Chris Burslem

Chris Burslem

Chris Burslem is the group managing editor of INSTORE. He loves it when good ideas triumph.

Write on Friday, 18 April 2014 Published in Customer Service

If you’ve spent a bit of time exploring the new over the past few months, you’ve no doubt run into the occasional 404 error page. Trying to update a website that was originally built in 2003 is like playing an endless game of digital Whac-A-Mole. Just when you think you’ve fixed the last broken link, a reader email pops up in your inbox to tell you another exists.

Write on Friday, 11 April 2014 Published in Customer Service

The lawsuit by a group of Zale shareholders against the Signet takeover was predictable enough – it seems hardly a major merger takes place these days without such litigation. In this case, the suit filed by shareholder Mary Smart argues that the offer from Signet Jewelers to pay $1.4 billion to buy Zale Corp. grossly undervalues the smaller chain. Whatever the merits or even the real intention of the suit, it does raise an interesting point: What is a mall jeweler worth these days? (Signet seems to be suggesting a little less than $900,000 a store).

Write on Friday, 28 March 2014 Published in Customer Service

A new café in London made headlines a few weeks ago due to its unusual business model: you don't pay for your coffee or the wi-fi. Instead, you pay for the privilege to sit there, at a rate of 3 pence (about five cents) per minute.

Write on Friday, 21 March 2014 Published in Customer Service

Younger generations have probably always appeared to march to a different, less ethically rigid beat. Millennials, Gen Xers, Baby Boomers all seemed less bound by religion, less willing to follow societal norms, less willing to show blind loyalty to country … and employer.

Write on Monday, 17 March 2014 Published in Customer Service

Until a few years back, there wasn’t a major business school that specifically offered a course in merchandising. That situation is changing quickly and it’s now possible to specialize in merchandizing by industry (fashion, movie, convenience store …) or to focus on particular area (visual merchandising, in-store, inventory …).

In the jewelry industry, much of the discussion on merchandising tends to focus on the inventory side, and specifically replenishment (Are you re-ordering your fast sellers quickly enough? Are you taking advantage of what your data is telling you to maximize selling opportunities? Could you broaden your offerings in a strong category by offering more metals, sizes and styles?).

To be sure, making money IS interesting. But from a neutral’s perspective, it’s the visual side of merchandising that may find more intriguing, because the sales floor is such a fascinating place to watch humans behave. In theory, it’s a marketplace where people come to exchange money for goods. Yet the psychology involved runs deep, and this is especially the case with jewelry stores where shoppers aren’t simply buying an apple or loaf of bread, they’re trying to purchase something that is often connected to their most important emotional needs and to which it is really difficult to assign a dollar value.

Retailers know well they have to lure and entice shoppers and by appealing to just about all their senses – sight, sound, touch, even smell – to get them to lower their guard. The brand marketing. the ratios involved in a pyramid display, the studiously researched choice of material and color, lighting ranges and even the carefully choreographed sales presentations all suggest a certain level of manipulation inside a store. But as any store-owner can tell you, that is not a fair description of what happens inside. Shoppers are fickle and headstrong, and are quite unwilling to buy anything unless the conditions are perfect -- unless that diamond rings is presented in the right way, at exactly the right moment. Despite everything we know now about consumer psychology, it’s the shopper who is still very much in control.

Ultimately, the final barometer of a merchandising program’s worthiness is its ability to sell products. And this applies to the inventory side as much as the store environment.

In the upcoming issue off INSTORE, we look at merchandising and suggest an alphabet worth of small, clever ideas to help you better stock and sell products in your store. Please look out for the issue.

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