The 20-40-40 Rule

Posted: March 26, 2024


Click to view March 2024 Southern Jewelry News.

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

One of the simplest ways to enhance the perceived value of a piece of jewelry in a showcase is to display it in a more “featured” manner. Rule #1 in visual merchandising is to feature what you want to sell!  Bury the piece in your crowded case and you are sure to make it more difficult for your buyer. Make it easy to see – and to buy.

One good rule of thumb that I found works is the 20-40-40 rule. Here it is:

Take the top 20% of the merchandise (i.e. the pieces you want most to sell) in a given showcase and display these nicer pieces on individual elements. Single ring fingers, earring stands whatever, as long as there is only 1 piece of merchandise on that display. These are the best so make them look that way!

Now take the next 40% tier of merchandise and display those better pieces in trays of only a few items together. Think ring trays that hold 3 or 5 rings at most or low density earring stands. The goal here is to make these pieces appear special (better), but not as special as those top 20% (best)!

Lastly, take what pieces you have left (that bottom 40% of “good” pieces) and put them in trays of higher density. Here you can use those ring trays that hold 7 or 9 or 12, whatever you need to do to display your complete selection. Chances are the customer for this price point is looking for a broad selection and a tray with 12 pieces will give them that.

Step back and check out your handiwork. You’ll see that the best pieces stand out (a good thing). They look special because you have treated them as special. It will be easier to sell the features and value of these pieces because you have treated them in a manner that reflects their value.

Next you’ll see that your mid-priced goods look better. They are organized and attractively displayed. They look like an attractive alternative if I can’t afford to go upmarket to those best pieces.

And then, your lower priced goods are collected, looking good and displayed as the lower market choice. I do not feel badly when I shop this tray as all the merchandise in that tray is at a similar price point and I can just focus on choosing the right piece for me.

Apply this 20-40-40 rule in your showcases and see if you see a difference in sales and customer reactions. If you do, great, then build on the concept in all your cases and windows.

If you do not see a change, for goodness sake, then try something else!

You see, I believe there is another informal 20-40-40 rule to apply here.

About 20% of the jewelers in retail try new things and grow as a result. The next 40% of jewelers think about new strategies, agree they are needed, but do not actually try them out or take other action. The bottom 40% never consider or try new things and wonder why business is not growing the way it used to. Change is good – 100% of the time!

Call me for a free consult on how to apply this principle in your store!