Professional Jeweler Archive: Are You Ready for Shoppers?

December 2004

Managing/Timepiece Sales

Are You Ready for Shoppers?

Prepare for holiday watch sales by asking yourself a few questions

This is our time of year. The last two months of the year is when retail jewelers can really shine. For some, it’s the difference between a good year and a great year. For stores that feature watches as an important part of holiday sales, it’s a good idea to review with your staff some critical factors for sales success.

1. Do You Have the Goods? Have you secured the limited pieces as well as the bread-and-butter sell-throughs from your key brands? If this year is like the past few, many best-sellers will be in short supply. You don’t want to be without high-demand items when you most need them.

2. What Shape Are You in? Have you examined your inventory? Look for case wear on bracelets, lugs and bezels. Pay attention to all leather straps. Leather often wears poorly in the hot lights of showcases. Nothing is more disconcerting than a customer rejecting a fine luxury watch because the strap is worn.

3. Is Every Quartz Watch Running? Change batteries in any old stock. You need to ensure that a holiday gift is running when it’s opened!

4. Is the Staff Ready? Meet with your staff to review key sales tips. Make sure each staffer knows what the heavily advertised items are and where they should expect high consumer demand. Discuss product availability, potential shortages, substitutions and any special situations they may encounter regarding pricing, limited editions and more.

5. Are Freebies Prepared? Look at your inventory of gift-with-purchase items. Many manufacturers offer hats, mugs or shirts with the sale of their watches. Some provide even more luxurious items such as jackets. Giveaways please customers and help control price pressure.

6. Where Are the Shortages? Be truthful with your customers. If an item is in short supply, encourage them to buy now. Help them make the decision with pressure-free return/exchange policies.

7. Are You Ready to Ask More Questions? The more you find out about the potential recipient, the better chance the sale has of sticking. Match the customer to the way in which he or she will wear the watch.

8. Does it Fit? Size does matter – not only in overall mass but also in determining fit. We’ve had great success in estimating sizes of potential wearers so the recipient can enjoy the watch as soon as receiving it.

9. Have You Checked Your Packaging? After time in the store, many outer watch boxes get shopworn so you should replace them. Also look for all price tags on watches, boxes, inside boxes … everywhere.

10. Is it Clean? Before wrapping that gift, be certain it’s free of all fingerprints and other marks.

Make your list and check it at least twice so you’re assured of successful and lasting holiday watch sales. Happy Holidays!

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

Paul White regularly fills this column with tips for retailers who want to sell more watches. If you have suggestions for topics, questions for Paul or examples from your store, send them to Professional Jeweler, 1500 Walnut St., Suite 1200, Philadelphia, PA 19102;

Copyright © 2004 by Bond Communications