Merry Month of May

May 1998

For Your Staff: Selling Timepieces


Merry Month of May

This month is perfect for a watch promotion

by Paul White

Watch Division Director, Reis-Nichols Jewelers, Indianapolis, IN


There's no question May is becoming an important marketing month for jewelers. With Mother's Day, May graduations and local events (ours is the Indianapolis 500-mile race), there are plenty of occasions around which to build a promotion.


The Next Big Season?

Any promotion is better than none. We've all seen what an important event Valentine's Day has become as a result of local and national marketing efforts. With a little ingenuity, May could be the retail jewelry industry's next big selling season.

If your store is relatively new to watches, or represents several known brands, try a trunk show for one or more lines. You'll find your watch representatives eager to help you achieve greater exposure for their products. Promote the show to your best customers via direct mail. Use radio, newspapers or city magazines to support your publicity. This gives you a reason to contact your customers, especially if you're debuting a new models or a whole new line.

If you're planning an event with single or multiple representatives, don't forget to contact them well in advance. Many stores carry the same lines and many stores hold watch events and shows. Make certain you have alternative dates for your VIPs.


Ensure a Response

What we really want is to make sure customers old and new respond to our promotional wizardry.

First, condense your event. Make it one or two evenings or an afternoon and evening. The longer you stretch things out, the less impact you make. Offer incentives and publicize them. Trade-ins are a great opportunity. Take your customer's old watches regardless of condition.

If you are able to acquire good pieces, you can resell these in your vintage case. If the trade is so-so, these can become loaner watches when your customers have their watches in for service. If the trade is truly dreadful or without discernible value, take it anyway. It gives you a chance to give the buyer more value on a new watch.

Do something goofy. Remember, it's the merry month of May. Offer a special incentive to anyone who shows up with a diploma, tassel or mortarboard. Or for that matter, a picture of their mom. A colleague once observed that jewelers take themselves and their profession very seriously, as well they should. However, if you can find your own comfortable way to "let your hair down," your sense of humor shows your human side and typically attracts more business.


Watchmaker Flexibility

Remember that your watchmaker allows you some extra benefits. Throw in the first battery and pressure test at no charge to a new watch buyer. Offer to do an appraisal or a tune up on a favorite old piece. Do a tour of your watch repair facility for your more technically oriented buyer.

We've had success with many of these ideas and variations on them. May has so many highlights it gives you a chance to experiment and have some fun. Promotions, in-store events, creative displays all set you apart from the crowd. With minimal effort May may be just what you need this month!


Each month Paul White fills this column with sales tips for retailers who want to sell more watches. If you have suggestions for topics or questions for Paul or specific examples from your store, send them to Professional Jeweler, 1500 Walnut St., Suite 1200, Philadelphia, Pa., 19102, e-mail

Copyright © 1998 by Bond Communications.


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