It’s April. If you haven’t started making your plans for JCK Las Vegas 2015, at Mandalay Bay, May 29-June 1 you’re running late. As the industry’s premier jewelry show, with some 2,500 exhibitors under one roof, representing 145 product categories, you can’t show up and wing it. You need a thoughtful strategy that will maximize your experience.
“It’s never too early for retailers to plan for JCK Las Vegas,” says Lauren Laramore, director of marketing JCK Events. “We’ve made many enhancements to this year’s event including curating our show floor into neighborhoods based on product/service categories to make it even easier for buyers to navigate and shop.” One of the 23 neighborhoods that is a must see at JCK is the Plumb Club, billed as “connecting the best jewelers with the best jewelry.”
Pre Show Planning
The most important step is being pre-registered (lasvegas.jckonline.com), says Mark Smelzer, publisher of JCK Magazine/jckonline.com. “In May, pre-registered buyers receive a box of planning materials, including our JCK Show Guide, JCK Show Pocket Planner. The books contain a ton of information to use for pre-planning. Moreover, the April and May issues of JCK Magazine are packed with pre-show content.”
There are online planning options, too, cites Smelzer. “Visit lasvegas.jckonline.com, click on 2015 My Show Planner and start an account that will give jewelers the ability to discover new exhibitors, set up appointments, and track their itinerary. Once at the show, this information is available on any mobile device via the JCK Mobile App (free at the App Store).”
Within My JCK Show Planner retailers can search brands by product category, sort by neighborhood pavilions, see vendors with show specials, view new products, save favorites, and add appointments, says Laramore. She notes that this year, JCK enhanced its Match Service that provides retailers with recommended vendors to see based on product and price point interests.
In preparing for Vegas, Smelzer advocates jewelers talk it up with their clients. “By now, most savvy retailers have created a social media network of followers on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest. In a very organic way, retailers should begin sharing their excitement about attending the nation’s largest jewelry trade show in real time. Posts such as ‘I’m getting ready to attend the biggest show of the year!’ will excite followers. I’d even post a picture of the contents on the show planning box when it arrives, with a quote like ‘It’s getting real’. Also, let followers know you’ll be posting images of products you find exciting and that they can look forward to seeing in your store from the show floor in real time!”
Education is a key part of a successful show strategy. Make time for JCK Talks education sessions, which start a day before the show opens, on May 28, and continue through the week. “It’s like a mini-university for free,” says Smelzer. Sessions cover a range of topics including multi-channel marketing, attracting young consumers through social media, navigating the new consumer landscape to drive sales, and big data in retail.
At the Show
Laramore says the best way to navigate the show is to use the JCK Mobile app for a comprehensive digital show guide at your fingertips. “Retailers can view their My JCK Show Planner and navigate with booth-by-booth GPS directions, and have access to the latest schedule announcements and breaking news.”
Jewelers should try to visit as many sections of the show as possible, advocates Jennifer Heebner, senior editor, JCK Magazine/jckonline.com, reminding buyers to wear comfortable shoes. “You’ll always be surprised to find someone unexpected in an area that you might have thought you didn’t need to see. Also, take advantage of the free directional content offered on my Style 360 blog and on JCK Marketplace’s On Your Market blog.”
A must-see for buyers, Smelzer describes the Plumb Club as an essential part of the JCK Show experience. “The brands there are without parallel, and many are key part of the ‘stock in trade’ of most retailers, as well as a source of new, exciting ideas. And, the food and drink area in the center of the club is ideal for a moment’s rest, planning of next steps, or meeting with friends and associates!”
Showcasing 45 companies, the Plumb Club will look a little different this year, reflecting a “Celebrate America” theme in the pavilion. In fact, the group’s keynote speaker at its annual Saturday morning breakfast, May 30th will be Sal Giunta, the first living person since the Vietnam War to receive the Congressional Medal of Honor. The Plumb Club will also be featuring a social media contest worth tapping into.
“There are so many advantages to shopping the Plumb Club,” shares Laura Gladfelter, Brand Manager, Alison and Ivy, division of Fantasy Diamond, Chicago. “It’s the perfect opportunity to hear expert advice on the bestselling products and get a first look on the newest jewelry trends and displays. Interacting with the voices behind a brand will give you a huge edge when you’re selling to customers.” At the show, for example, the brand will have its graphic designer on site to show customers how the company can design marketing materials catered to their store!
Also in the Plumb Club, Swarovski (U.S. headquarters in Cranston, Rhode Island) will release its annual gem and jewelry forecasting information, Gem Visions 2016, in presentations during the show. A Gem Visions special, the brand will curate a collection of tiaras and headbands created by designers from around the world, inspired by its trends research. Last year, Swarovski’s team of experts identified bridal jewelry as a burgeoning design topic, intrigued by the art of making tiaras and headbands and the unique playground they offer to designers passionate about working with stones.
With the Plumb Club comprised of top of the line jewelry companies with recognizable names, any jeweler can put their trust in any member of the club, touts Karen Crowe, marketing/merchandising, Quality Gold, Fairfield, Ohio. “All specialists in their field, the Plumb Club allows jewelers to find the best, nestled in one convenient plush area. Most booths have closed door space, allowing for confidential meeting for buyers. And, let’s not forget the Plumb Club’s hospitality area with plenty of seating to rest tired feet, grab refreshments, and regroup!”
Laramore advocates jewelers maximize their Vegas experience in post show PR in their own communities. “Jewelers should exhaust local PR options, newspaper and online newsletters to let the community know they attended JCK Las Vegas. They could talk about new inventory, international designs, or unique products that they picked up at JCK to garner more traffic into their store. Or if they attend JCK Talks they could talk about how they’re planning on moving their business into the future. There are so many angles to pursue!”