January 28: Contact your local florist, spa, favorite restaurant or boutique hotel to see if you can do something together for Valentine’s Day, like a gift certificate for all customers or a cross promotion (buy some earrings, get a free massage).
January 29: She no longer does her TV program, but Oprah Winfrey, who turns 60 today, is still widely considered “America’s most influential woman.” Celebrate with a mailer to your customers noting some of the trends and jewelry she’s either inspired or supported with her O List and other fashion endeavors. There’s a ton of material on the web if you need information.
January 30: Be sure to showcase popular Valentine items on your homepage — with a special emphasis on items that are exclusive to your store. You may even want to create a Valentine's Day link that shows all your Valentine's items on one page.
January 31: According to the Lunar calendar, today marks the start of the Year of the Horse, which promises opportunities and surprises, especially for the bold. Mark the Chinese New Year and the arrival of the free-spirited horse, just about everyone’s favorite animal. Even if you don’t have a large Asian market in your area, give some thought to Asian population.
December 2: Tip your hat to Cyber Monday by offering at least one website special to excite online shoppers today. But the bigger thing to appreciate about the first Monday after the Black Weekend is that this is when the action really starts for jewelers. The bargain hunters have returned home, the serious gift buyers are just getting warmed up.
December 3: Four, count ’em, FOUR gemstones share December: Blue Zircon, Blue Topaz, Tanzanite, and Turquoise. Jim Fiebig, sales manager, Josephs Jewelers, Des Moines IA, tells us that blue topaz is the most practical choice for this month because of durability and availability.
December 4: Set up a system to ensure no one leaves your store this month without surrendering a little bio data. At the very least, you want their e-mail address. You won't have this much traffic for another year.
December 5: Changes in small behaviors can have huge results. Each day, have employees concentrate on one specific behavior. It could be mimicking, maintaining eye contact, smiling, getting customers to try on items, getting permission to follow up, and asking "So ... who else is on your list?"
December 6: On National Salesperson’s Day, keep in mind that the customer today often knows the market as well as the salesperson. Be prepared.
December 7: Don't get so busy that you stop making phone calls to customers for wish lists, one-year jewelry tune-ups, etc. If someone's been on their feet for hours and needs a break, send them to the back office to start making those calls.
December 8: Make sure you and all your staff are aware of your cut-off dates for accepting repairs and special orders. Stick to it even if it means turning down a sale — better that than not to be able to fulfill it. (And if it just has absolutely, positively has to be fixed, note your "emergency service" charge and split the cash with your jewelers.)
December 9: Be sure to drop handwritten notes in customers' bags. Keep it short: "It was a lot of fun serving you today ... I think your gift is going to be a big hit!" It shouldn't take more than 30 seconds per sale, but it will leave a lasting impression.
December 10: The word is that those with money are being a little bit shy about splashing in public. Note on your fliers to your best customers that you can organize private visits to show jewelry to customers.
December 11: Refresh your window displays. Move things around and highlight different categories in your windows (especially those beads and other key price point jewelry). To window shoppers, it sends the message that you have a wide range of merchandise that is moving quickly.
December 12: Double check every piece and pane of case glass to see that it is sparkling. Don't let smudges sow seeds of doubt in your customers' minds.
December 13: Remember, you can't praise too much. It's the No 1 way to guide your employees' work patterns. "Loved the way you helped make up her mind."
December 14: Take a big ad in the local paper to let everyone know you are working hard and long. List your hours. Give them dominant play on your website.
December 15: Ensure your employees know what you're advertising, so when a customer comes in asking for the ring they saw in the newspaper Saturday, your salesperson knows what they're talking about.
December 16: Try this motivational trick: Keep five coins in your right pocket and transfer them to your left pocket each time you praise someone. By the end of the day, all the coins should be in your right pocket.
December 17: Stay on top of your vendors. Timely delivery is critical right now. Expedite, expedite, expedite.
December 18: Each day tack a bunch of sealed envelopes up on your bulletin board with labels like “Most Add-Ons”, “Highest Dollar-Value Single Sale” and “Highest Ticket Sale”. Each day’s winner gets the envelope and the prize inside.
December 19: Stress add-on sales: “So, who else is on your gift list?”
December 20: This is the time when store legends are made. Splash the cash on little gestures such as orders of primo coffee or an extra generous pizza takeout order. The goodwill generated by acts of recognition of your staff’s hard work will carry through in the year that follows.
December 21: Who says you have to be in the North or in the mountains to enjoy a white Christmas season? On the first day of winter, could you do something like llyn strong fine jewelry in Greenville SC, and bring snow to your flake-starved community? As the holiday season reaches its peak, (manufactured) snow blows from above-the-store residence creating a beautiful winter wonderland. Children flock from every corner of Greenville to frolic in the snow while their parents are welcomed into the cider-scented store to shop and enjoy a Yule-appropriate drink.
December 22: This is desperation time for shoppers. They don't want to see your great selection or your more experimental buys, they just want a gift that can't miss. Your hot sellers must have center state in all your displays now.
December 23: No one leaves the store empty-handed. Provide a calendar, fridge magnet or store-branded lip balm to get that crucial customer data. Data input can wait, but collection can’t. You won’t have this much traffic for another year.
December 24: The finish line is almost within reach. On Christmas Eve, suck it up, put on your best retailer’s face and make sure you have a game plan in place for those last-minute panic buyers. They have become increasingly important in recent years.
December 25: Merry Christmas! Your gift? A well-earned day off. Spend the rest of the day with your family and enjoy the chance to start regaling them with your best holiday-season True Tales. (And don’t forget to eventually include us in the telling as well.)
December 26: The day after Christmas is a lot of things — Boxing Day, the start of Kwanzaa, Thank-you Day and the beginning of Returns Week, National Whiners Day — which probably has something to do with the fact that, according to ShopperTrak, it’s regularly the seventh-busiest shopping day of the year.
December 27: Say it three times: Returns are good, returns are ... Yep, return week is upon us. Handle it well and those customers will return too.
December 28: Figure out which inventory failed to live up to expectations and needs to go. It's post-Christmas sales time. A certain class of customer has been waiting all year for this. (Actually, this goes for you too: It's the right time to get cheap Christmas decorations for next year.)
December 29: Today is “Tick Tock Day,” held in honor of clockmakers. No, not really — it’s to remind you that time is running out to get things done this year. Knock off one or two of those important but not urgent things that have been loitering on your to-do list.
December 30: Send out thank-you cards to every customer, even those who just bought a battery. For your best customers, make follow-up calls. "So, how did it go?" If not well, tell them to come in and take advantage of your exchange policy.
December 31: And whatever you don’t get done by New Year’s Eve, don’t sweat it, there’s all of next year. Take out your journal and jot down all the things you achieved in 2013, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant. Read it again tomorrow when you draw up your New Year’s resolutions.
November 1: According to a recent Harris Interactive poll, more than one-third of consumers now start the buying process by logging on to a computer, followed by a store visit and conversations with friends. For the holiday season, that online gift search often begins this week. Make sure your website is ready, running smoothly and all information up to date. Highlight your best gift ideas to keep browsers on your homepage.
November 2: Separate studies show that men buy holiday gifts in December but often make their decisions in November. Adjust your approach to men accordingly. They're not just browsing, they're deciding. For women customers, your holiday newsletter should be in their hands before Thanksgiving.
November 3: As the nation prepares to fall back one hour today with the end of Daylight Saving, everyone’s attention will turn to his or her timepiece. Seize the opportunity to get watch-lovers in your store. Invite customers to come in and have their watches reset and polished for free. If you have an ultrasonic cleaner offer to give their metal watchstraps a quick run-through. Don’t have cleaning facilities? Hold a Facebook competition in which you ask customers what they are going to do for that extra hour.
November 4: Clean up your direct-mail marketing lists. Cut the “least valuable” 10 percent and e-mail them instead.
November 5: Why put it off? Begin pre-cutting wrapping paper for all ring, bracelet, earring, pendant and watch boxes.
November 6: Part-timers asking the same questions over and over because they weren’t trained on basics can drive you to drink. Come up with the most common things that go wrong and prepare answers. “Where’s the POS receipt paper?” “What happens if the cc authorization goes down?” Answer all of that now so you don’t have to when you are slammed.
November 7: Update your website with seasonal elements and start highlighting gift suggestions. Send early-bird holiday shopping e-mail.
November 8: Set separate cut-off dates for special orders, deliveries and appraisals. Make sure every member of staff knows them — there's nothing worse than promising something you can't deliver.
November 9: Didn’t get around to cleaning all your jewelry? Try doing what Goldworks in Chapel Hill, NC, does: they keep a steam cleaner in their diamond ring area, so staff can quickly steam the stones when they take them out to show.
November 10: Your best sellers in October and November are most likely to be the key items that will drive your business in December. Hold a private client sale to get the season going, and clear slow sellers.
November 11: Veterans Day. We know of a few stores that offer 10 percent discounts to service personnel. We don’t encourage price-cutting but this time we’ll make an exception. Publicize your offer.
November 12: Holiday preparations should be complete. Now it’s “just do it” time. Start calling wish-list customers, clearing layaways, and mailing out all those envelopes with holiday cards and special offers.
November 13: Study your parking lot. Devise and publicize a policy on staff parking. What do you do if a car needs to be towed?
November 14: Stick up a sign that reads “Repairs Will Be Ready On __” and then update the new date daily. (Charge a premium for express service.)
November 15: Hold short staff meetings every day, to keep everyone informed on your progress these holidays. Lay on some snacks, do what you can to boost morale and end the meetings on an upbeat note. Stories of bad shopping experiences proliferate at this time of the year, especially at big-box retailers. Make sure your staff know this is a chance for your store to stand out with its excellent service.
November 16: Start feeding holiday songs into the store line-up. At first, aim for every fourth song, and then over the next six weeks slowly increase the rotation.
