The jewelry trade show season is picking up again. Now is the time to reexamine your plan for the rest of the year and the inventory you have in your store. Can you do a stock balance? Should you reorder the same styles? Should you add a new designer line to your store?
Correctly answering those three questions will increase the sales in your store, and of course an incorrect answer could cause another year of slow financial recovery. From my experience, most jewelers will ask their industry peers for product recommendations before adding a new product line to their store, but they should also be asking Google for their advice.
Google Trends is a wonderful online tool that can help you make an informed business decision right from the buying room floor. All you need is a mobile device with access to the internet.
The latest version of Google Trends seems to work just as well on a smartphone and tablets as it does on your desktop. The following directions will apply to any device.
Navigate your way over to http://www.google.com/trends
That page should look like the normal Google home page with an image of the hottest trend for that moment. You can type any search phrase in the box, but in this case you should look up the name of the designer line you are considering adding to your jewelry store. From previous research I know that there's a lot of online data for Pandora so I will use them as an example.
Should you carry Pandora jewelry in your store or is the sun setting for interest in this brand? Let's find out...
Typing "pandora" into the Trends search box will immediately reveal that Pandora Jewelry and Pandora Radio are mixed together in the results. Google give your several related links, among them you will find "pandora jewelry," "pandora charms," and "pandora bracelet." But before you click one of those links you should click (or tap) on your country from the map that also appeared.
For this example I will click on the United States and then the State of California. Once you've narrowed your view to your local region you can pick one of the three jewelry related links from the list of "Related terms" that are provided. I'm clicking "pandora jewelry" first.
Google automatically displays the "Metro" view of the map. This might be a little confusing at first, so click the link for "City" below the map to see a more customary view. The blue circles on the map will display different sizes relative to the amount of people searching for that phrase around that area of the state.
Before you make a determination on carrying Pandora Jewelry in your store you would want to review the same blue circles for the phrases "pandora charms" and "pandora bracelet."
If the search volume is high for your local area, you should be able to use the brand's own marketing material to attract interest to your website, and then your store. But if the search volume is low, you will probably have an uphill battle of educating customers about the brand before they are willing to buy. Alternatively, you might not even use the designer's name in any of your advertising.
Another thing to pay attention to is the graph at the top that shows "Interest over time." Make sure you pay attention to the peaks and valleys, since they should indicate search interest around popular holidays and events.
The most favorable search volume chart will show a steady increase in search popularity over time. It's probably a good investment for your store if the chart is sloping upwards. You should probably walk away if the chart reflects a downward slope for the last 8 to 12 months--there's no need to invest in designer brand inventory if customers are already losing interest.
Using Google Trends as a product barometer will only work for designers and brands that have spent a lot of advertising money. It won't work for Stuller and it won't work for Royal Chain. But it might work if you look up the designer brands that Royal Chain promotes, like Stil Novo, Phillip Gabriel, Karisma, and Personality.
This process is not at all perfect, and many times there won't be enough trending data for Google to show results. But it's good to use as one extra business tool while making your inventory decisions.