Ask yourself “Why?” and watch sales increase

Posted: April 30, 2024

Click to view May 2024 Southern Jewelry News.

This article was originally posted in the May 2024 edition of Southern Jewelry News.

Anyone that spends much time around young toddlers has likely experienced that beautiful age in which the child constantly asks, “Why?” when responding to any instruction. The redundancy in which the question is asked can drive a parent to resort to that catchall answer, “Because I said so!”

My suggestion for you in this column is to attempt to momentarily connect with your own inner child and explore the question of “Why” in your own stores operation by asking:

“Why do we do it this way?”

“Why do we put this merchandise in this case as opposed to over there?”

“Why are those rings displayed together?”

“Why are those rings priced at that higher price?”

“Why is this ad for next week’s downtown jazz festival on top of this showcase where it is blocking the light?”

“Why do you start your bridal sales presentation with those words instead asking ___?”

As a person interested in improving the performance of your store, you might take a critical look at your location and ask your colleagues “Why?” In the times I have asked this question in a client’s store, I have heard the following answers:

“I don’t know.”

“It has always been that way.”

“Because, somebody said to do it this like this.”

“Oh, I hadn’t noticed it was like that.”

“It is the only way I can get all this into the case.”

“Because I thought it looked ‘nice’ that way.”

Or, that standby answer…

“Because I said so.”

All of these answers leave much to be desired, both in creativity and in impact on the store’s P&L.

Here are a few acceptable answers:

“Because it is easier for me to sell up when the items are displayed this way.”

“Because the perceived value of the items is greater on those type of displays.”

“Because the goods organized this way match how the customer shops for these items.”

“Because setting up the cases like this matches the steps I go through when making a presentation on this category thereby making my sales presentation smoother and more successful.”

“Because we tested this showcase layout over the last few months and we sold 23% more.”

Obviously, the difference in answers can be summarized by the term “customer centric”. The right answers are based in the intention to increase sales by making everything in the store’s shopping experience based on increasing sales. Make everything in the store focused on that goal.

I prefer a showcase that is not so “pretty” but sells $50,000 a year to another beautiful case nearby doing $25,000. Arrange each case to be totally about making the merchandise look good, look worth the price, be easy to shop and match how sequence of selling points/benefits the salesperson will follow in the presentation. Test different ideas in your cases and keep track of what works and what doesn’t. (Hint: Do more of the things that work and change the losers to something else!)

This applies to your sales presentations as well. In August last year, my wife and I visited an art gallery in Banff, Alberta, Canada as part of a shopping day while on vacation. I was particularly enamored with a beautiful bronze statue the shop offered, and while I was waiting for the shop owner, I overheard his sales presentation to another shopper looking at a different bronze. “Can you believe it? This magnificent piece started as a lifeless mound of clay. It was then shaped by her talented hands – over hours of work in her studio – into the creation she had mentally envisioned before she had even started with the clay. Finally she took the clay and through multiple steps cast this permanent piece for us? The result of all this work is this beautiful sculpture and it’s only $XXXX. Can you believe it?”  Yes, the sale was made.

Sales presentations are about answering the “Why?” question when it isn’t even actually asked. Substitute “wax” for “clay”, add a few words about the romance of the stones in the piece and try a similar approach in your sales presentation. It is the best way to answer the question of WHY the price of this piece is as it is.

Time to try something new! Your showcase arrangements are likely not nailed down. It is a good time of year to try a few new ideas before this year’s holiday season arrives. Try some new showcase display arrangement. Try a different sales presentation. Try anything new that proves to work better than what you did before.

Break out of your comfort zone and try something new if for no other reason than “I said so.” Good luck and let me know if I can help.

BTW – I am creating a new website with a collection of visual merchandising ideas, hints, videos and articles. It will contain a display planning calendar and lots of free information for your store. The address will be I am also adding content to a Facebook page with the same name. Check them out.