November 17: Work those wish lists. Every moment of downtime your staff has, they should be on the phone inviting wish-listers or their significant others to visit your store.
November 18: You and your staff should start soon on your own holiday shopping to get it out of the way. Have business cards for your store handy so you can hand them out to the people you meet.
November 19: You've set repair deadlines. Now put up a sign that reads "Repairs Will Be Ready On ..." and then update the new date daily. (You can also charge a premium for express services.).
November 20: Shoppers are likely to be cautious this year, which hopefully means a late rush on retailers. Adjust your marketing to reflect this. Remind yourself to call your local newspaper and ask if they have any cheap "remnant space" available late in the season.
November 21: Set up a “data mine” (a tissue box under the counter will do) for business cards. Sales people get a buck for every name card that goes in there. E-mail addresses are crucial.
November 22: Set up a “data mine” (a tissue box under the counter will do) for business cards. Sales people get a buck for every name card that goes in there. E-mail addresses are crucial.
November 23: Find “guilt-easing” gift ideas to go with gift cards or certificates. For bigger certificate amounts, have a “real” gift — like Belgian chocolates or a bottle of wine — close at hand that you can bundle in free.
November 24: Ensure your hot sellers are up front and center. At this time of year, shoppers are looking more for “sure things” than an experience.
November 25: Each morning pick a “favorite item of the day,” urges sales trainer Shane Decker. Hold it up in your morning sales meeting: it can be the “wow” item of the day. Whoever sells it gets a 20 percent spiff for the day.
November 26: Holiday-party season is here. Consider offering "loaner jewelry" to your best customers. You'll need to work out the insurance aspects beforehand.
November 27: Close the store early on the day before Thanksgiving for a decorating party. Order in some pizza and maybe a little wine, crank up the tunes and make it fun. Consider letting employees bring their kids in to help.
November 28: Eat, drink, enjoy, Rest.
November 29: It’s showtime! This is what you’ve been waiting for all year. Black Friday marks the traditional start of the shopping season and is often — and usually erroneously — cited as the busiest day of the year for retailers. Work hard, work smart, keep your cool and be sure to take time to praise those working beside you.
November 30: The big chains have Black Friday, the online giants Cyber Monday, but today — Small Business Saturday — is all yours, your 15 minutes in the spotlight in a crowded holiday season. Start by going to smallbusinesssaturday.com and checking out the resources available (there are newsletters to sign up to, sample social media posts, free online banners and logos and customizable signage and more).
October 1: The range of activities as part of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month makes it a particularly good fit for jewelers. So, get involved with a community fund-raiser, create a line of bracelets or necklaces inspired by the pink ribbon theme, co-sponsor a local fun run, give a percentage of the profit from a special sale event to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation ... the options are almost endless.
October 2: Layaways are making a comeback as consumers sought to control their spending. Introduce, revive or ramp up marketing for your layaway program.
October 3: Cut loose any ineffective or problematic employees. You want your best lineup in place by Nov. 1.
October 4: Set your repair and custom-work cutoff date for the holidays. Put it on a sign behind the counter. Publish it in your ads.
October 5: Shoppers are going to be looking for cheap sources of gifts this year. See if there's a holiday gift show planned for your neighborhood. Might be a good way to ring up some costume jewelry sales.
October 6: Get ready for holiday objections. Prepare responses to customers who say they are "really feeling the pinch from the economy" or who "saw it on Blue Nile for less."
October 7: Holiday checklist: Begin cleaning all jewelry. Make sure that price tickets are up to date and legible. Count all packaging and boxes and other wrapping supplies.
October 8: Finalize work schedules for the last 10 weeks of the year. Check your staff's holiday-season obligations and work around any clashes. Identify the peak hours and ensure your best salespeople will be on the floor.
October 9: Run your security drills. Check the JSA for updates. Alert your staff to be on the lookout for pickpockets, distraction gangs and other sneak thieves. Sadly, your staff is potentially your biggest threat. Do a complete physical inventory before the end of the month.
October 10: Inventory wrapping supplies. Shop wholesale markets for holiday decorations.
October 11: Meet with your accountant to discuss 2014 tax strategy.
October 12: Accept all invitations to parties, open houses and mixers. Check your stock of business cards. What compelling offers do these little billboards make?
October 13: Need to quickly move slow-moving inventory to make space for holiday bestsellers? Consider a store event with a “Dutch auction”: The price starts high and then descends, and the piece goes to the first bidder.
October 14: Regardless of what Kmart says, Columbus Day is the more or less official opening of the pre-holiday pre-sale season. Send a note to your local paper offering your services as a source on the subject of Christmas gifts.
October 15: Get proactive with setting appointments. Call wish-list customers and other regulars to let them know about any new inventory.
October 16: Today is Dictionary Day, held to celebrate Noah Webster’s birthday in 1758 (yes, that “Webster” of dictionary fame.) Mark the occasion with a lexicography lesson: Word of the day is “amortization,” which arises from the Latin term for “gradual extinguishment,” and is often applied to the life of loans. If you’ve got a business loan, search “amortization calculator” on Google and work out how much you might save if you restructured your debt.
October 17: Focus training strategies on how to handle customers who “need to check with their wife first,” who say their mortgage is tying up their finances or who “saw it on Blue Nile for less.”
October 18: If you’re the boss, schedule more time on the sales floor, urges sales trainer Shane Decker. “Too many managers spend too much time in an office and not on the floor,” he says. People want to meet the boss.
October 19: Set yourself a goal to sell one additional diamond a week compared with last year. Mark it up on the wall and keep everyone focused on the target.
October 20: Unveil your sales spiff of the year. Pull the curtain back on a three-day bed and breakfast - the perfect getaway for your top-performing salesperson after a grueling holiday season.
October 21: Hold a “Deer Widow” sale. If you’re in one of the areas where a lot of hunting takes place, hold a special sale for women whose partners have gone off to shoot animals.
October 22: Haven’t got the time or manpower to manage a full social media campaign? Try offering a simple “deal of the day” (or week) to get people excited about special, time-limited offers. Update your Facebook page or Twitter feed twice a day with information about the deals.
October 23: Hold a special meeting with staff to discuss political issues that could come up this holiday season, such as diamond mining practices or fair trade. Ensure everyone understands and can communicate the store line.
October 24: Temporary staff members should be trained and in place by the beginning of November.
October 25: Your major holiday advertising should be complete by the end of October.
October 26: Walk through your store as if it were the first time. What do you notice first? Are you being pulled in certain directions? How is the try-on experience in terms of lighting and mirrors? Fix anything that could hurt the in-store experience.
October 27: Does your store have a coat check? Look into setting one up now — it will definitely make customers more comfortable.
October 28: What kind of gift is appropriate for Mother-in-Laws Day? It sounds like a setup for a stand-up comedian (a witch’s hat, a one-way ticket to ...), but your customers are better than that — and if they’re not you’ll have to remind them. Put up some signs, maybe a pearl display, mention it on your website. Urge your customers to say thanks to the MIL for their help with the kids and general good humor.
October 29: Start tinkering with your price strategy. Double-check you’re well-stocked in the price-points you sell most. Consider how you can take advantage of the holiday season to move pieces that are showing their age.
October 30: Are you a custom jeweler? Start working on your wife or husband’s Christmas present. Getting it out of the way now will save you from the panic at a later, more critical time in the season.
October 31: Halloween, or All Hallows’ Eve, has its roots in ancient celebrations that combined Druid autumn festivals with Christian customs. Today it’s a great way to have fun and lower the threshold factor with customers. Throw a “monster” sale, dispense candy, and get a crowd in to peruse the real treats — in your cases.
September 3: Change that old summer window display. Make a commitment to change your window at least once a month. A recent Cool Store owner told us they change their display every single day. Record the changes — see what works.
September 4: It's time to shift up a gear on your holiday-season preparations: Rev up the training schedule and begin brainstorming on your marketing campaign.
September 5: Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week begins in NYC. Keep abreast of fashion trends for next spring.
September 6: Do six-month employee reviews (March and September).
September 7: Grandparents Day is tomorrow. Special offers for elders and their families?
September 8: Fall trunk shows are coming up fast. You should have your vendors booked; now is a good time to follow up and confirm details. Do you do another autumn event (charity do, men's or ladies night)? Start planning. Ensure there are no conflicts with community or school calendars. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday are the best days for a large turnout for a party and 5-7 p.m. the best hours.
September 9: One in six Americans is now Hispanic yet many retailers still seem uncertain about how to best approach this important and influential demographic. National Hispanic Heritage Month is your chance to change that. While Hispanic jewelry-shopping habits share much with the general market (mostly driven by birthdays, anniversaries, self-purchases) there are also unique occasions, like the Quinceañera, (when a girl turns 15), which are a prime opportunity for jewelry sales. Mother’s Day also tends to be a much bigger occasion — jewelers in Latino communities often refer to Mother’s Day as the second Christmas.
September 10: Start the search for your holiday hires. This will give you time to train them and see if they are going to work out. If it looks like they won't, you'll still have time to find replacements. Tell your permanent employees that this is their last chance to use vacation time before the busy season starts.
September 11: In the past we've urged you to test holiday-season coffee and cookie offerings on staff. This year, why not invite your best customers in to help you choose the edible goodies you serve.
September 12: Live in a state where hunting is a favorite sport? Start preparing for your "Hunting Widow" sale at the end of this month or next month.
September 13: Unlucky Friday: Avoid black cats, broken mirrors, ladders, you know the drill. People who suffer from friggatriskaidekaphobia are actually afraid of this day. Offer them a discount, why don’t you? Life is tough.
September 14: If you've used paper certificates in previous years, consider more substantial gift cards this year. The response rate can double with the right parameters and materials.
September 15: Review client purchase histories so you'll be able to make the best possible recommendations when you contact clients or they come to visit.
September 16: Wish lists will be one of your most important tools this holiday season. Brainstorm ways to get them into your customer's hands. Theme should be that gift budgets are not wasted on unwanted presents this year.
