For Your Staff: Selling Timepieces
Updating the Customer
New models can create trade up sales, but prepare
for style envy
Fashion and style are much of what drive watch sales today.
At the showcase, you frequently see buying decisions made on
sheer good looks. But this reality can present some problems
at this time of year.
As the new models enter the showcase for fall and winter,
the older styles may still sell well. How do you integrate the
old with the new? Here are some tips.
Prepare & Preview
The new watches are likely to be in middle to lower priced
lines because luxury brands tend to retain a more consistent
appearance and are less likely to race to attain fashion status.
It's important to know in advance which of these new watches
are heading for your showcase so you can discuss them with customers
After the spring watch debuts, ask the buyers for your store
which brands they ordered for fall and winter and which ones
will retain the models already in the showcase.
Once you know for sure which new models are due in for the
year end selling season, let the customers most likely to
be interested in them know you'll call or send a reminder to
arrange a "preview" showing once they arrive. This
makes the customer feel special and shows your interest in his
or her satisfaction.
Because fashion oriented watches change faster than classic
models, your customer may be concerned a recent purchase
or future one will be discontinued in a season or
two. Assure the customer cosmetic or design changes in new models
in no way diminish the value and beauty of what they own.
Also inform the customer you and the manufacturer stand behind
the watches. Replacement parts and service will continue so the
customer can wear a discontinued watch in confidence and style
for years to come.
What's more, suggest he or she look forward to buying a new
model now or at some later date. The customer likely favors the
brand and can become a good repeat buyer.
Suggest a New Bracelet
Despite the many new watches introduced each year, you won't
likely have to create a "sales rack" for last year's
models the way apparel retailers sometimes do. That kind of marketing
is generally frowned on for watches.
Watch vendors with a vision and a clear image generally present
new models that retain a certain harmony with last year's models.
They may update the bracelet or dial or change the size or metal
type of the case.
If your customers ask whether a watch can be "updated"
to look like newer styles, let them know what's possible. Not
all older models can be updated. For those that can, suggest
a snazzy new bracelet or a "tune up" that will
make the watch sparkle like new.
Increasingly, fashion brands, even some higher end brands,
offer interchangeable bezels, dials and bracelets that dramatically
change a watch's look. Several offer diamond dials or bezels
that can be added at a nominal fee when the customer is ready
to upgrade. Perhaps these are the brands a fashion directed
customer should look at first. If your store has a "trade up"
policy, discuss it at this time.
Be sure you're prepared to talk about these possibilities
well before the important end of year sales period.
Preparing your customers early can make sales smoother as fall
By Paul White, Watch Division Director, Reis Nichols
Jewelers, Indianapolis, IN
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 to Professional Jeweler, 1500 Walnut St., Suite
1200, Philadelphia, Pa., 19102; email@example.com.
Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.