Sharpen Cupid's Aim
For most jewelers, Valentine's Day is a small-ticket occasion, but
you can capitalize on it anyway
As an occasion to sell diamond jewelry, Valentine's Day is not Christmas.
On the other hand, it's not the Fourth of July either. "It runs tight
with Mother's Day," says Phil Jackson, co-owner of Jackson Jewelers,
Salem, OR. "It's a time to acknowledge loved ones, which means it can
be a good time to sell jewelry."
But except for engagement rings, many jewelers have low expectations
for Valentine's Day sales. The jewelry they sell for the holiday is mostly
in lower price ranges and with small diamonds, if any. Why then, on a day
when couples honor their love for each other, do so many jewelers have a
hard time getting them to commemorate that love with diamond jewelry?
For one thing, Valentine's Day follows on the heels of Christmas, a big
diamond jewelry gift-giving season.
Valentine's Day also is a short-window holiday. "It's only a two-
or three-day sale," says Marc Fink, president of Fink's Jewelers, Roanoke,
And Valentine's Day just isn't a diamond holiday for some jewelers. "Most
Valentine gifts fall into a price point that excludes diamonds," says
Stephen Alie, manager of A.E. Alie & Sons' store in Portsmouth, NH.
He expects to move gold, silver and possibly platinum jewelry, but his typical
Valentine sale is less than $100.
Richard Argo, CEO of Argo & Lehne, Columbus, OH, agrees. Though he
did land-office business with gold-plated roses in 1998, he says customers
don't spend a lot of money for Valentine's Day. He does sell diamond stud
earrings and solitaire pendants, but most sales top out around $500 (engagement
rings are the exception).
Don't Give Up
Before you accept the status quo for Valentine's Day, consider what opportunities
lie untapped. You can promote Valentine's Day as a chance to say a very
special "I love you" with something more significant than roses
that wilt or chocolates that add pounds.
Stress the benefits by reminding your customer how happy his wife or
girlfriend will be to show off her diamond gift, and how proud he'll be
he gave her such unexpected pleasure.
Prepare by stocking a selection of diamond heart jewelry, but don't stop
there. This is a good time to sell diamond stud earrings, solitaire necklaces
or circle pins representing eternal love.
And don't be lulled into a post-Christmas advertising slump. Fink keeps
focused on this period. "We do some item advertising and try to keep
the store staffed properly," he says. In return, he's rewarded with
sales of diamond hearts, pendants, solitaire necklaces and stud earrings.
The price points tend to be low mostly less than $500 but these
are sales he might not make otherwise.
Phil Jackson says he also does well with diamond earrings and pendants
for Valentine's Day, with prices ranging from $200 to $3,000.
Even if you don't make high-ticket sales, you can use the occasion to
meet new customers. Michael Kranich of Kranich's Jewelers in Altoona, PA,
sees Valentine's Day primarily as a means to introduce his store to young
people. "A lot of high school kids want to spend $50 to $100,"
he says. "We let them know we carry an entire range of jewelry and
get them used to shopping in our store." Anything heart-shaped is popular
with this group. "Most of what we sell is less than $300," he
says, "but we sell these things in multiples and are glad to do so."
by Mark E. Dixon
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.