Let's talk about buying shows, holiday inventory, and internet advertising.
We're right in the middle of the trade show season and every show you go to will have plenty of options for holiday inventory and new trends that could work in your store. What is the most important reason you select new inventory for your store? We'd love to hear your feedback on that.
We attended the JA show in New York City from July 26th to 28th and asked some very hard questions to many vendors both large and small. Today we're going to review some of our findings.
We tried to divide our time equally between small designers, new designers, and well established jewelry manufacturers. We asked all of them what marketing assistance they offered their retailers, specifically how each one would help the retailer add content to their website. We spoke to many, and a few were willing to have their answers video tapped, which we will be publishing in the coming weeks.
In general, we found that most small and new designers already had product photography for every item they sold, and a few had prepared marketing materials for magazines or direct mail. We also found that every small designer was very passionate about their designs, and was willing to talk for hours about their artistry. These small designers didn't work in a corporate environment and were willing to do whatever it takes to help the retailer sell their product line. The small designer was prepared to provide photography, product descriptions, and promotional material to make your life easier.
On the other hand, many of the well established brands had a completely different attitude. The larger vendors usually have marketing departments and many have national advertising in various fashion magazines, but they don't always have photography of their entire product line. The main excuse we heard at the JA show was that they have too many items in their catalog to photograph them all.
Many large vendors will only give you product photography of the items you've purchased. They look at your recent orders and send you the images. Typically they provide images without product descriptions. From experience we know this process takes more than a week.
Very few vendors we spoke to were forward thinking and willing to give you their entire product catalog with descriptions and photography. These few have standard ring styles that are so common on many cold and faceless jewelry e-commerce sites.
Your marketing and store brand needs to set your website apart from your local competition. You have a choice of standardized and consumer recognized ads from large vendors, as well as playing by their rules. Or you could look closely at smaller designers that will provide product, photography, descriptions and even create unique marketing material for you.
We're not suggesting you stop buying from big vendors, but we feel you should consider the amount of time you will have to spend on marketing when you select items for your showcase. Working with smaller designers will set you apart from the other guy in town.
So what does all this have to do with your website?
Individual product information is what sells your jewelry. Someone looking at a pearl necklace woven with intricate wiring and stringing work might overlook the details; but add a description of how the intricate stringing was uniquely inspired by a cold winter storm and give it the name "Winter Storm" and a consumer could immediately fall in love.
Before you purchase your inventory ask your smaller designers for written explanations of their jewelry. The passionate designers will be excited to tell their story, and you will have instant content for your website without doing it yourself.