Professional Jeweler Archive: Claiming Your Store's Position

October 2001

Managing/Timepieces


Claiming Your Store's Position

The second "P" to successful watch sales means evaluating where you want to be in your market


Last month we discussed the need for passion when starting, building and expanding your watch business (p. 110). This leads us to the second “P” – your position in the market.

First, decide what you want from watches, then evaluate your store’s position relative to competitors. Like all managers, you want watches to increase traffic, improve store image, generate profit and – if possible – cure the common cold.

These are most-worthy pursuits. But ask yourself how deeply you want to be involved. What will you do to set your store apart from others? Which are you:

  • A major player with a large store and perhaps a smaller second store.
  • A medium-sized business with a couple of brands.
  • A small store that could benefit from starting to sell finer watches.

Your answer will help determine which brands to go after.

Brand Pursuit

Let’s say that in your area many of the top brands are taken. Do you have the ability to “pioneer” a new brand name in your market? This requires a certain commitment and fortitude. Research thoroughly. All brands talk a good game about commitment and partnership, but you need to choose ones that measure success on your terms as well as theirs. New brands, properly promoted and enthusiastically introduced, can be a great asset.
Here’s another scenario: You’re in a competitive market. You’re new to watches or have a few recognized brands. A well-known brand is suddenly available. What to do? Research is the key. Has the brand been represented in your area before? If so, why did it fail at that location? Were there issues with the store, the brand or both? Does the previous authorized agent still have merchandise and, if so, how will it be reduced?

Commitment

When adding a brand, you must actively recruit a watchmaker, use a quick service shop or rely on the manufacturer. Each option has advantages, but nothing beats the in-house availability – and promotional advantage – of having your own skilled watchmaker.
Decide how to promote a brand. Look into the cost of co-op ads, special events, tie-ins with fund-raisers, giveaways and other ways to increase awareness.

Stake Your Claim

There are great benefits in representing timepieces. They can increase traffic, generate profit and, most importantly, round out your company as a full-service store. When you make informed decisions as to what’s right for your store and your marketplace, you’ll be in the best position to do the most for your customers.

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

Next Month: The Third “P” – Practice

Send questions and suggestions to Professional Jeweler, 1500 Walnut St., Suite 1200, Philadelphia, PA 19102; timepieces@professionaljeweler.com.


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