Fight Discounters with Value & Service

April 1999

For Your Staff:Selling Timepieces

Fight Discounters with Value & Service

Follow these tips to beat other retailers who compete on price

By Paul White
Watch Division director
Reis-Nichols Jewelers
Indianapolis, IN

This recent letter is typical of many retailer responses to one problem that can accompany watch retailing. Oversaturation of a brand in a geographic area, not as prevalent as it once was, may still be a thorn. The situation is impossible to control fully, but there are some creative ways to out-think rather than outprice your competition.

Consistent Policy
Establish a consistent policy. One sales associate shouldn't say one thing to one customer while another sales associate says something different to someone else. This is particularly critical if you work in a multistore operation. How would it feel to find out your strongest competitor was yourself?

Add Value
Give customers plenty of reasons to feel you're the best place to buy regardless of whether your price is the lowest. Know your product and share that knowledge with customers before deciding to match a competitor's price. The salesperson down the street who says "Yeah, great watch, normally $1,995, but today's special is $1,495" may not be well-versed in product knowledge. You can score points when you do a great job explaining features and benefits.

Added Benefits
If you are a small store with one or two basic watch lines, be sure to offer some added benefits, such as:

  1. No-charge battery replacements.
  2. Extended warranties.
  3. Information about expected service intervals.
  4. No charge for watch sizing with purchase.

Larger Stores
If you have a larger store with greater selection, consider the services of an on-site or very accessible watchmaker. Knowing a watchmaker is available may be all a customer needs to make the decision to buy a luxury watch.

Watchmakers also can answer technical questions from knowledgeable consumers, size a watch and allow you to offer an occasional freebie, such as a complimentary battery and water-resistance test for the more sophisticated timepieces in your stock.

Don't neglect a liberal trade-in policy to combat discounting. The trade-in doesn't have to be collectible; it doesn't have to be good; it doesn't even have to be running. However, it is a courtesy to price-conscious consumers. Use the better pieces you acquire for a vintage display or as loaners when customers have their watches in for service.

Let your customers know how you stand out from the crowd. You'll walk fewer sales, spend less time thinking about your competition and sleep better.

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

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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