September 17: Meet with your CPA and discuss a strategy for 2014. The Obama administration has brought in a host of small-business tax breaks. Are you taking advantage of them?
September 18: Review shipment due dates and confirm/change as needed. Assess your fast turners and “never outs.”
September 19: Assess supplies of boxes, ribbon and wrapping paper and order as needed.
September 20: Start sending out regular e-mails to keep customers up to date on new lines and specials. Begin to mention the holidays. A long-term conversation is far superior to a mad spamming campaign in the 10 days before Christmas.
September 21: Look to see if there’s a holiday gift show in your area. It’s a good way to pump up your early-holiday season sales. These are popular in many areas. See if there’s one near you by Googling the phrase “holiday gift show.”
September 22: How did your layaway program go last year? Start marketing it as the “smart alternative” to credit.
September 23: If you don’t hold regular store meetings, make it a habit starting this week. Such sessions keep everyone on the same page when it comes to your marketing, give you the chance to motivate staff, provide last-minutes sales and security tips, and address any other areas of concern.
September 24: Want to refurbish or repaint your old cases reasonably cheaply and creatively? Hire fine arts students from a local college to help you add special finishes, and even to repair cases.
September 25: During National Coupon Month, investigate service providers such as Pocket Deals, getgomobi.com, Yowza and Coupon Sherpa to see how you might be able to entice nearby shoppers into your store with a digital offer.
September 26: Volunteer to be the voice of the small business community — there are meeting halls and newspaper column inches to be filled.
September 27: Good economy or bad, Americans aren't about to break too radically with their credit habit. Talk to vendors about establishing an in-house financing program.
September 28: Get warmed up for the busy season with an autumn promotion — perhaps a joint fall-fashion promotion with a clothing retailer.
September 29: Next month has two official birthstones, opal and tourmaline. Twice the promotional opportunities?
September 30: October is "Right-hand ring month," so begin looking at Jewelry.com to see what ideas DPS has to help you market these pieces.
August 1: The months before Christmas are a good time to experiment with a few new design lines. See June's INSTORE style feature for fresh styles to introduce to your customers.
August 2: August could be your last chance this year to take a decent vacation. Wherever you go — the sea, plains or the mountains — be sure to leave your business papers behind.
August 5: Today is National Smile Day. As a team, do a little grin practice. The key: make sure the eyes are smiling as well.
August 6: Yesterday we worked on your smile. Today we work on what's behind the smile. Namely, your breath. On National Fresh Breath Day, make sure your staff's sales pitches smell as sweet as they sound.
August 7: Finalize your fall open-to-buy and scour the fashion and trade mags for product ideas to be ready for the last big trade shows of the year.
August 8: Do you know what the must-have items are for high school kids this year? The teen market is huge and often overlooked. At the very least, look into preparing some back-to-school bead specials.
August 9: Only two weeks left before The SMART Jewelry Show Dallas. Stock up on great products and smart ideas for the holiday season. Register here.
August 12: If your "dogs" have withstood sales and spiffs, give some thought to an inventory buyer — they are usually the easiest way to turn illiquid stock into cash (but they will also likely yield the lowest return).
August 13: Digital security project: there's a good chance you've got some personal data floating around one or more websites you no longer use. Clean up your digital profile by closing down those accounts.
August 14: Get your store in shape for the busy holiday season. This week, start on those time-consuming drudge jobs — cutting gift-wrap paper, creating ribbons, cleaning up mailing lists and so on.
August 15: Are you offering jewelry financing to your customers? Investigate the options offered by GE or AGS with Wells Fargo.
August 16: Spend time on YouTube searching for training material. Jeffrey Gitomer, Tony Schwartz, David Allen, Tony Robbins, they are all there. All free. Share the best ones.
August 19: Grandparents Day (Sunday, Sept. 8) is mostly a “Hallmark” date but consumers are feeling more family-oriented this year. What can you do?
August 20: On Men’s Grooming Day, team up with a local upscale hairdresser for men. Print up gift cards for them to hand out offering $50 in free store credit to be used with any of your men’s jewelry.
August 21: Launch “Project Big Shot.” Start making contact with local personalities: newscasters, society figures, sports people, to see if they are interested in borrowing your jewelry during the festive season.
August 22: Start booking speaking slots this fall at local business organizations where you can give your "Four C's" speech and share your store's USP (Unique Selling Proposition).
August 23: The SMART Show Dallas (Aug. 24-26) starts with a day of education today. Football legend Deion Sanders speaks tomorrow (Aug. 24).
August 26: Serious holiday-season planning starts. Review sales data of the last 18 months to see if you can identify any significant new price points or trends.
August 27: Media outlets, from local newspapers to blogs, prepare gift guides to help their readers with holiday ideas. Find out the deadline for these guides (for magazines it is often as early as six months out) and start pitching some suggestions. Your custom design service could be one.
August 28: Make a list of unproductive projects, policies or products that you should consider killing. Solicit nominations from your staff.
August 29: Create an incentive to motivate lapsed customers to get them back in the store. If it’s been a year or more, ask why they were gone so long. Whatever they tell you will be useful.
August 30: Focus on high-ticket items. The recession is over but many sales staff are still assuming customers can’t afford expensive items.
July 1: We take no satisfaction in reminding you of this, but 2013 no longer is a new year. At noon today, the first half of the year will give way to the important business half. Get out your journal or your meeting minutes from January and see what you had planned for 2013. It will be slow for a bit longer, but if you’re going to achieve those goals you’ll have to get busy soon.
July 2: Nope, the Fourth of July is not regarded as a prime jewelry-selling opportunity. But it could be a great relationship-building opportunity — how about holding a barbecue, or even chartering a boat to take your customers out to see the fireworks?
July 3: Create fashion jewelry islands around the store to highlight that costume jewelry you got in for the summer months.
July 4: Your business will be valuable to a potential buyer only if it can run successfully without you. Schedule a few days in July to step back and think strategically. Ask customers, friends and neighbors for their opinions of your store. Don’t get defensive if they fault certain aspects of your service.
July 5: Schedule regular appraisal and repair clinics in the slow summer months for those customers who love jewelry for the handiwork involved.
July 8: Pick two or three things you want every customer to experience in the store, and talk to staff about how to expose clients to these areas.
July 9: Do you have customers who have disappeared since the Great Recession? Get in touch with any clients who have not bought from you in the past two years and find out why (sensitivity required). Even answers like “you’re too expensive” will be helpful. Create an incentive to motivate lapsed customers to visit you again.
July 10: Design a postcard for Grandparents’ Day (Sept. 8) with one special offer. Direct your customer to go to your website for special promotions.
July 11: Don’t let any more great ideas get away. Try an app like Evernote (Evernote.com). It works with nearly every computer, phone and mobile device.
July 12: Make a sign listing all the services you offer: watch and jewelry repairs, appraisals, custom jewelry design, gift wrapping, engraving, sunglass repair. Highlight them on your website too.
July 15: The Teen Choice Awards are on this Sunday (July 21), giving you a chance to cultivate some awareness among your next generation of customers. Promote affordable jewelry based on what is worn by the young celebrities on the red carpet. Mention it in your social media channels.
July 16: Discuss how to use company stories during sales presentations. Highlight how selling yourself and your store is just as important as selling the merchandise.
July 17: If you haven’t visited for a while, log on to instoremag.com and spend some time at our constantly improving website — more news, advice and dialog than ever, and lots of archived material as well.
July 18: Check all gemological testing equipment to make sure it’s calibrated properly.
July 19: In a mall? Ask management what initial plans they have for the holidays. If they have none, urge them to get proactive.
July 22: Seek out novelty: Your brain loves new experiences and sensations, which help it continue to build neural connections for work and life.
July 23: Try doing something outdoorsy for a change — maybe a tent sale or even a sidewalk sale for cheaper items.
July 24: Make a commitment this month to really listen to your staff verbally interact on the sales floor. Listen to the questions they are asking customers, product-knowledge statements, and their “tests” to ease the closing of a sale.
July 25: Midweek, go to a neighboring city to see how they sell jewelry there. Catch a train or bus to free your mind to think about things. Include a nice meal to reward yourself.
July 26: Master “trick packaging” — gift wrapping that makes the recipient think they’re getting something else. It’s a great way to build relationships with gift buyers.
July 29: Go through finished repairs for jobs that haven’t been picked up. And then the day before payday, call the owners and suggest they come and pick up the piece (while they’ve still got the cash.)
July 30: Shorten any information forms you distribute either in-store or on your website. You don’t really need much more than a name, phone number and email address.
July 31: Start planning your fall advertising campaign. Contact vendors and make arrangements for holiday-season trunk shows.
June 30: You are now halfway through the year — it’s evaluation time. You need to make tough decisions now on non-performers, and non-contributors as you still have time to hire and train replacements before the holidays hit.
June 29: Begin the annual facelift of your website; contract a vendor to finalize work no later than October. Two big things to look out for: Super-clear images and ease of use. Review your SEO terms.
June 28: Everybody needs something to read on the beach this summer. Why not buy your staff books on selling? (Slip in a marking pen and tell them to go to town on those pristine pages.)
June 27: July is on the horizon, which means rubies. There’s never a better time to bring out the red, white and blue.
June 26: Need any new office furniture? Now is the time to pick some up; showrooms are making room for new lines that come out in August.
June 25: It’s been six months since Christmas. Ask holiday-season customers to bring in their jewelry for a free checkup.
June 23: Invite 10 customers to form an advisory panel for your store, recommends store trainer Kate Peterson. Schedule three meetings throughout the year and ask them to discuss what they’ve seen, what they like, and how they would advise you to improve and grow. “Pay” them with lunch and gift cards — and most importantly, USE what they tell you!
June 22: Summer’s here and the time is right: Do a mail-out to remind customers about your backroom services in summer. Check that you have the supplies you need to support such a service including specialty tissue to protect sterling from tarnishing and gold/platinum from scratching; plastic bags to retard tarnishing from air contact; flannels for outer protection; and adhesive-style plastic for immobilization for shipping, white gloves for staff when they take in items.
