Your Showroom – what are the good, the bad and the ugly thoughts you should consider when moving or renovating?
We discussed the back of the house but the showroom is for customers. You need to wow them, engage them, relax them, compliment them. Sounds like a lot for one showroom to encompass but I’ll ask you questions, make comments and help you make some decisions.
What functions does your showroom have? Retail, of course, but what other items could be on your wish list – a diamond / appraisal / private selling office? a custom design area? a lounge? a coffee bar? Analyze what you have & how it works. Then – how can you improve it?
Retail is showing product. Think about incorporating some walk up wall cases or some walk around cases. Staff & customer talking side by side is friendlier than over the case selling. Consider separating diamonds as more traditional selling from watches, fashion, silver & gold merchandise in an open sell. What about a play table for customers to touch & try on jewelry without a sales person? Locate it close to the cash so that you can answer questions. Work stations for staff members gets them away from the cash desk & gives them space to make calls, write notes & perform all those clienteling tasks so important today. A coffee bar, comfy seats, and toys – all are important & can be accommodated either in separate rooms or an intimate area. Space will dictate this. What about vendor shops? Do you want to incorporate 1 or more? A word in your reps ear can start this ball rolling. For new vendors, a discussion with that company can excite them with possibilities. Make sure that stores in your neighborhood do not carry this merchandise before approaching them or pitch your new exciting space as an alternate location.
All that merchandise must be set up & put away every day. Location of safes or a modular vault is very important. Easy in & out is paramount. The location of the cash & repairs business must be considered. Consider 1 centralized cash & an additional 1 or 2 on the floor for busy times. Should the repair take in & pick up be separated from the cash? It is vitally important that you plan your business for growth. People have less time & hate waiting. Take that into consideration.
What about a private office or area to deal with customers? Whatever your decision, make sure it is visually open to eliminate customer fear of being trapped but with blinds or some way to provide discretion for those customers who wish it. Make sure it is designed to accommodate the latest ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) standards.
Should custom design be a table with computer and chairs in a quieter corner of the store or a specific area where one or more of your computer literate staff members can work with customers? Make sure you have a “look” book and that custom designs rotate on the plasma screen near by, when it isn’t showcasing the piece you are working on with your customer.
While you are reviewing your operational needs, think of compiling a “look” book of visuals that express your store’s brand. Design your store so that it reflects wherever you are in the country – regionalism is a big deal now. Generic “good design” does not make it. In putting together a budget, take the rifle approach rather than the shotgun one. Resolve to spend money on a few things and look at what else can be reused and/or refurbished. A few truly luxurious items in a space contribute greatly to the ambience. Sell your old showcases, even if you don’t get much for them as long as the purchaser will dissemble them & take them away. Cabinetry can be donated to Habitat for Humanity, so less is dumped in the landfill and you don’t need to spend so much on dumpster rental.
Finally, to ensure that your jewelry looks good as do your customers, hire a lighting designer for your store who truly understands not only how to make your jewelry sparkle but also ensures your diamonds are presented in their true colour. Good luck!