7 Minute – Most Common Mistake

The most common display mistake retail jewellers make, and how to correct it.

Frequently when I am giving seminars or consulting with store owners about their displays, I am asked if there is one “most common mistake” I see. The answer is always easy. Yes, there is. It is the lack of “intention” in the showcase. Stated differently, it is the absence of awareness or a plan or strategy for how the merchandise is shown. There are several obvious symptoms that indicate this condition exists. See if your cases suffer from this dreaded condition!

You can tell a case that is lacking in intention by the fact that the jewellery is just “put in” the case without much thought. You can almost see the sales associate that installed the case that morning just quickly “trying to get it all in” before the doors are unlocked. Trays are lined up like soldiers. Rings are crooked in the displays. Tags are hanging out and disheveled. Big neckforms feature tiny pendants. The case is a mess because no one has taken the time to really “look” and see what their customers are seeing. No one has asked, ”What are we trying to do here, What do we want most to sell, What are we conveying to the client?”

Good news! There is a sure-fire, permanent cure for this malady and it can be yours at no charge if you follow a few simple steps and take your blinders off.

Step 1- Realize that successful jewellers do not just “display” their goods, they “present” them. Some jewellers unknowingly become complacent in setting out their merchandise because it is a daily exercise that is almost a mindless part of getting ready for the day, like putting on socks. The important difference is that the manner in which the merchandise is positioned in the case directly impacts not only how many people see it but how its value is perceived by the customer. I realize you cannot make every piece special in a case with dozens of choices, but you can make the pieces you want most to sell look special. Once you have put your goods in the case, take a moment and walk out from behind the cases and look, really LOOK at your selection. Is it inviting? It is organized well? Can you see everything without shadows or piece blocking each other? Is the case adequately lit? Does the case convey the impression you want?

Step 2- Display your merchandise in a manner befitting its role in the case. Feature the best items more prominently that the lesser pieces. I like the “20-40-40” rule. Put the best 20% of the merchandise in the case in individual displays (like single ring fingers or earring stands.) It is the “BEST” so display it like it is. It deserves a distinctive setting so when you tell your customer something great about it, the presentation (There’s that word again!) is compatible with what you are saying about it. Now take the next 40% of your merchandise and put it in trays that hold 3 pieces. This merchandise is your BETTER goods. It is not displayed like the BEST but it is displayed in a way that is better than the last 40% or “GOOD” merchandise.. The “GOOD” (Bottom 40%) merchandise is shown in trays of 5, 7, 9 or more. These high density trays show selection and are there to make the better and best goods sell more. Think about this. You have this gorgeous ring that is superior in every way. You can discuss its beauty for hours, doesn’t it deserve to be displayed individually? If you take that ring out of a tray of 11 other rings, isn’t that visually incongruent with what you are saying about it? Make sure your displays match what you are saying about a piece.

“Think about this. You have this gorgeous ring that is superior in every way. You can discuss its beauty for hours, doesn’t it deserve to be displayed individually?”

Bottom Line: If you find your showcases are suffering for a lack of intention, try these ideas. Then take this concept of merchandising with intention even further.

Keep images of how your cases look on the first of each month so when you look at your sales results, you’ll have a record of what worked and what didn’t. Try new things in your cases. Remove old stock to make it easier to find the new stuff. Put a plan together to increase sales of your merchandise by improving your display.
Keep your head in the game! Fight the temptation to let the routine of daily store life to allow your cases to slip back into complacency. Paying attention to your cases will pay handsome dividends!

If you’d like a free “Daily store opening checklist” send me an email to Larry@LarryJohnsonConsulting.com with the word “checklist” in the title and I’ll send one to you.