June 21: Randy “The Natural” Couture was still fighting into his late 40s, Mick Jagger, now only weeks away from his 70th birthday, is still singing, and Calvin Klein still reaches for his hair gel each morning. If there is one thing that unites all these members of the Baby Boom generation, it is that they don’t want to go into their golden years quietly. On Baby Boomers Recognition Day, here are a few other things to keep in mind when working out your marketing mix:
June 20: The sun dawdles, business slows, and thoughts turn to that cabin you once hired on the lake. For the ambitious jeweler, however, the first day of summer is just chance to focus on growing your business. Trunk shows, graduation season, engagement ring sales — there’s much that can be done (although if you want to do it well, make sure you DO grab some time to recharge)
June 19: We couldn’t let the 390th anniversary of French mathematician Pascal Blaise pass by without citing our favorite Sun King-era profundity: All man’s miseries can be attributed to the fact that he can’t sit still in a room.
June 18: Halfway point of the year means staff evaluations. Make tough decisions now on non-performers, and you'll still have time to hire and train replacements before the holidays hit.
June 17: According to online gift registry site Giftopia, some $2 billion of the $10 billion spent on Father’s Day comes back as returns or is essentially consigned to the back of the closet, never to be used. Alarm your customers with this factoid, while also presenting your store as a source for Dad’s Day gifts that will be cherished and USED for years to come. Start with your cuff links, which in recent years have gone from being a gift of least imagination to one that shows an appreciation for design and wit.
June 16: Don’t forget that wedding season is also anniversary season. Your ads should get male customers thinking about buying jewelry as an anniversary present for their wives this month.
June 15: Get back in touch with those new friends you made in Vegas. Could you do a memo swap of your poor performers to a jewelry store in a non-competing market? Different area, different tastes, who knows?
June 14: It’s now 15 years since those confident young women of “Sex and the City” made their first appearance on the airwaves. Mark the date by inviting the self-purchasing Carries, Samanthas and Charlottes on your database to a SATC theme event in your store. It’s a great chance to get rid of any horseshoe necklaces, flower pins, lever-back earrings or stackable bracelets that are starting to show their age. If your target audience is a bit younger, you may want to just watch the last episode of “Girls” and prepare some talking points instead.
June 13: If you’ve never done it before, start researching how to sell some of your oldest inventory on eBay. As eBay is widely seen as a “discount” channel you may want to use a different name for your eBay business.
June 12: With the Supreme Court schedule to rule soon on same sex marriage, Gay and Lesbian Pride Month could be an extra celebratory one this year. Do your research early to see what you can get involved in (There are activities planned in almost every city, from parades to film festivals.) The gay market is an under-appreciated one.
June 11: Have you thought about the story you tell your customers and employees about your company? A good story goes a long way toward making people feel they're part of something special. Build your own company mythology.
June 10: Schedule time for appointments with vendors. Come prepared with proposals to promote the designer’s collections in your store. That will make you very popular.
June 9: It’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s a ... septuagenarian! On Superman’s 75th birthday (well, the 75th anniversary of his debut in the 1938 June issue of Action Comics #1) hold a “Super” store event to celebrate. Your staff gets to wear Clark Kent glasses and every customer gets a free sample of kryptonite. (It’s more formally known as Jadarite, but the two minerals share basically the same chemical formula.)
June 8: Get a jump on the summer bridal season. Look to partner with a local bridal boutique and arrange bridal fashion shows.
June 7: Is your store wearing pearls yet? The birthstone for June makes an ideal graduation gift.
June 6: Your ten-day countdown to Father’s Day should find your specials promoted in emails and highlighted in store displays. Set a store goal for Father’s Day with the promise of a day’s paid leave each in August if the team achieves the goal.
June 5: If you’ve been away on trade-show duty, this is the perfect time to do a sensory audit of your store. Yes, take big lungfuls of air and consider it. Does it smell fresh? Clean? Full of spring air? If not, get the carpet cleaners in, have the bathroom really scrubbed, the air conditioners serviced.
June 4: Start thinking about a summer event. Tie in the food and wine with the source of the gemstones. Become known in the community for bringing in artists or craftspeople or speakers for public events.
June 3: Why not try something different on the last day of JCK Las Vegas? Spend some time with the software manufacturers to get up to speed on what's new on the technology front. The good thing about a slowdown is that vendors have more time to talk to you.
June 2: Take in as many JCK educational shows as you can with a goal to kick some life into big-ticket diamond sales. The wedding and anniversary seasons are on their way. Be sure to bring back some fresh approaches to try this year.
June 1: Your goal at JCK Las Vegas this year is to meet people. Suppliers, designers, press, other retailers: Say hello. And have a business card ready to trade.
May 31: JCK Las Vegas starts today at Mandalay Bay Resort & Casino.
May 30: Last chance for instructions to your staff while you are in Vegas. Give ‘em a confidence boost, and maybe offer a special reward for the top-sellers while you are gone.
May 29: Although August weddings are coming on strong, June is likely to remain No. 1 for anniversaries for some time to come. Send out an offer for diamond upgrades to customers with anniversaries in the sixth month.
May 28: De-clutter work areas to prevent fires or accidents. Review and update the employees listed for travel coverage and the limits of insurance on your policy.
May 27: No matter what the calendar says, Memorial Day is the first day of summer. Is your store ready for the season?
May 26: Get that summer jewelry (toe rings, ankle bracelets, etc.) where people can see it. How about setting a little display near the front door to encourage impulse buys?
May 25: Good day for a staff conference, maybe a staff thank-you for hard work during the spring.
May 24: Wedding season is approaching. Develop a checklist of questions to use to sell additional jewelry to brides: Will the bridesmaids be wearing jewelry? Will the groomsmen need tie pins or cufflinks? If you haven't already, start making contact with potential cross-promoting partners such as wedding-dress stores, caterers, photographers.
May 23: Set up your summer work schedule. If you will need help covering during vacation time, put some feelers out for temps and part-timers.
May 22: How dutiful are you about keeping the exterior of your store in showroom shape? Take a lesson from European shopkeepers who begin each day with a little sweep of the sidewalk.
May 21: The Red Cross was founded on this date by Clara Barton. Let your staff off to give blood.
May 20: In the 50 years since President John F. Kennedy added the presidential seal of approval to National Small Business Week, it has never been cooler (or probably harder) to operate a small business. The country as a whole seems to have a better appreciation of the benefits of diversification, localization and Main Street that businesses bring to their communities (not to mention the jobs they create). In the run-up to Small Business Week, contact your local chamber of commerce or SCORE chapter to see what events they have planned for Small Business Week. (If you’re looking for ideas to attract new customers and partners, check out Constant Contact’s Small Business Week event series at www.constantcontact.com/sbw).
May 19: The school year is drawing to a close and graduation is rapidly approaching. Place “Congratulations Class of 2012” signs in your windows. See if your high school or local college has advertising options in their graduation bulletins or final editions of school newspapers.
May 18: Maybe your fixed costs are not as fixed you think. With sales activity slowing, analyze every contract — from the company that supplies the water cooler to your neighborhood banker — and look for places where you can get a cost reduction. Lease coming up? Keep an eye on traffic. It’s a good figure to wield in negotiations with your landlord.
May 17: Strap on your helmet, tuck in your trouser legs, and get up on the saddle to join the 2 million Americans who will cycle to work today as part of National Bike to Work Day. It’s about fun, fitness and clean air — and if you join your mall or business district’s organizing committee, a good networking op.
May 16: Reel in the tax rebates: Create a display of jewelry options that fall into the $100 to $500 range and promote it.
May 15: Make it a point to get your staff involved in selections for Vegas. If they're involved in picking the merchandise, they'll work harder to sell the items. Dole out the catalogs.
May 14: It’s the middle of prom season. Ask the local rent-a-tux outlet if you can display some of your jewelry on their prom dress mannequins.
May 13: You’re with a customer and your cell phone rings. You...
If you don’t know the answer, you need to brush up on your manners during National Etiquette Week, which starts today. (But of course, you knew it was C — in such cases, the person you’re with takes priority. Bottom line for etiquette — it’s not about rules, it’s about being considerate.)
May 12: Take Mom to lunch, for God’s sake.
May 11: Schedule your first postcard mail-out for Father's Day (June 16) to go out this week.
May 10: Get out your POS data to discover your best and worst sellers of the past 12 months. Build an open-to-buy based on hot sellers for the second half of the year.
May 9: Prepare a flier for that nearby business complex. Remind the resident bosses that today is National Receptionist’s Day, held to honor those manning the corporate frontlines. These loyal company foot soldiers can be desk clerks, phone operators or customer service reps. In all there are almost 900,000 of them in the U.S. Suggest some appropriate low-price-point gifts to acknowledge their contributions.
May 8: Buying Plans II: Your top performers should dominate by a margin of as much as 10 to 1 when it comes to pulling out your checkbook.
May 7: It’s National Teacher Day. How about a discount promotion for some folks who really deserve one?
May 6: Pre-Vegas clearance sales begin in earnest. Get imaginative. Which long-term resident in your vaults should earn your sales people the biggest reward? What pieces would make a suitable charity gift? Advertise that you’re clearing space for the new season’s latest designs.
May 5: Cinco de Mayo, everybody’s favorite Mexican holiday. Margueritas ready? Check.
May 4: It’s known as the most exciting two minutes in sports. Bring the fun of Churchill Downs to your store with your very own Run for the Roses. In the week before the Kentucky Derby, award play money to staff who achieve certain goals -- $5 for each add-on, $10 for biggest sale of the day, $10 for most sales over the week. On the big day, allow staff to make bets on their Derby favorites at trackside odds. You’re the bookie and get to pay out in real cash. Watch the race together (post time is 6:24 EST). Celebrate with julep and funny hats.
