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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Cleaning House just in time for the New Year

By Bill Boyajian

We've been redoing the floors upstairs in our home, so it means taking everything out of every room and moving it, only to have to move it all back in after the work is done. It's a pain, but it has to be done. What's more alarming is the stuff in our closets that has accumulated over the years. It's a bit scary.

We've also been going through the garage with a merciless purge of items that we have never used yet have somehow kept for unknown reasons. We aren't packrats, but it would be hard to argue us out of it if you were helping us clean up.

During this process of clearing out stuff that gets accumulated, it made me think of the clutter inside our businesses and even our lives. Our heads get so full of thoughts, opinions, and garbage that we have to do some mental gymnastics just to bring in new thoughts and ideas. Our minds get so entrenched with our past experiences that we can hardly fill them with anything new unless we purge those thoughts to allow new thinking to emerge.

Maybe it's time to reflect on what needs to be cleared out - physically and mentally. Otherwise we'll just hang on to valueless items far too long. Worse yet, we'll hold on to outdated and irrelevant beliefs and opinions that keep us from thinking and learning anew.

Is it time for cleaning house?

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

6 Ways Retail Jewelers Can Prepare for the 2018 Holiday Season

6 Ways Retail Jewelers Can Prepare for the 2018 Holiday Season  iStock-868966516-4
Sourced from and adapted for The Retail

The winter holidays are here and it’s time for retail jewelers to get their holiday campaigns underway.

1. Perfect Your Holiday Promotion Strategy
Developing a campaign strategy means determining the best way to promote your brand through the holiday season. Much of the focus is usually on the big holiday shopping days that fall just after Thanksgiving in late November: Black Friday and Cyber Monday.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, and New Year's Eve can also be vital to advertising success, as each holiday has its own competitive advantage. Once you determine which holiday(s) are ideal for your advertising campaign, it's easier to put your plan into motion.

2. Create Holiday-themed Promotions
Talking to others gets your creative juices flowing so you can prepare holiday-themed promotions that can be implemented when the time comes.

One effective promotion may be offers centered around your campaign theme, such as discounts on some of your bestselling items. Offers can also come in the form of content specifically created for holiday use. For example, gift guides give shoppers inspiration. A few ideas include:
● 15% off holiday themed pieces
● 5 gifts Mom/Dad will love for $50 or less
● What she really wants to see under the tree.

3. Look at Other Sales Opportunities
Not every holiday campaign is exclusive to Christmas. There are other shopping days tied to the holidays that deserve promotional attention, too.
Small Business Saturday is the day after Black Friday and two days after Thanksgiving. On this day, people are encouraged to show support for local businesses in their area. This is a prime opportunity for retail jewelers to offer shoppers big deals. According to a survey from American Express, which promotes Small Business Saturday, and the National Federation of Independent Business, 108 million shoppers spent $12.9 billion on Small Business Saturday in November 2017.

Since the holiday has already passed, don’t be afraid to repeat deals on select pieces or collections every Saturday leading up to Christmas.

Another promotional opportunity for online retailers is Green Monday, which falls on the second Monday of December. Back in 2007, eBay noticed that was one of its best days for online sales, so a "holiday" was born.

Finally, there's Free Shipping Day, an annual one-day event held in mid-December and targeted towards procrastinating shoppers who have to get their presents shipped quickly. This promotional holiday provides consumers with a way to buy a lot and save big on shipping charges, with a guaranteed delivery by Christmas Eve.

4. Prepare a Social Media and Email Marketing Calendar
With every marketing plan comes countless hours of research, refinement of tactics, creating a message, and cost analysis. What's next? A marketing calendar. A blueprint for the campaign launch process, a marketing calendar guides each stage, from initial planning to the precise time to increase online ad spending.

One thing you can do in advance is run organic campaigns on a platform such as Facebook Ads. Starting now gives you a head start to evaluate your audience to see what's trending, the content they're responding to, and the offers you think might be of interest to them.

When it comes to Facebook Ads, monitor ad performance regularly and make sure to follow Facebook's troubleshooting guide if there are problems. If your ads aren't getting results from consumers, you'll want to have time to rebound. But remember, according to a 2016 survey, 40 percent of U.S. consumers start their holiday shopping by Halloween.

5. Deploy a Social Media Strategy
Once you have your plan in place, it's time to get active on social media to get in front of the right audience before the winter holidays. Your marketing calendar comes back into play here. Think about what types of content you need to produce during the holiday season. Should you provide blog posts? eBooks? Be selective in your focus, because overwhelming your audience with holiday-related advertising to get them in the shopping mood doesn't cut it.

Your audience is likely to gravitate towards content that makes a difference in how they live or helps them narrow their holiday wish list. Engage with your audience and find out what it wants.

Get people talking, sharing, liking, and eventually buying. Have some fun. Ask your audience to share memorable moments with photos and the stories that go along with them. Branded hashtags for use on Instagram or Twitter keep the conversation going.

Choose content guaranteed to solicit positive responses and then schedule publications for November through December. Don't forget to monitor all social media accounts, as performance is paramount to campaign success. Also, social monitoring helps track keywords to better respond to those commonly used during the holidays.

6. Review Previous Performances
Analyze which campaigns worked well in past years and determine what made them work. Like life itself, marketing trends change. You may have to dig through archives of data to find out which campaigns worked, which didn't, and which platforms affected visibility and reach.

Review past reports and use social media marketing tools and analytics to make prudent budgeting decisions. This will help to determine where your resources are best used for the upcoming holiday season.

To sum it all up, successful holiday campaigns are all about preparation. Be clear about what you want to offer and use the right approach to draw shoppers online and into your stores.

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