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  1. The six ways to sell jewellery...

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    hand_druzy_rocks

    Six ways to sell jewellery

    With some 20 years in the jewellery world under my belt, you’d think I’d be well placed to comment on the jewellery world, but even now, every day is a school day. Twenty years on the market is, as it should be, still evolving, maturing and developing – which along with trends on the high street makes for an ever shifting target.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that there are six main ways that jewellery is marketed, displayed & purchased.

    Firstly, by colour (this applies mainly to boutiques, matching jewellery with clothes or accessories) and also by seasonal colour – an Indian summer requires Turquoise jewellery as we all know…

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    Secondly by brand. This is the big numbers section, with everyone fighting to create themselves as a brand (Note: this becomes easier the more money you have) So we have top end brands such as Gucci and Chanel, medium brands such as Pandora and Thomas Sabo and so forth along the spectrum based on price, availability and perceived value.

    My third option is by style. Here I’m thinking of chokers, long necklaces, chandelier earrings for example. You can’t display fine chokers alongside chunky monkeys because the message is lost, the eyes of the consumer have no time to adjust and you confusion is the end result.

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    Option four is by era. Is it vintage, or simply retro? Is it an antique or last seasons? Are we talking 1920’s or 1980’s? There’s a huge difference in price and usually in materials. Vintage jewellery is a much maligned term comprising everything from Chanel flea market finds to paste sparklies.

    Price is an important factor in marketing. Every market has a top and a bottom and every conceivable niche in between. It’s important to figure out where you are on the spectrum as a store/brand as this will affect your marketing and displays.

    Finally, my last category is by materials. All materials are not born equal, so you cannot display gold jewellery alongside costume jewellery, or resin alongside platinum – It denigrates the more expensive product and confuses the consumer. Hence more expensive jewellery is usually in locked cabinets, thus giving out the signal, ‘Hey’ I cost more than the stuff on the table’

    So far, so clear, and as I’ve already alluded, the goal posts are in permanent flux when you factor in that jewellery is more fashion led than most products on the market. so this Summer’s hot shade of Coral pink is most definitely not going to be the colour of Summer 2017 – That we can all agree on.

    Within the silver jewellery world, my little corner of a vast industry. We’ve noticed a couple of new trends, as well as new styles of photography and marketing of those trends. The first of these is ‘message’ jewellery or ‘Indicia’ jewellery as we’ve named it. This is essentially a cross between jewellery as fashion and gifting jewellery – so the jewellery might have a message on it, inscribed upon it, or the message can be on the supporting branding and artwork (ie the card behind it) Rising silver prices created this trend. As silver got smaller, the cards got bigger. Although lately, we’ve also seen this trend with plated jewellery, which is a bit confusing for consumers.

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    We’re prophesising a rise in jewellery for special occasions such as birthdays or for bridesmaids for instance. Here we don’t mean engagement rings or the like, but quirky occasions. So now, if you want to tell your bestie that you think Cornwall rocks for instance, you’ll be able to. Of course this won’t appeal to everyone, but with the laws of supply and demand, as consumers become more cognisant of how to create an emotionally driven piece of jewellery, this will become more attractive to end consumers (and therefore retailers) Think of this as an unexplored avenue in a busy town, or in estate agents parlance, up and coming…

    The latest trend to hit the market, and it is driven in no small way, by the runaway success of the Not on the High Street brand, is that of personalisation. Personalisation is huge for NOTHS, in fact their brand is pretty much built upon it. In some ways this overlaps the message jewellery trend, but in others it’s stand alone.

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    From all the trends in jewellery at the moment, we’d argue that this is the most exciting because it offers so many options for a great customer experience. If a customer comes into your store for a personalised product, you are entering into a different relationship to the traditional pick a product and hand over some cash, model.

    This transaction takes more time for sure, but anyone who’s gifted a personalised present will know that it gets an amazing response with shares on social media and everyone asking ‘where did you get that done?’ I’m not saying you should replicate the NOTHS model for success, but as a point of differentiation and an access to new consumers and return consumers this new style of jewellery gifting offers so much more on its investment than simply selling a blue bracelet.