May 3: If it's a daughter buying for her mother, don't forget to ask her if she'd like to try on a few pieces herself "just for fun."
May 2: Ten days ‘til Mother’s Day: Is everything all set? E-mailing sent? Check. Specials positioned in a showcase just inside the front door? Check. Options bundled? Check.
May 1: Got your green on? This month’s birthstone is the emerald, and emerald green is the color of the year. Just ask Barack Obama, whose second inauguration ceremony was pretty much dominated by Beyonce’s $6 million emerald earrings.
Apr. 30: Gear up for a celebration of the emerald, May’s birthstone. Don’t forget that emerald is Pantone’s current color of the year.
Apr. 29: Today is the second wedding anniversary for Prince William and Kate Middleton. Create a photographic tribute to the jewelry collection of the Royal Family.
Apr. 28: Go interactive. Add a feature on your website that allows customers to create their dream ring. Just in time for summer engagements.
Apr. 27: Insurers don’t reward your loyalty. In fact, via premium creep, they punish it while giving new customers great deals. Shop around to see if you can get better rates elsewhere.
Apr. 26: Finalize Father’s Day watch and jewelry orders. And don’t forget anniversary jewelry — your ticket to profiting from all those June weddings of years past.
Apr. 25: Today is the 20th annual Take Our Sons and Daughters to Work Day, so show the tikes what Mom and Dad do for a living. Let them see how things are made or marketed, how problems are tackled and solved. And don’t forget to introduce them to everyone who comes in the store.
Apr. 24: Take out your notes you took during all those educational sessions at Chicago (or check Instoremag.com) and start implementing some of the “Smart” ideas.
Apr. 23: Celebrate William Shakespeare’s 449th birthday by highlighting promise rings, which appear in several of his plays.
Apr. 22: Scan your showcases. It’s time to make room for the upcoming buying season. Might also be time to look into launching that eBay account to clear those duds of yore.
Apr. 21: Choose three of the oldest items in your inventory and have your staff wear them, show them to customers and tell them why they are so special. Pay $50 or $100 to staff members who sell one.
Apr. 20: Begin training your staff to give first-time customers a “tour” of your store. This is a good way to break the ice and make newcomers feel welcome. Also establish a new rule — salespeople must walk customers who have made purchases to the door and thank them for coming.
Apr. 19: Work on cross-promotions for prom season with local dressmakers and tuxedo-renters. Start brainstorming on graduation season.
Apr. 18: If you haven’t done it yet, buy white cotton gloves for everyone to wear when they’re moving product around — they keep skin oil off jewelry and prevent sterling goods from tarnishing.
Apr. 17: Mother’s Day falls on May 12 this year. Why not celebrate with a “Mom’s Appreciation” event in your store. Cross-promote with a local salon or spa.
Apr. 16: Christie’s April 16 New York Magnificent Jewels auction is today, featuring a fabulous emerald and diamond fringe necklace by Harry Winston. Turn your store green with envy.
Apr. 15: Advertise a "Tax Day Layaway" sale. Any layaway gets 10 percent off the ticket price. One under-used (and almost always free) promotional vehicle is supermarket bulletin boards. Find ones near you and get those promo fliers posted.
Apr. 14: Get out last year’s Mother’s Day data. Compare price points with what you have in stock now. Shortlist gifts for Dad and the kids to choose from.
Apr. 13: Begin Mother’s Day Sale on your website. Wait a day and then send first promotional e-mail.
Apr. 12: It’s all about marketing as the SMART Show kicks off in Chicago. Among the featured speakers through April 15 is Martin Lindstrom, a global expert on consumerism, marketing and brands who Time called one of the most influential people in the world.
Apr. 11: Got a lot of loose pendants cluttering up your cases? Put them on a chain and display them together.
Apr. 10: Early May is Communion season. Get religious-jewelry advertisements ready.
Apr. 9: April is Aires month. Appeal to the lion’s pride with special displays and offers.
Apr. 8: Go through your jewelers’ bench and findings cabinet and melt or return findings that are more than one year old. Just like inventory, findings have TURN and AGE, and if you haven’t used it in a year you probably won’t ever, says repairs guru David Geller.
Apr. 7: Take part in a local bridal fair to get up to speed on June wedding trends and grooms’ gifts.
Apr. 6: Ask employees for their summer vacation requests. And while you’re working on a roster, book some time off for yourself.
Apr. 5: Get out last year’s Mother’s Day data. Compare price points with what you have in stock now. Shortlist gifts for Dad and the kids to choose from.
Apr. 4: Find time for a few quality minutes of conversation with staff. It’ll do wonders for their morale and give you ideas into what motivates them.
Apr. 3: It’s a slow month, so sharpen your enterprise game: Check client files to see who needs to have an appraisal updated. Send out a postcard reminder.
Apr. 2: Get serious about clearing showcase space for your June buying spree at the Vegas shows. Might also be time to look into launching that eBay account to clear those duds of seasons past. Tighten up your open to buy. Check the stock-to-sales ratios on each category and see if you can do more with less. Keep your open to buy for really opportunistic buys.
Apr. 1: Start the month off right with a clear-eyed inventory of what needs cleaning, from fixtures to products. Pay special attention to the workshop. Straighten up your bench. Everything must have its own place. Get rid of or store anything you have not used in a year. Check all gemological testing equipment.
Mar. 31: Participate in a local egg roll or hunt, offering a prize for the participant who finds the special egg of the day.
Mar. 30: Think of ways to boost your networking, show appreciation, leverage your customer list, and basically just make more personal contact with customers.
Mar. 29: The last big anniversary of the month celebrates the invention of Coca Cola in 1886. Offer customers a Coke and a smile.
Mar. 28: Hide Easter eggs around the store, at least one of which should contain a nice bracelet.
Mar. 27: Call those recently engaged ladies, send out reminders for anniversaries and semi-annual ring inspections and cleaning. It’s quiet now but the bridal months and Mother’s Day are on the way.
Mar. 26: To make sure your jewelers aren’t left twiddling their thumbs, hold a “Spring Cleaning” promotion. Invite customers to come in for a free or reduced jewelry cleaning. Include “Custom Consultations” for clients who are interested in redesigning a piece in their existing jewelry wardrobe.
Mar. 25: It’s time to get on top of all those loose diamonds you’ve accumulated lately: Sort, weigh and grade them according to your own sense of what will make a great center stone.
Mar. 24: Schedule a technician to come in to do a tune-up of your A/C. Yes it’s still cool outside but now’s the time to do a maintenance — it will save you money come summer.
Mar. 23: New season, new color scheme: Repaint your store with low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) that let you paint in the evening and return the next day to few fumes.
Mar. 22: Check your computer back-up system this week. Is it current?
Mar. 21: Study April’s birthstone, diamonds, and best ways to work price and value perceptions. Begin planning a diamond event that can be run in April.
Mar. 20: Spring is here, so what are you doing with last season’s displays still up. Collaborate with a local florist to give a tulip or crocus to every customer who come sin today.
Mar. 19: March Madness kicks off today. Clear out old inventory with a “Sheer Madness” sale.
Mar. 18: Mark down any inventory over 12 months old. Incentivize your staff with spiffs to move the product
Mar. 17: Serpentine jewelry is in this season, so build a store display around it to mark the day St. Pat cast the snakes out of Ireland.
Mar. 16: Work on your own "30-second infomercial" to use at networking events or to post on your website. Draft a statement that: 1.) describes what you do; 2.) shows that you love it; 3.) shows how you can provide solutions to people's problems, and most of all, 4.) makes people say "Tell me more!"
Mar. 15: Get creative with gift cards: Create your own store cash, or invest in higher production qualities. Keep an eye on your return on investment.
Mar. 14: Call in your personal strategy heavyweights. Set times to meet with mentors, advisers or other business professionals who help you — your lawyer, accountant, banker (especially your banker), parents, consultants. Review the "state of the company."
Mar. 13: Book your tickets and make your reservations for the SMART Jewelry Show at Navy Pier in Chicago, beginning April 12.
Mar. 12: Your best customers are your current customers. Identify your 200 top customers. Draft a plan to cater to them over the next eight months.
Mar. 11: You've been working non-stop since the holidays and March is generally not a particularly strong jewelry-buying month. Try to grab a long weekend to recharge.
Mar. 10: Daylight Savings Time kicks in today. Stage a watch promotion at prices that turn back the clock.
Mar. 9: Anniversary Number 2: Barbie is 54 today. Invite customers to bring in their fashionable little dolls, old and new, to enter a raffle drawing for a special prize.
Mar. 8: Begin researching industry buying groups. If you are not already a member, make it a goal to join at least one this year.
Mar. 7: Finalize Mother's Day (May 12) jewelry orders. Start researching potential hot sellers for Father's Day (June 16).
Mar. 6: Today marks the first of three auspicious anniversaries this month. On March 5, 1912, the first Oreo cookie went on sale. You can’t go wrong having a stash on hand for customers.
Mar. 5: Look into what promotions the World Gold Council may be planning for Gold Month in May.
Mar. 4: Update your promotional materials. Contact all your association and vendor contacts and ask for the latest brochures, stands and other point-of-purchase materials.
Mar. 3: Update your promotional materials. Contact all your association and vendor contacts and ask for the latest brochures, stands and other point-of-purchase materials.
Mar. 2: Every day for the entire month, have each salesperson pick a different item in your inventory that he or she will show to at least one customer that day. Switching each day allows your staff to become more and more familiar with your inventory. Give a small reward for any sales made of chosen items.
Mar. 1: Get the jump on St. Patrick’s Day (March 17) with a “Wearing of the Green” promotion on your website. Invite customers to ferret out that “wee pot of gold” in the bottom of their jewelry case and exchange it for cash.
Feb. 28: There’s no one correct way to arrange the information on a profit-and-loss statement. If you have trouble easily understanding yours, ask your accountant to arrange the information so you can tell instantly what went right (or wrong) in the previous month.
