Professional Jeweler Archive: Marketing and Merchandising for the Big Season

October 2000

For Your Staff/Selling Timepieces

Marketing and Merchandising for the Big Season

Be sure your staff knows the answers to customers' questions

Nothing’s worse than when a caller or visitor asks “which watch is in today’s paper?” and you don’t know. However, it’s possible a customer asking about the features of a watch and getting a blank stare from a salesperson just might equal that embarrassment. Now’s the time to get your staff up to speed to make the most of the holiday season.

Ad Planner

Make an advertising planner for you and your staff. If you’re in a small store, it may be as simple as distributing a memo or photocopies of what’s planned. In a bigger store, you’ll want to do these things and create a centrally located “copy bible.” This is a big binder with watch advertising slicks. The information should include all dates they’ll run and the type of media.

If you run radio, television or other ads, be sure to include broadcast schedules. Sales and reception staff should know how to access this book quickly.

It’s probably too late in the year to make any additional advertising inserts. But check anyway. Review your budget and consider any last-minute advertising opportunities. Watch company advertising departments can help you take stock of what you’ve planned.

Taking the Training

This month is a good time to get everyone up to speed. By November or December, it’s just too late. New merchandise probably is arriving in your store already or soon will. Training and knowledge about these products is the key to making your staff stand out from your competition. For more complicated timepieces and all new watches, keep your staff current. Watch vendors’ sales reps can help with training, but schedule your sessions with them as early as possible.

Make a list of the timepieces you’ve ordered for the holidays to make sure everything arrives, and find out which ones will be available at the last minute if you’re in the happy position of having to restock in December.

Also, be sure the entire sales staff knows how to use each of the various watch company catalogs – this can make or break you in the eyes of a customer.

Final Checklist

• How will your store look this year? Are your decorations fresh or shopworn? Do you need some fresh ideas? Don’t let yourself be surprised; check out your decorative inventory while there’s still time to react.

• Do your watch showcases need some sprucing up? Check for display elements that look shabby or old. For example, many companies use display cuffs for their watches and some are metal covered with fabric or vinyl. If the covering is worn and the metal shows through, it can damage a watch. Don’t lose a sale because of a poor display element.

• Is your supply of brochures and watch company material sufficient for the season? If you use promotional items or giveaways as incentives for your customers, do you have what you need?

Checking it Twice

Everything we’ve covered here is designed to get you thinking about what’s most important to you and your store. Each store in each city is different, with different expectations and needs. The common threads for us all are a strong economy, higher inventory levels and more competitive selling environments. Use this as a guideline when you’re making your own checklist. The better your preparation, the smoother and more profitable your holiday season will be.

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

Each month Paul White fills this column with sales tips for retailers 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;

Copyright © 2001 by Bond Communications