EXCLUSIVE: Jewellers reveal plans to increase sales during the Christmas trading period

LONDON - OCTOBER 28:  Shoppers browse wrist watches in a jeweller's shop window display on October 28, 2008 in central London, England. Retail figures showed some resilience against the onslaught of the financial crisis in October, but with predictions of worse to come, retailers are bracing themselves for a potentially disappointing Christmas.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

Independent jewellery retailers have revealed to Professional Jeweller what initiatives they will be using to boost sales during the lucrative Christmas trading season.

Initiatives vary from opening extra hours, to decorating the store and serving champagne, and using social media channels to promote products.

Independent jewellery retailer Judith Hart believes creating a Christmas environment can boost sales and increase footfall. For Judith Hart, setting a festive retail scene includes putting up decorations and creating a cinnamon scent.

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“We feel that sales can be boosted by creating a Christmas environment with fantastic decorations, cinnamon fragrance and a festive ambience,” explains owner Judith Hart. “Many brands offer GWP (gifts with purchase) and we support those which in turn gives our customers more than they could expect elsewhere, exceeding their expectations.”

Judith Hart Jewellers also offers complimentary gift wrapping, alongside sweeties and “goodies” and a glass of bubbly for special purchases.

Daniella Draper says she spends a lot of time and money on decorations in order to make sure the store looks amazing and inviting during Christmas.

Draper shares: “We get a fantastic local florist in to do all our wreaths and window displays, just to make the atmosphere and experience a bit more special. We also do a shopping evening where it is invite only and we offer champagne, to make it a nice exclusive event. We also offer homemade mince pies, just to try and make it as Christmassy, personal and special as possible.”

Daniella Draper stores also open longer hours throughout December to cater for consumers who finish work at 5pm. Elsewhere, Lincoln jeweller James Usher opens extra Sundays throughout the season.

At Brighton-based Goodman Morris, the independent jeweller hosts champagne weekends. Nicola Goodman comments: “Obviously we do a spectacular Christmas window which we hope will tempt people to come in. A glass of bubbly and some homemade mince pies seem to get people in a Christmassy mood.”

In addition, Goodman Morris use local advertising and run an annual secondary school design competition throughout the autumn term, with the prize giving taking place during the first week of December. Goodman says this is not only great fun, but also raises the store’s profile locally.

Online Goodman Morris continues to communicate with clients via social media. Goodman explains: “[Throughout Christmas] we are introducing a ‘workshop drop’ – we will make lots of twinkly new things, post them on social media and then ‘drop’ them into our website in a certain date with a promotional price for the first twenty four hours.”

Berry’s Jewellers will also be using social media platforms to boost sales.

“We are utilising our social media platforms as much as possible to ensure we are producing interesting and new content to help our Google rankings. We are aiming for page one on every brand,” shares Berry’s Jewellers groups operation manager Simon Oxby.

Johnny Rocket, founder of online jewellery retailer of the same name, adds: “With the total reliance on the new ecommerce site, all the initiatives I am focussing on are completely social media orientated. utilising my fashion blogging contacts, and associate collaborators social media links.

He continues: “I am hitting the web with beautiful images, mail outs and direct marketing content. keeping it simple and directed at our extensive contact lists.”

Alongside online initiatives, Berry’s Jewellers has also produced a brochure which was sent to over 10,000 customers.

Elsewhere, John Greed Jewellers is focusing on how to keep people outside the store. Greed explains: “At Christmas we don’t need to do anymore initiatives to get people in. We will be doing the opposite, we will be keeping people out. We will have a queue outside, we will have people managing the queue and we will have a barrier system, with one in, one out.”

This will be John Greed Jewellers first Christmas in its new space, so at the time of visiting Greed was looking at how he could add two more tills in before December.

While many enjoyed a boost during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales weekend, retailers now need to do everything they can to keep up the momentum throughout the rest of the Christmas countdown.

Company of Master Jewellers chief executive officer, Willie Hamilton, advises: “I would urge retailers not to commit the number one retailing sin this Christmas – running out of stock. The ‘want it now’ customer has changed the face of retailing, so having goods in stock and on the shelf is more of a priority than ever before.

“As for what retailers can to maximise sales this Christmas, they should simply continue to do what they do all year round – offer excellent customer service delivered by well-trained staff. Retail jewellers are not competing solely with other jewellers for sales any more – other luxury and giftware retailers are their competition now too, so their message needs to be clear about why customers should spend money with them over anyone else. Shopping locally is making a comeback, and trusted, independent retail jewellers are in a strong position to use this to their advantage, offering peace of mind, great value, great shopping experiences and something extra that makes customers feel warm and secure. I truly believe this is where independent retail jewellers can excel over their competitors and the multiples.”

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