Wish lists are in important part of any successful jewelry store. Inviting a "just browsing" customer to start a wish list creates the potential for future sales, especially when you also ask for the email address of their significant other to whom to send the wish list to.
Some stores hold evening events a few times each year where no buying is allowed, but everyone creates a wish list.
Do you maintain wish lists in your store? What do you do with them when a customer writes them out?
We know of a few jewelers that still keep index card sized wish lists even though their point of sale computer allows them to computerize it. Those index cards do have a classic charm and an obvious personal sales touch to them, and of course they are still the only option if a jewelry store doesn't have an easy to implement computerized wish list method.
We're not exactly sure who started the online wish list, but certainly it was popularized by Amazon.com. Their wish list success comes from the fact that they have an uncountable number of products in an equally uncountable number of product categories. Each one of us can populate our Amazon.com wish list with gift items for any holiday, and at every price point. Savvy internet users understand that Amazon.com is ubiquitous and will search that site for their friend's wish list when the gift giving season comes around.
Unfortunately your jewelry store won't have the immediate name association for wish lists like Amazon, but that shouldn't stop you from creating your own wish list buzz. Here are some ideas to help create the buzz.
First: You need a website with a bunch of products. You will need at least 20 items in every *product category* and sub-category to start. That's every category you have, not your total catalog. If you have 20 product categories you will easily have 400 or more online items. Casual online browsers will only glance at each product for 28 seconds before moving to the next item. Avoid customer disappointment by giving them more items to browse through online. Ideally your entire set of inventory should be online.
Second: Make sure the items online are actually available in your store. Once you start advertising your wish list you want to gain the reputation of having the perfect gift available for the last minute buyer, instead of the jeweler that never has anything good in stock and is such a disappointment.
Third: You need to advertise your wish list. Use your direct mail and print advertising to invite customers to create a wish list and browse your online catalog. Let's assume that you also collect birthday and anniversary information from each customer. As those important dates draw near you should send email reminders for the customers to update their wish lists.
Forth: Turning the wish lists into sales will require some way to spread the word. You could ask the wish list holder to submit email addresses so you can send emails on their behalf. You could also send the customer an email for them to forward to friends and family. And of course, you should create a way to allow easy sharing of each person's wish list to Facebook so they can show their friends.
Fifth: Use the website wish list in your jewelry store. Don't maintain discrete wish lists in your store and online. Your website will reach far more people than anything you do in your store, so migrate the entire thing online. When someone comes shopping in person it's should be a simple matter to print out a specific wish list for in store browsing.
Sixth: Have your website programmer create an attractive wish list printout instead of just printing a web page screen. Anyone can print a wish list from their computer at home, but this attractive printout will provide a better in-person sales presentation for a fine jewelry store. You could also mail (or email at a PDF) these printouts to significant others.
Naturally the website wish list feature is valuable for the holiday season, but to be effective your website needs to be in full operation before the end of September.
Many jewelry stores will say "My store isn't big enough to necessitate a wish list," but those same jewelers have them in-store. This is another, essential, opportunity for your website to reflect your brick and mortar.