Timepieces/Education & Repair
Preparing for Change
Is it time to shake up the showcase a bit? First, reevaluate what's selling
As the spring watch and jewelry shows close and with summer events just ahead, many managers are evaluating their inventories. As at your store, we too are taking a close look at whats successful, whats level and whats slow to sell.
Were also discovering the vast majority of sales seem to come from the same meat-and-potatoes brands year after year. Now is the time to ask ourselves how we evaluate:
- What brands to keep.
- When to let go of underperforming brands.
- When to add hot brands.
- How to take advantage of coming trends.
First, analyze why something isnt selling. Is it poor product, poor marketing, poor support from the vendor or something else? Sometimes its a matter of identity crisis customers and salespeople simply cant readily identify with the brand. If a salesperson cannot quickly summarize the high points of a brand to locate its image in the mind of the customer, theres a problem. If the customer cant grasp the mission of the brand, the problem is compounded.
If youve done all you can but youre still unsuccessful with a brand, it may be time to move on. But remember that to try a new brand, youll need dollars and display space. In a time of high inventory levels, many stores are trying to generate more sales from fewer lines and letting go of poor producers.
If youre going to the shows and you want to add some new products, it pays to do your homework. Talk to trusted colleagues who may carry a line that has piqued your interest. Judge not just on sales but also on similarity of the selling markets of both stores. What sells in Miami may not in Des Moines.
Get all the support you need from a new line. Lay out performance terms explicitly, including expected turn, stock balancing and buy-backs.
Try to get a feel for whether youre going to pioneer a line, ride the crest of a strong wave or, at worst, catch a brand when its cooling down. Keep in mind most brands require a push. Only a select few are asked for repeatedly.
Have courage. Sometimes, its necessary to bring on a newcomer to give existing ones a little run for the money. That may be a Darwinian strategy, but it can tell you in short order who the survivor will be! Remember, its your strongest brands that bring the most reward. You may indeed discover you can do more with less.
By Paul White, Watch Division Director, Reis-Nichols Jewelers, Indianapolis, IN
Send topic suggestions, questions for Paul or specific examples from your store to firstname.lastname@example.org.