"The local jeweler has done such a good job creating an experience, it needs to be done online" -Matt Lauzon, Founder & CEO of Gemvara
We grabbed that quote above during "The Great E-Commerce Debate" seminar at JCK on Friday June 1, 2012. It might be a simple idea Matt Lauzon is suggesting, but doing it is a different story all together. Later in the seminar he also added that no one in the jewelry industry, himself included, has completely figured out how to provide the online customer service that compares to what you provide in the store.
That's not to say you shouldn't try. You can't ignore the internet and hope your business will survive. You also can't keep waiting for better technology to come around before you start to get your feet wet. Ignoring change just leaves you further behind.
So where should you get started, and how can you just stand in the shallow end of the wave pool without getting pounded by the killer online marketing wave of expenses, then eaten alive by tech savvy sharks?
Today's jeweler needs to meet their customer expectations with a minimum of these 4 online methods of engagement:
1. Store PC Website - Where you control all of the content, you control the conversions.
2. Store Mobile Website - Where you carefully craft what the shopper will see, and when they see it.
3. Facebook Business Page - You need this because the new generation thinks you don't exist unless you are found on Facebook
4. Blog - This is needed because it's how you accomplish "inbound marketing." Google finds your stuff and brings customers to you when they search for your area of expertise. That's the inbound part, you don't directly try to advertise, but let the organic action of the web spin its magic.
These 4 items alone will not create "the experience" that Matt Lauzon was referring to. That would require a bit more thinking out of the box because it's all about customer service. In-person customer service can seem quite natural; a customer says or does something and your answer or reaction needs to be above and beyond their expectations.
Achieving amazing online customer service will require a lot of human interaction. You have to "listen" for your name on Twitter, and respond. You have to use, and watch for online chatting. Your website has to mimic features that you would provide in person.
You would also need to become a transparent business in the way you handle online customer complaints. Publishing videos will also get your exposure out there, and humanize the online experience.
Somehow all these digital interactions need to be recorded so a digital profile can interact online customer service in a smooth and convenient way, in the mean time you should get started with the above 4 items.