Sharpen Cupid's Aim


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, VA.

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.


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