Gaining Market Share...

In this continuation of our Effective Cash Flow Management series, we address the subject of boosting market share and increasing sales volume.

To begin, let's discuss increasing sales volume back to your 2007 sales figures. Are you striving to recover your pre-recession level? We are seeing jewelers across the country regain that previous sales volume but, more importantly, many also have increased their market share, which will result in long term positive cash flow.

Even as the recessionary economy created struggles, it also yielded opportunities. We've worked diligently with our clients to take advantage of market opportunities and seek out avenues that would result in a greater piece of the jewelry pie, post-recession. As struggling retailers have closed their doors across the country, it has left open doors for aggressive retailers to reposition themselves.

Repositioning can be gained in a variety of ways:

  • Taking advantage of a more favorable lease or ownership for a new location with better visibility and traffic
  • Adding a highly recognized brand that may not have been available to you previously
  • Marketing to the customers who no longer have the jeweler they did business with for years
  • Improving your overall image in the marketplace

Each of these will help position you to have a greater market share when your geographic area begins its growth cycle.

Once sales are flowing again and there are fewer competitors in your marketplace, you have the opportunity to increase your share of market. Many jewelers who just returned from the Las Vegas shows are optimistic about the upcoming seasons. Although the summertime months can be slower volume, they don't have to be. There are several ways to capitalize on this often under-producing season:

First, a portion of the new product you ordered at the show should be coming into your store right away. Don't let it sit in the case until Christmas with an untold story, tell your customers now. Make summertime exciting and let your customers know what you have going on in your store today. The summer months should be used as your pre-Christmas build for advertising. Use this time to connect or reconnect with customers, so when the fourth quarter arrives, you are an expected and trusted name, not lost in the holiday advertising blitz. Lack of advertising dollars is no longer an excuse; the Internet has made the job of staying in touch with customers far less expensive and as fast as a keystroke.

Second, use the summer months to update your mailing list--both traditional mail and e-mail--by calling customers and reconnecting with them over the phone. This personal touch, accompanied by providing a compelling reason to come to your store, such as new inventory from a recent show, will strengthen the relationship between you and your customer.

Third, use the time to re-energize both product and sales training. The new merchandise you will be receiving over the next few months should be accompanied with product knowledge and sales training. It doesn't matter if it is not a new line; even new pieces in an existing line have new features and the staff needs training about them. Have your staff practice selling it to one another and focus on features and benefits of each new piece. Wouldn't you rather they practiced with one another than on your customers?

Remember: it's not too late. If you have not yet taken advantage of these opportunities there are still many available leases with favorable terms, and interest rates are still low. There is still plenty of time to better your marketing techniques to reach your former--or current competitor's present--customer, and there are always ways to improve your image and draw traffic. The key is taking the time to create a plan and then sticking to it. Regardless, if you have been striving to regain your 2007 sales volume or have already exceeded it, there is always room to grow. By strategically thinking, you can increase your market share. As your sales volume grows, so should your cash flow.