Last week the first highly determined Black Friday shoppers started to set up camp in front of their favourite retailers to be the first to snatch up bargains on the opening day of the annual holiday buying frenzy. In the US, the day after Thanksgiving is the single biggest retail day of the year. At least it is for the big-box stores and the malls. But this is not necessarily true for the independent jewellery retailer.
Black Friday is the realm of the big players with huge marketing budgets peddling products with mass appeal. They use extreme loss-leaders to get door busting crowds leaving smaller independent retailers with empty stores. This is especially true for jewellery in particular. According to MasterCard SpendingPulse, the top three holiday spending days for the retail jewellery segment will be: Saturday, December 21, Friday, November 29, and Friday, December 20. Since this study includes mall and big-box stores, independent jewellers may not see strong sales on November 29. But you will see strong sales the last few days before Christmas.
Jewellery has always been seen as a safe bet for procrastinators. Most of your Super Saturday customers will be desperate last-minute shoppers. Their major concern is time. They only have a few days left to get gifts for everyone on their list. This is the time to focus on add-on sales. You will be doing them a huge favour if you can help them cross off as many names as possible in one stop.
There is something for every gifting need in a jewellery store to fit the entire range of price points. Giftware and accessories for business colleagues and friends, a silver bracelet for a favourite niece on up to that magnificent Ruby and diamond necklace for the wife are all in play during the last minute rush. Make sure they have everyone covered on their list before they leave your store.
Black Friday can be a very boring day for the small independent jeweller. Spending money to advertise your being open that day probably won’t help much. You can use this day in several productive ways. Get prepared for the exhausting month ahead by cleaning your store and making sure gift boxes, wrapping paper and other supplies are well stocked. This might be a good day to put up your holiday decorations or change your window display.
Or you can do what I eventually did: I closed on Black Friday! That gave my entire team two full days off to be with family for Thanksgiving. It would be the last two days off in a row that any of us would see until the tourist season ended in April or May. My staff not only deserved it, they needed to rest up for the holiday marathon.