Feb. 27: From here on out, things start to slow. Identify your top customers and make yearlong plans targeting them.
Feb. 26: Go out and shop a competitor this week, or send a salesperson to do it.
Feb. 25: Begin preparations for Mother’s Day and graduation season. Start researching hot sellers. Take a good look at your bridal jewelry case. Could you modernize it, add new props? Look for a bridal fair to attend.
Feb. 24: Check out the jewelry fashions at the Oscars tonight. Whatever they’re wearing, you will see copies almost immediately.
Feb. 23: Want to reach the high-end customers in your community? Golf season is coming fast. Sign up at the local country club and start hitting the links for a year that's way more than par for the course.
Feb. 22: Examine your in-store signs. Are they friendly? Are they memorable? If they’re not both, begin the process of changing them.
Feb. 21: Type your store’s name into Google (omit the apostrophe if you have one, such as in Jameson’s, because that’s what your customers will do). If your store’s website appears “below the fold” (where people have to scroll down to see it), you’ve got work to do. First up, join the conversation: Reply to any positive review posts on Yelp or Yahoo. Consider a blog or Twitter account to raise activity.
Feb. 20: This is a good time to broaden your business and gemological skills. Check out what courses GIA and JA are offering. Can you send your jeweler somewhere to sharpen his skills?
Feb. 19: Call a local glass company to come to your store an get that scratched showcase glass replaced. The scratches make it look like you don’t care about your merchandise.
Feb. 18: Set up a “clientelling” program to keep in touch with your best customers. While just over 25 percent of a jeweler’s business comes from the big holidays, the rest comes from milestone events like anniversaries and birthdays. Jewelers with good customer records can call their clients to remind them that they have “just the thing” for an upcoming life-cycle event.
Feb. 17: Marketing Valentine's is done and dusted. Adjust content to showcase products appropriate for self-purchasers. Begin preparations for Mother's Day and graduation season. And don't forget self purchasers — they buy throughout the year.
Feb. 16: Check the websites of online florists to see if they’ve got any cheap stock left over from V-Day. You could get a jump on spring with fresh flowers in the store.
Feb. 15: Send a thank-you e-mail to all customers who took advantage of you Valentine’s Day offer.
Feb. 14: Promote yourself as the “last refuge” for forgetful males who still haven’t bought a gift.
Feb. 13: If your fiscal year ends in December, you should have your financial statements finalized by Feb. 28.
Feb. 12: Ruth Mellergaard of design firm GRID 3 says she is amazed how often she enters a store and finds lights that have burned out and not been replaced. “If fluorescent isn’t working because the ballast is broken, repair it. This could be your chance to be more energy-efficient,” she says.
Feb. 11: Reinforce the need for sales presentations to highlight the emotional aspects of jewelry-buying. V-Day is a straight emotional play.
Feb. 10: Announce your big spiff for the salesperson who sells the most “jewelry for friends” for Valentine’s.
Feb. 9: Check with your bank to see if they offer payroll assistance. Many banks now provide a service that allows you to log onto their website and enter your workers’ hours. The bank then makes a direct deposit into employees’ checking account as well as paying your federal and state withholding taxes.
Feb. 8: E-mail reminder: “Six days left ’til Valentine’s Day!” List your top 10 ideas for gifts.
Feb. 7: Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week runs from Feb. 7-14. Assign a staffer who loves fashion to keep up with the news and ask her to prepare a report for your sales staff. Discuss how these trends translate to the jewelry you have in stock.
Feb. 6: Finalize advertising print placements for Valentine’s week.
Feb. 5: Send press releases to local media outlets spotlighting “What’s going to be hot for the day of love.”
Feb. 4: Feb. 14 falls on a Thursday this year. Review your “last-minute panic-buying” strategy. Prepare a shortlist of popular items at different price points for male customers.
Feb. 3: Segment your e-mails by gender. The message for men is: We are your V-Day solution
Feb. 2: OK, here we go again (and again, and again…). It’s Groundhog Day, and that celebrated if unreliable meteorologist Punxsutawney Phil will emerge today to predict if winter might meet an early end. “It’s Groundhog Day. Specials at 2011 prices!”
Feb. 1: Decorate your store and reorganize your cases for Valentine’s Day. Aim for fun, not schlocky. Scatter some cupids in your cases, a few touches of red and pink here and there.
Jan. 31: February is the second strongest engagement month, thanks to Valentine’s Day. Sure, keep a good stock of heart-shaped pendants and earrings but don’t let your V-Day displays drown out your bridal. That’s where the big money is.
Jan. 30: Update your in-store music selections with the help of your customers. Solicit their nominations and give a CD to those whose favorites you select.
Jan. 29: Oprah Winfrey’s birthday is a good occasion for a “Favorite Things” promotion. Google her FT selections of recent years and highlight merchandise that measures up.
Jan. 28: It’s jewelry show season at various sunny spots around the nation. Today, the International Gem and Jewelry Show kicks off in Fort Lauderdale, which is just a tax-deduction away.
Jan. 27: Today is National Chocolate Cake Day, according to the folks who designate such things. Invite customers in for a slice – who can resist? -- and a look at your Valentine’s specials.
Jan. 26: Launch a Saturday sales contest: Beat the Boss. Sell more than the boss, get a reward.
Jan. 25: Not quite a century ago, in 1915, Alexander Graham Bell had that famous transcontinental phone conversation with his assistant in San Francisco. Maybe this is the day to push those bejeweled cell phone cases.
Jan. 24: A Great Britain psychologist has calculated – with an actual formula --that this is the most depressing day of the year. Defy the odds. Equip the staff with smile buttons and push the good cheer.
Jan. 23: The garnet is a tricky stone to market, admittedly, but it’s this month’s birthstone for another week, and the Ancients loved them – red garnets were the most commonly used gemstones in the Late Antique Roman World.
Jan. 22: Be sure to showcase popular Valentine items on your homepage — with a special emphasis on items that are exclusive to your store. You may even want to create a Valentine's Day link that shows all your Valentine's items on one page.
Jan. 21: Martin Luther King Day. Give some thought to mounting an American Heroes display.
Jan. 20: Inauguration Day. Give thanks that anybody still wants this job.
Jan. 19: Super Bowl Sunday is Feb. 3. What have you got planned?
Jan. 18: As markdown stock moves, don't be tempted by the slow economy to cut back on your re-orders. Empty case space looks bad and hurts staff morale. You don't want it to look like a distress sale.
Jan. 17: Do a physical inventory. Check with your insurer to make sure your inventory is current with what's listed on your policy. While you've got your stock out, steam and ultrasonic the lot (get all those holiday fingerprints off!)
Jan. 16: Send the local newspaper's business desk a story idea about what you see for the year ahead for luxury goods or for small businesses.
Jan. 15: Finalize your Valentine’s Day promotions. How about a men’s night? If you’re planning an event near V-Day, invitations or direct mail should be sent out no later than Feb. 1. Consider placing an order for red roses via an Internet service now — it’ll save you money. And don’t forget a bouquet for your spouse.
Jan. 14: Pledge to be a better boss in 2011. Ask your employees for their birthdays and those of their children. (Any gifts or similar gestures will win over hearts and minds.)
Jan. 13: The last symbols of winter should have been banished from your store by now. It may still be freezing outside but inside you want your customers thinking of spring. Order in fresh flowers. Be thankful that January’s flower is the cheap-as-chips carnation.
Jan. 12: Set a date to meet up with your accountant to go over your balance sheet and your financial goals for the upcoming year. While you’ve got your books out, create a monthly cash-flow projection for the coming year.
Jan. 11: Update your customer lists. Input the names you gathered over the holiday season.
Jan. 10: Oscar noms are announced this morning in Hollywood. Lay out some red carpet and invite your best customers to come in and try on your most glamorous pieces
Jan. 9: Use this time to work on strategy, reading, mentoring members of your staff, or following up on long-term opportunities that often get pushed off in the hustle of a typical day.
Jan. 8: Call up your best customers to see how their holiday gift-giving went. As for the first-timers in December, follow up with a nice-to-meet you offer. This could be a gift certificate tied to Valentine’s Day.
Jan. 7: Add a sign-up option on your website for customers to receive news, updates or promotions. Provide each employee with a personalized e-mail address for customer communications. And update the copyright date on your site to 2013.
Jan. 6: Organize a staff retreat — even if it’s just to a booth at the local pizza joint — to review the holiday sales with staff. Go over your sales, marketing campaigns, the competitions’ efforts. Analyze everything. What worked, what didn’t, what did you learn?.
Jan. 5: Ensure you’re stocked with fast sellers and that your staff is well versed in your add-on strategy. The exchange/sizing season can be a nicely profitable one when played right
Jan. 4: New Year sales don’t have to be limited to Christmas gifts. Everything that didn’t pull its weight last year should go. Make 2013 your Year of Living Ruthlessly.
Jan. 3: Ensure you're stocked with fast sellers and your add-on strategy is in place for gift-card redemptions.
Jan. 2: Complete all of those outstanding "non-rush" jobs you took in over December this week.
Jan. 1: Sleep late. Eat too much. Watch football. Recharge. You’ve just been through the busiest two months of the year. Think about scheduling a week off in early March.
Dec. 31: It’s over for another year. Whatever you didn’t get done in 2012, don’t sweat it, there’s all of next year. Happy New Year!
Dec. 28: Host an after-season team dinner and party.
Dec. 27: 2012 is almost a wrap. Send out thank-you cards to every customer, even those who just bought a battery. For your best customers, make follow-up calls (or texts for younger customers). “So, how did it go?” If not well, tell them to come in and take advantage of your exchange policy
Dec. 26: Roll out spiffs for remaining seasonal inventory
Dec. 25: Merry, happy, enjoy.
Dec. 24: Take some of the stress out of last-minute shopping by offering food, drink and good music. Even if you’re not having an official Christmas Eve party, make sure that there’s nourishment (of the literal and spiritual kind) to keep the stress low and the spirits high. Before you close up on Christmas Eve thank every team member personally for his/her effort.
