Advice and Help for the Final Holiday Sales Weekend


December 21, 2001

Advice and Help for the Final Holiday Sales Weekend

Several marketing and sales consultants to the jewelry industry have sent faxes and e-mails to retailers, with advice on how to make the most of this holiday season. Here's a recap:

"People seek to experience the feelings of comfort, hope and spirituality promised at holiday time," says Julie Livingston, president of Luxury Marketing Group, a New York City public relations agency serving the luxury sector (Julie@luxurymarketinggroup.com). Here are five image-enhancing activities Livingston suggests to help you communicate positive, uplifting messages – which have been particularly well received since Sept. 11 – while prominently positioning your brand.

• From the moment customers walk through your door, graciously welcome them with a warm hello to let them know you're glad they've come to your store or department. Make yourself available to help them while giving them room to browse.

• This year in particular, many may feel emotionally or financially strapped and will think twice about spending for top-of-the-line luxury goods. Show them alternatives to the most high-end items that are similarly luxurious, yet perhaps more understated with more "pocketbook" appeal.

• Show your company's human side by participating in thoughtfully executed programs or events that prominently position your brand. These may include industry or community-based events to benefit important charities.

• Shaken by the weakened economy and recent world events, people want to envision a brighter future. Hearing your positive – yet realistic – outlook for 2002 will make clients feel more secure and connected. This applies to internal and external communication. Uplifting "on-hold" messages or cheerful e-mail salutations can have a big impact.

• Many customers think of shopping as a pick-me-up. You can create a warm, inviting atmosphere with comfortable chairs, soothing background music, even light refreshments to help customers relax and enjoy shopping. Customers who feel taken care of are likely to return again to make purchases and will spread the word to their friends.

Kate Peterson, of Performance Concepts, Olympia, WA (kate@performanceconcepts.net) has been faxing uplifting messages to her clients throughout this holiday season. Here's some last-minute advice:

• Managers, take care of your sales associates during this last weekend of the big season. Praise and acknowledge them, remind them they are important members of your team, ask them to support and nurture each other, trust them to do well and offer them gentle guidance and direction.

• Sales associates, work to earn praise, look out for your fellow sales associates, be open to guidance and focus on the sales goal.

•. Make those last minute calls from wish lists, dream-books and client records. "A gentle reminder from you actually makes their holiday shopping much easier," says Peterson.

• Stay positive. Play, have fun and enjoy what you do - customers will enjoy their experience. Have conversations with customers so that you interact and relate, rather than just making a formal presentation. Make certain every customer – whether they buy or not – leaves knowing they've had a one-of-a-kind experience.

From other sources:

• The Diamond Promotion Service is offering retailers access to free, downloadable images of three-stone diamond jewelry, advertising copy lines and sales training advice at www.dps.org . Unlike other parts of the site, where a Tradelock password is required for access, these images and information are open to all. The images are easy to download, with PC or Mac instructions, and relate to the Diamond Trading Co.'s holiday gift-of-love campaign that targets men. The images will be available through the rest of winter. Jewelers' ad agencies and printers can access the site too.

• America's Research Group (www.predatory.com) has been tracking consumer holiday spending since late October and says retailers selling products with patriotic symbols have done well. Consumers also told the group they first choose retailers who have made donations to Sept. 11 charities. The Charleston, SC, consumer-behavior research company projects a decline in holiday sales of 1.5-2% over last year. But it says three out of four shoppers polled during the Dec. 14-16 weekend said they are as excited about this Christmas as they have been in previous years.




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