by Kristin Krull.
(Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA)
Listen, you may have the most beautiful, breath taking jewelry in town, but in my experience, if all you do is lay it flat on a table or prop a piece or two up on some generic display, people are more likely to walk right by it.
Give them something that will stop them in their tracks! People want to be dazzled, and they naturally gravitate toward eye-catching displays. So how do you get them to stop-n-shop at YOUR table? Read on.
I make and sell jewelry for a living, and I do as many trunk shows each month as I can handle. While I prefer to do shows with no competition, every now and then a store I sell jewelry in will have an open house featuring all their designers. This means that customers can have up to 6 other tables to browse, not to mention the store’s own merchandise. If you don’t have a knack for merchandising, you can start by simply stepping up your game by one-upping your competitors.
Take a look at how each artist display’s their jewelry. What do you like about it, and how can you take his/her idea and go a step beyond? Here are a few examples of how to use what other artists are already doing to help improve your own display, in no particular order of importance.
I have an artist friend who lays her jewelry out on a beautiful patterned cloth that she brought home from India. Now, I’ve seen her have conversations with her customers about her travels and how she acquired the cloth, which is fine, but aren’t we here to sell jewelry? Are the odds of her making a sale in her favor by having a conversation about something other than her jewelry?
Perhaps the conversation will convert to her jewels in a few minutes, but what if it doesn’t? What if something pulls the customer away, like a ringing phone, or an impatient child? Had the fancy cloth not been there, the artist could have used that short amount of time to engage the customer in her jewelry.
Lesson learned: get a non-fussy, no-distraction, simple black or grey table cloth. White could work too, but then you have to deal with every little stain. Stick with dark, neutral colors.
Point of Perspective
Most jewelry artists have a little something to prop their jewelry onto. A velvet neck form is common, or a t-bar.
Yet, I see a lot of customers bending at the waist to peer down at the jewelry.
Lesson learned: try to get your displays not just an inch or two off the table, but higher– maybe high enough to meet your eye-line.
Believe it or not, there are many tiny little things that need to occur to get someone to pull out their wallet. I know that even when I’m bending at the waist to shop around, it gets tiresome! Not just physically tiring, but mentally. Think about it– when you shop, after a certain amount of time looking for that special something, at some point you’re going to stand up straight and take one last glimpse around the area to see if anything stands out, which means anything lower than eye level just fell out of your visual field.
Whose display gets the last glance? Well, likely mine will, because I’ve taken extra effort in getting my displays as vertical as possible by using clear acrylic stands, simple sturdy boxes, stackable wood trays, and I have branches I bought from Michael’s that I hang necklaces on (above eye-level, now that’s different!).
I have collected so many different kinds of displays throughout the years, but that doesn’t mean I use every one of them.
Before a trunk show I think about the setting – if it’s spring, I’ll use any display made of light wood, and my centerpiece is a bundle of flowering branches. If it’s winter, I’ll use more black velvet displays and the branches will be bare (no flowers).
Keeping your props consistent (in color, texture, and purpose) will not only offer a sense of order in an otherwise cluttered area but will also allow for a more cohesive look to your overall display.
I’ve seen it with my own eyes: people spend more time in a more carefully crafted, visually controlled space than one with a mish-mash of random displays.
I’ve seen so much jewelry spread all over a table that it’s almost overwhelming. It’s practically impossible for your eye to see everything being offered because your eye has no where to land. What a shame!
We spend so much time making all this beautiful jewelry and your customer won’t even notice all of it.
As a consumer, when I’m faced with overwhelming options, my brain has to work harder to find what interests me.
Maybe a certain color or shape will pop out, and my eye will fall on that. The ultimate goal when it comes to merchandising your jewelry should be that the customer sees at least 90% of what you have to offer.
This is hard to accomplish when you have your jewelry randomly scattered all over the table, and harder if you have a distracting table cloth, and even harder if everything is at waist-level. Think about it – what would get your customers’ eyes to land on an area of your display? Put similar items in groups, put your very best pieces on a prominent (but not distracting) prop (like a life-sized velvet bust), put your best sellers right in front, and if you’re offering specials, don’t waste precious table space with a sign, but rather take the opportunity to engage in conversation with your customer and explain your special discounts verbally.