Dec. 21: This is desperation time for shoppers. They don’t want to see your great selection or your more experimental buys, they just want a gift that can’t miss. Your hot sellers must have center stage in all your displays now.
Dec. 20: Tell staff: Keep it personal. Ask questions and listen closely to what customers are saying. It’s late in the season but these are still gifts of love.
Dec. 19: The last-minute men are on their way. Brainstorm gift ideas and suggestions with your staff (perhaps specific product or price points that have hit the sweet spot this season). Then create a “Holiday Favorites” display case to help procrastinators speed up their gift choices.
Dec. 18: It’s seven days until Christmas — send a holiday email blast with helpful gift ideas. Feature exclusive deals to make your clients feel special.
Dec. 17: If you’re ready to lead the store, you should be ready to DIE for the store. Or at least spring for a foot rub, some primo coffee or an extra generous pizza takeaway order. The goodwill generated by acts of recognition of your staff’s hard work will carry through in the year that follows.
Dec. 14: Only two weeks to go until Christmas. Highlight your extended hours on your website.
Dec. 13: Place an ad in the newspaper to run Dec. 26: “Present the wrong size? We offer fast-turnaround sizings.”
Dec. 12: Tweak your window displays. Move things around and highlight different categories in your windows (especially those beads and other key price point jewelry). To window shoppers, it sends the message that you have a wide range of merchandise that is moving quickly.
Dec. 11: Drop handwritten thank-you notes in customers’ bags. Keep it short: e.g. “It was a lot of fun serving you today ... I think our gift is going to be a big hit!” It shouldn’t take more than 30 seconds per sale.
Dec. 10: Watch your reports like a hawk. Start taking small markdowns on slower selling items to help clear case space for bestselling items during the last two weeks of the holiday season.
Dec. 7: No one leaves the store empty-handed. Provide a calendar, fridge magnet or store-branded lip balm to get that crucial customer data. Data input can wait, but collection can’t. You won’t have this much traffic for another year.
Dec. 6: Put five coins in your right pocket and move one to your left pocket each time you praise someone. By day’s end, all the coins should be in your left pocket. Praise is usually the best way to guide behavior.
Dec. 5: Kick up the energy levels. Make those calls and get in those memo diamonds so you have time to work with those early shoppers before hell breaks loose. Every sale you make now is found money.
Dec. 4: Start holding short morning meetings. Keep everyone updated on things like average sale, which pieces to show first, repair deadlines and any ads you’re running.
Dec. 3: Prepare a welcome offer for customers who make their first purchase in December — perhaps a voucher to get them back in the store ahead of Valentine’s Day. (Expiration dates encourage action.)
Nov. 30: Shoppers are likely to be cautious this year, which hopefully means a late rush on retailers. Adjust your marketing accordingly.
Nov. 29: Work those wish lists. Every moment of downtime your staff has, they should be on the phone inviting wish-listers or their significant others to come on by.
Nov. 28: If you haven’t done so already, get those Christmas cards out. Include a handwritten personal note, and maybe gift certificates for the top 5-10 percent of your customers.
Nov. 27: Call your local newspaper and ask if they have any cheap "remnant space" available late in the season.
Nov. 26: The end-of-the-tear holiday period is also a favorite time for couples to get engaged. Keep a photographer on call to commemorate the big ring selection.
Nov. 25: Holiday-party season is here. Consider offering “loaner jewelry” to your best customers. You’ll need to work out the insurance aspects beforehand.
Nov. 24: Hold a short staff meeting to review yesterday’s sales performance. Beginning today, make these meetings a daily event to keep everyone informed.
Nov. 23: Black Friday. Let the festivities commence.
Nov. 22: Thanksgiving Day. Overdose on that tryptophan-laden turkey and get a good night’s sleep.
Nov. 21: Close the store early for a decorating party. Order in some pizza and maybe a little wine, crank up the tunes and make it fun. Consider letting employees bring their kids in to help.
Nov. 20: Focus any purchases for late November/early December delivery on your best-selling items. Your goal is to be narrow and deep in the weeks before Christmas, not fully assorted.
Nov. 19: International Men’s Day is celebrated today in 60 countries, including the U.S. Is the time to push the envelope and promote men’s engagement rings?
Nov. 18: Set separate cut-off dates for special orders, deliveries and appraisals. Make sure every member of staff knows them — there's nothing worse than promising something you can't deliver.
Nov. 17: You've set repair deadlines. Now put up a sign that reads "Repairs Will Be Ready On ..." and then update the new date daily. No harm in charging a premium for express services.
Nov. 16: Set up a “data mine” for business cards. Sales people get a buck for every name card that goes in. E-mail addresses are crucial.
Nov. 15: The temporary help you hired last month should be starting about now. Assign them to jobs that free up your sales stars.
Nov. 14: Studies show that men buy holiday gifts in December but often make their decisions in November. Adjust your approach to men. They're not just browsing, they're deciding. For women customers, your holiday newsletter should be in their hands before Thanksgiving .
Nov. 13: This is your last real chance to sharpen sales skills. Monitor individual performance through the month, and coach at every opportunity.
Nov. 12: Are you cross-promoting with any other local businesses? See if you can put up a sign or a small display in the store of a local furrier or clothier – even a beauty shop, where your merchandise will get hours of attention.
Nov. 11: Although it will be officially observed as a holiday tomorrow, today is Veterans Day. We don’t encourage price-cutting but on this day, we always make an exception for customers who have served their country. Give ‘em a break.
Nov. 10: Run through your orders and stay on top of your vendors. Timely delivery is critical now. Running out of your core items is almost as bad as ordering too much of a bad seller.
Nov. 9: Start feeding holiday songs into your store line-up. At first, aim for every fourth song, and then over the next weeks slowly increase the rotation. Hold off on the Christmas carols for awhile, though – Black Friday’s a good time to dial those in.
Nov. 8: Check out those vendor spiffs. Suppliers all want their lines to succeed this season, so take advantage of what they’re offering.
Nov. 7: Expect roughly half the country to be jubilant today, the other half in despair. Capitalize on the former with a “Morning After” promotion touting the red, white and blue.
Nov. 6: Election Day. With the presidential race razor thin at the finish line, this is one year when ever vote truly counts. Make sure your staff has time to do their civic duty.
Nov. 5: Start sharpening your displays to ensure your hot sellers are front and center. At this time of year, shoppers are looking more for “sure things” than a shopping experience.
Nov. 4: Yes, it’s a tad too early to send Christmas cards, but beat the postal rush with announcements of your holiday schedule, special events and sale items.
Nov. 3: Holiday-season shopping begins this week as consumers start visiting the websites of their favorite retailers. Highlight your best gift ideas on your own homepage. Install a wish-list feature.
Nov. 2: Topaz is the headliner birthstone for November, but give some attention to the month’s perennial also-ran, citrine, a/k/a “healing quartz” for its reputed ability to build vitality in its wearer.
Nov. 1: One of the busiest months of the year for jewelry trade shows kicks off today with the Mid-South Jewelry & Accessories Fair in Memphis. Check out biztradeshows.com for a complete schedule of November shows.
Oct. 31: Halloween has become a major holiday for retail sales in many categories. What can you do to cash in?
Oct. 30: Hold a meeting with staff to discuss political issues that could come up this holiday season, such as diamond mining practices, Zimbabwe, or fair trade. Make sure everyone understands and can communicate the store line.
Oct. 29: Steam and/or ultrasonic clean entire inventory and props. Larry Johnson recommends using Simple Green cleaner (diluted 50/50 with water) to lightly clean all leatherette displays. “Don’t rub too hard or you’ll remove the fabric top-coating,” says the author of “The Complete Guide To Effective Jewelry Display”.
Oct. 28: Have some fun building an in-store music list for the holidays that evokes the joy of gift-giving.
Oct. 27: Begin cleaning and retagging all jewelry. Make sure watches have fresh batteries.
Oct. 26: Set yourself a goal to sell one additional diamond a week compared with last year. Mark it up on the wall and keep everyone focused on the target.
Oct. 25: If you haven’t done so yet, it is time to meet with the accountant to discuss 2011 tax strategy.
Oct. 24: Get proactive with setting appointments. Call wish-list customers and other regulars to let them know about any new inventory.
Oct. 23: Haven’t got the time or manpower to manage a full social media campaign? Try offering a simple “deal of the day” (or week) to get people excited about special, time-limited offers. Update your Facebook page or Twitter feed twice a day with information about the deals.
Oct. 22: If you’re the boss, schedule more time on the sales floor, urges sales trainer Shane Decker. “Too many managers spend too much time in an office and not on the floor,” he says.
Oct. 21: Finalize all seasonal hiring decisions. Cut loose any ineffective or problematic employees. You want your best lineup in place by November 1.
Oct. 20: Review and update client lists for the holidays. (Email addresses change often). Consider mailing a free $100 gift card to your best 250 customers.
Oct. 19: Create a merchandise checklist and add these dates to your e-calendar: special order cut-offs, special manufacturing cut-offs, delivery dates, dates your suppliers are closed.
Oct. 18: Layaways have been making a comeback. Consider introducing, reviving or ramping up marketing for your layaway program.
Oct. 17: Set a target date to get caught up with estate department work and appraisals.
Oct. 16: Start tinkering with your price strategy. Double-check you’re well-stocked in the price-points you sell most. Consider how you can take advantage of the holiday season to move pieces that are showing their age.
Oct. 15: Finalize work schedules for the next 12 weeks (include the first half of January). Check your staff’s obligations and work around any clashes. Identify the peak hours and ensure your best salespeople will be on the floor.
Oct. 14: Come up with promotions and sales to quickly move slow-moving inventory to make space for holiday bestsellers.
Oct. 13: Double check your suppliers' hours in case you need to make emergency orders.
