Confessions of a shopaholic
I have a confession to make. I’m a Nordstrom shopaholic; every summer, countless Nordstrom shoppers like me look forward to their iconic Anniversary Sale. For those that aren’t Nordstrom shoppers, the service-oriented retailer runs an annual anniversary sale, featuring new products for the fall and winter at sale prices. It’s a win-win for both shoppers and Nordstrom.
Thinking about the sale in the context of 2020, it’s clear the jewelry industry ought to learn from Nordstrom. In 2020, change is the only true constant. Covid has dramatically changed our plans for the foreseeable future, and there is a presidential election also on the horizon. Rather than hoping for a stellar holiday season, we must be proactive and create events earlier in the year to drive jewelry sales.
What makes the Anniversary Sale special?
Shoppers eagerly await the sale because they are afforded the opportunity to see the newest and latest designs and buy before anyone else. As an added bonus, the items are offered at special sale prices. It’s a refreshing proposition. Most times, shoppers have no idea when new merchandise hits the shelves. Most “sales” are leftovers, discounted to clear the racks; what shoppers do buy has to be tucked away till the following year, delaying gratification. To add e
xtra buzz, Nordstrom offers early sale access to Nordy Club members before opening to the public, and the new merchandise is shown in curtained off sections of the store. This is a unique experience, which makes shoppers feel special.
For Nordstrom, the sale offers multiple benefits.
First, the sale draws attention, builds excitement, and creates traffic in-store and online. This is incredible, especially when one considers that the higher-end retail market is usually quiet in late summer. As most jewelers can attest, August is usually marked by vacation and back-to-school preparations. Second, the sale helps identify best selling items amongst new inventory. Rather than speculate or wait for holiday traffic, merchandising managers can review hard sales data from the sale, determine what items sold best and efficiently re-order. T
his newfound information helps keep stores stocked with the right merchandise. By avoiding both stockouts and excess inventory, Nordstrom increases returns on invested capital and improves cash flow.
Jewelers can drive sales, by learning from Nordstrom best practices.
To help brainstorm, here are four initial ideas to consider:
- Plan a special event(s) in late September/early October - This special window is after the start of school but before the start of Halloween festivities and heavy election chatter. Be sure to offer layaway for clients who want to pick up closer to Christmas. As an additional perk, your workshop will have extra time to execute custom orders.
- Explain the special nature of your event - Highlight special event pricing. Offer “first dibs” on your newest product. Explain the short-term nature of the event. This helps build a buzz. With work from home, limited vacations and excursions, many customers are seeking out retail therapy; become their “retail therapist.”
- Invite your best customers to personal 1:1 appointments - Offer a highly personalized invitation and follow up with a luxurious shopping experience. This flatters customers and helps you deliver a focused presentation. As an added benefit, 1:1 appointments help comply with social distancing regulations. - Request product support from vendors - Covid has afforded wholesalers extra time to produce beautiful new jewelry. Reach out to your vendors to curate and refresh your product mix. Wholesalers are also looking for opportunities to partner and increase sales; start a conversation and determine how to deliver the best consumer experience.
I appreciate that a special event may be daunting in the current environment, but you already have the requisite skills and experience to succeed. 2020 has been fraught with challenges, yet we are resilient. Let’s seize the opportunity to work smarter and more profitably in 2020 and beyond.