This not only creates likability, but you have become accessible and available to customer should she have any questions. Now that she knows who you are and that you’re there to help, you have just made yourself the most important person in the room.
Not only do I scope out the area in which I will having a trunk show days before the show, but I also plan to be the first of all my competitors to arrive. This allows me the chance to obtain an area with the best light and the best feng-shui of the room, like near the register for example, or the punch bowl. I’ve seen a lot of artists covet the table nearest the store front door– so that their jewelry will be the first the customer sees, but I like to think a step ahead. If there’s an event going on in the store, especially one with complimentary drinks or food, most people walk right by the first table.
They want to see what’s going on around the entire store first; where to get a drink, maybe where the register is, the layout of the store, where the magic is. It is a delightful feeling to observe customers who are scanning the room, looking for something to be drawn to, and that thing is your display. Never mind the first table, there’s something fabulous going on over by the dressing rooms (ahem, my table).
“Mirror-Mirror Not on the Wall”
Unless your table happens to be right next to a store mirror, always always bring your own, and have it strategically and conveniently placed among your jewelry. Do have one that is on a stand that doesn’t block your displays, but rather blends in with the display nicely. I use a lot of light wooden displays and I recently found a mirror in a light wood frame that comes on a stand and that swivels.
Triple perfection. Some of my competitors have hand-held mirrors, which does the job, but what I’ve noticed is that when people try on jewelry they use both hands to 1) get the jewelry on, 2) touch the jewels with both hands (I’ve read that the more you touch an item of interest, you are 27% more likely to buy it) and 3) hold their hair or collar back to get a better feel of the jewelry on their body. Doing all this with one hand gripping a hand-held mirror, in my opinion, decreases the chance of making a sale.
Keep an Eye Out
for Things to Improve
So there you have it, 6 steps to increasing your chances of making the sale simply by the design of your display. Of course there are so many other things I could touch upon, but it gets very tedious. I’ve learned the things listed here merely by being a good observer, and then imagining what I can do to take things a step beyond. I get a lot of compliments on my display, and my display changes slightly from show to show to give my followers somewhere new for their eyes to fall.
Now that I have a whole cupboard full of basic displays with some visual consistency (all the light wood, the black props, the acrylic stands…) I keep my eye out for anything that might compliment my display. For example, I found this hallow, feminine bodice with an opening at the top that nicely holds my flowering branches–which is way more interesting than the heavy vase I was using.
It is a conversation piece all on its own, I’ve noticed, so when the topic turns from jewelry to “Where’d you get that pretty thing?” I quickly say I found it at a liquidation sale, and “look how nicely it holds up this big, colorful necklace”. Conversation turn-around complete.
Be the Best Place to Shop
The main lesson here is to do what you can to get your jewelry noticed without going overboard with distracting bells and whistles. You want to make the buying process like butter– easy, seamless, a no-brainer. Believe it or not, consumers can be lazy.
Do they have to bend at the waist to see your competitor’s jewelry? Then don’t make them bend to see yours. Do they have to ask your competitors what the price is for every piece of interest? Then make sure you have a clearly marked price tag for each item. Do they have to run across the store to find a mirror? Not at my table.
Does your competitor offer a similar item that you carry? How can you display this item so that the customer can find it easily? What’s your competitor doing? How can you do it better? This kind of thinking is what makes me the competition to beat.
I’ve noticed many artists do not have the energy to do what I do (perfect displays); I know this because they cheerfully say things like “Oh, I just have my little decorated shoe box and a velvet table cloth, but your display is gorgeous!” Three months later when we do another show together, has their display changed? Hardly. Has mine? You bet. It only gets better, and so do my sales.
Spotlight Posts are noteworthy because in some special way they embody the spirit of Jewelry Making Journal as a community for sharing artistic jewelry design, personal growth, and empowering business practices. – Rena