Oct. 12: The Nobel Peace Prize is announced today. Feel inspired – and act it.
Oct. 11: Buy a book on gift-wrapping, and find a style that your customers will remember. Assign paper- and ribbon-cutting duties.
Oct. 10: Send a note to the lifestyle editor of the local newspaper offering your services as a source on the subject of Christmas gifts.
Oct. 9: Your major holiday advertising should be complete by the end of October.
Oct. 8: What’s Columbus Day without a sale of some kind?
Oct. 7: Begin cleaning and retagging all jewelry. Make sure watches have fresh batteries.
Oct. 6: Consider a complete physical inventory before the end of the month. Check security camera angles and function.
Oct. 5: Consider making repairs and redesign services a centerpiece of your strategy this year.
Oct. 4: Studies show sales people typically reduce the time spent contacting customers by as much as 40 percent when the economy slumps. Get back in touch with past customers who’ve fallen off your radar and let them know what you’ll have in stock for Christmas.
Oct. 3: If you’ve always waited until Black Friday to launch your holiday promotions, start earlier this year. A Unity Marketing study found those who shop early spent twice as much as consumers who started on Black Friday or later.
Oct. 2: It’s Self-Promotion Month, which means it’s OK to toot your own horn. The secret to doing it right is not to brag but to follow the advice of all creative-writing teachers and “show don’t tell.”
Oct. 1: Bone up on tourmaline and opal, this month’s twin birthstones. Did you know that the name opal is believed to come from Ops, the wife of Saturn and the goddess of fertility? Did you know that 97 percent of all opals come from Australia? Tourmaline, on the other hand, is mined in several countries, including the U.S. Ain’t Google grand?
Sept. 29: Invite previous customers, or new prospects, for cider and donuts in the store. Chat them up with advance word on Christmas specials.
Sept. 28: Plan ahead for a Halloween-themed full-moon party on October
Sept. 27: By now, the presidential election will be in full swing, with below-the-belt punches flying fast on both sides. Rise above all that with a ruby-diamond-sapphire display and sale.
Sept. 26: The season's most colorful decorative device is lying outside for the picking. Scoop up a bushel of autumn leaves and trim the store.
Sept. 25: Bracelets are the hottest growth category in men’s jewelry. Think gold links, slim to medium.
Sept. 24: If you expect to need part-time help for the holidays, now’s the time to put the feelers out.
Sept. 21: Too early for Christmas? The New York Sun didn’t think so when it published the “Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus” editorial on September 21, 1897. Put Virginia front and center for a promotion teasing to Christmas specials.
Sept. 20: Baseball diamond. Baseball. Diamonds. Is there a promotional connection there?
Sept. 19: Plan a way to get the e-mail address of everyone who comes in your store over the holidays. Right after the first of the New Year, send them all your first monthly e-blast of jewelry and gem trivia, mixed with sales promos.
Sept. 18: The art season’s biggest blockbuster opens today at the Metropolitan Museum in Ney York City. “Regarding Andy Warhol: Sixty Artists, Fifty Years” runs through Dec. 31. Soup cans and rubies anyone?
Sept. 17: Get a fix on what your competition is up to in important social media. Search Facebook for every store in your area. If they have a FB page, why don’t you?
Sept. 14: Make sure you're good to go for the bust holiday season with a check of the latest accounting and inventory software. A good place to start is the website at softwareadvice.com.
Sept. 13: Make sure your staff is ready for the upcoming holiday rush with six-month performance reviews in September and March. Be enthusiastic about each individual's job performance, diplomatic but clear about the bad.
Sept. 12: Asters are September's flower. Tie in with a local florist to get lavender and white blooms for your windows and counters.
Sept. 11: September was a pretty good month last year, in part because big retailers eagerly took to Discount Coupon Code schemes to build on-line traffic. Time to investigate opportunities.
Sept. 10: Add INSTORE's new addition to the fall season calendar, the SMART Jewelry Show in Dallas, winds up today.
Sept. 7: Forget "The Sexiest Man Alive," Michelangelo's sculpture of David in Florence, considered the most beautiful male image in the world, first showed his stuff on September 8, 1504, so this month is a natural time to push men's jewelry.
Sept. 6: Fashion's Night Out in NYC and beyond. Last year's bash offered more than 4,500 retail showcases in 18 cities. In the Big Apple, hobnob this year in hundreds of retail locations from the Battery to the Upper East Side.
Sept. 5: New York Fashion Week, sponsored by Mercedes-Benz, starts today. Google each day's collections for a taste of trends to come.
Sept. 4: Next Sunday is Grandparents Day. Why let Hallmark get all the bucks? Try a double-ring promotion for the senior set, who may have gotten married back in the days when a bridal ring alone did the trick.
Sept. 3: Kick off autumn with a celebration of this month's birth stone, the sapphire. Go full-on with a "Rhapsody in Blue" window display highlighting free Internet photos of the world's largest specimens of this most affordable of all precious gems.
Sept. 2: Make sure your staff is ready for the upcoming holiday rush with six-month performance reviews in September and March. Be enthusiastic about each individual's job performance, diplomatic but clear about the bad.
Sept. 1: Summer is over, no matter what the calendar says.
Aug. 31: September is almost here. And it is Reunion Planning Month. But it's not just old schoolmates who get back together. Families, military units, sporting associations — there's plenty to choose from. Get on the committee. Start a Facebook page. It's a great networking opportunity.
Aug. 30: Start ramping up the sales-floor energy. Roll out some spiffs.Get customers to try on jewelry. Pay salespeople $1 for every piece. On Saturdays, challenge staff to "Beat the Boss." Sell more than the boss, get a reward.
Aug. 29: Take advantage of the slow times to encourage customers to fill out wish lists. These will pay off profitably later in the year, not least when it comes to getting customers in and out of the store efficiently when things get busy.
Aug. 28: Launch "Project Big Shot." Start making contact with local personalities: newscasters, society figures, sports people, to see if they are interested in borrowing your jewelry during the festive season.
Aug. 27: Begin training your staff to give first-time customers a tour of your store. This is a good way to break the ice and make newcomers feel welcome.
Aug. 24: High-ticket items. Emphasize staff must stop assuming customers can't afford expensive items.
Aug. 23: Meeting Topic: Selling wedding and engagement rings.
Aug. 22: Fall is on its way. Create some fashion (not "costume") jewelry islands around the store and throw a small fall fashion launch party.
Aug. 21: The fall fashion season is on the way. Finalize your fall open-to-buy and scour the fashion and trade magazines for product ideas to be ready for the year's big trade shows next month.
Aug. 20: On Men's Grooming Day, team up with a local men's spa or upscale hairdresser. Print up gift cards for them to hand out offering $50 or $100 in free store credit to be used with any of your men's jewelry.
Aug. 18: In much the same way as really bad jewelry design is often the result of genuine artistic ambition gone awry, so it is with poetry (look up Samuel Taylor Coleridge's "To a Young Ass" to see just how astray talent can go). It is with an appreciation of such innocent badness that Bad Poetry Day is held each year. You could offer to host a bad poetry reading, or just take inspiration from the event and create your own holiday: Bad Muse Day, and invite your customers to bring in their ugliest jewelry for a makeover. It all stems from the same source.
Aug. 17: Grandparents Day (Sept. 12) is mostly a "Hallmark" date but consumers are feeling more family-oriented this year. What can you do?
Aug. 16: Exactly 116 years ago today, a man named George Carmack found gold "lying thick between flaky slabs of rock like cheese in a sandwich" and ignited the Klondike rush. Things soon got wild. Successful miners were running up $10,000 barroom bills. Dance-hall girls charged miners $1 for one minute of dancing. One man collected the sawdust from a saloon floor and panned $278 from it in two hours. If that sounds like your store over the last few years, we can't help much. If it doesn't, get in some dancing girls today and start panning that golden sawdust in your customers' jewelry boxes.
Aug. 15: Meeting Topic: Selling to those with limited budgets — students, working mothers, young professionals, just about everybody in the current economic climate.
Aug. 14: Begin brainstorming on the creative aspects of your Christmas promotions: advertising, window displays, events, etc. Make this a team effort; your staff will appreciate the chance to contribute.
Aug. 13: How is your social media presence doing? Check those reach and engagement numbers to ensure you're connecting with all those potential customers online. If your numbers are low, reading the social media experts at www.mashable.com is a great way to pick up a few tips.
Aug. 10: Write scripts for greeting customers: what to show them, handling take-ins, getting wish-list information, etc.
Aug. 9: The SMART Show Dallas is less than a month away. If you haven't registered, now is the time to make some last-minute plans to ensure you have a fantastic holiday season. Head to www.smartjewelryshow.com/register.
Aug. 8: The mall is full of kids but not for much longer. So get on those back-to-school promos. The teen market is huge and often overlooked. Do you know the must-have items this year?
Aug. 7: Training Topic: Selling wedding and engagement rings.
Aug. 6: It's National Wiggle Your Toes Day! It might be hard to have an event for this unless you have an impressive collection of toe rings — so to celebrate after work, kick off your shoes and socks, put your feet up and wiggle those toes as you relax after a long day of selling non-feet related jewelry.
Aug. 3: Have a Facebook page? Get a graphic designer to create an image featuring your five best engagement rings, post them on your Timeline and ask your followers which one they like the best. That'll drive up those engagement stats!
Aug. 2: Get your store in shape for the busy holiday season. This week, start on those time-consuming drudge jobs — cutting gift-wrap paper, creating ribbons, cleaning up mailing lists and so on.
Aug. 1: Girlfriends don't let girlfriends go shopping alone. Mark National Girlfriends Day by holding a "bring-a-friend" event in the store. There's nothing like a shopping buddy oohing and ahhing over a piece to get the purchasing urges flowing.
July 31: Plan your fall advertising campaign.
July 30: Don't let any more great ideas get away. Try an app like Evernote (Evernote.com). It works with nearly every computer, phone and mobile device.