    What do you think ?

    Make_time_for_yourself

  2. An A-Z of retail...

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     A-Z retail

    The face of retail has changed so much over the past few years. So I've come up with my own A to Z for successful independent retailing.

    A is for Advertising: Whether you consider it an enhanced form of communication or merely manipulation, most of us consider it necessary for our businesses. In fact, I could write a whole article just on advertising come to think of it...

    B is for Budgets: I'm on safer ground here. If you don't have a budget then you might get a nasty shock. This happens when you haven't done your sums right, and it turns out that all your profit is tied up in your stock room!

    C is for Credit: Be nice to your suppliers and you can negotiate favourable credit terms.

    D is for Define your niche: OK, so I've pulled that one a bit, but if you don't define your niche you can end up chasing any opportunity that presents itself, which often results in a mismatch of styles, stock and confused customers.

    E is for Employees: Sooner or later you're going to have some. Start off with contracts and write everything down - this will save you a lot of heartache.

    F is for fashion: Also known as trends. It is the cyclical law of nature that as things go up, they come down. Fashion reinvents itself each and every season. While giftware doesn't follow quite so rapidly, it can still become obsolete, so read magazines, visit tradeshows and generally do anything else that can keep you up to date with what's going on in your market.

    G is for Gift Vouchers: A fabulous way for happy customers to let family and friends know what they'd like from your store.

    H is for Happy face: There's nothing worse than a miserable face behind the counter. Be pleasant and make sure that your staff are. Why not employ a mystery shopper to independently grade your service. Remember that most people leave a business because they just don't feel valued or recognised.

    I is for Infectious enthusiasm: Yours specifically! To lead a team you must be enthusiastic. If you have no team and its just you and the customers then you still need to be enthusiastic (see previous letter)

    J is for Just looking: You're going to hear that a lot! Rather than asking the age old dumb question - "Do you need any help?" Perhaps you could instead ask a better question - such as, for example - Have you seen our new collection of X....? At the very least you won't get the just looking answer.

    K is for keyword search: In our technological age, make sure your store comes up under your chosen keywords.

    L is for Loss prevention: People will try to steal from you - Don't make it easy. Look for blind spots and instill good security habits as a key part of your staff training.

    M is for Marketing: Marketing is anything and everything you do to promote your business.

    N is for Newsletter: A great tool for communicating with your customers, reminding them that you're still there, that you have new stock in and putting a more human face on your business.

    O is for Operations Manual: You'll definitely need one of these as soon as you have your first employee, you'll notice that they don't do things like you do...! That's why you need the operations manual - it says how things should be done, in which order, when and by who.

    P is for Price: The all important question, how much to charge? My tuppence worth is that someone will always undercut you, so unless you are a pound shop, it's worth defining other areas as the USP for your business - service, stock, knowledge, design for example.

    Q is for Quest: Q is a hard one! I chose Quest because I see it as a positive word, a go getting word. Quest implies striving, searching and constant improvement.

    R is for Relationships: With your suppliers, your staff, the local council, the local media, and the wine bottle when its not going so good! Invest some time and make them as good as possible (with the exception of the wine bottle!)

    S is for Sales: Selling is a combination of art and science. Time invested in studying the psychology of selling is never wasted. Remember to sell benefits, not products, and always answer the oldest question "What's in it for me?"

    T is for Technology: You can't avoid it. So you might as well take a few courses and work out what tasks you need technology to do for you.

    U is for Uniform: Are you going to have one or are you confident that everyone else shares your good taste and style?

    V is for vision: Think about it, articulate it, print it and make a bit deal about it!

    X is for Xtra: OK, I stretched that one a bit. But every self employed person I know does more than a bit extra. Extra hours, extra jobs, extra learning, extra training. you get the idea.

    Y is for You: the one that generates the vision, the standards and delivers on it!

    Z is for Zero Tolerance: To anything that falls below standard, it's so easy to slide as standards slip imperceptibly, but standards are what set businesses apart