Are you the chief cook and bottle washer in your store? Truthfully, if your retail jewelry store only has a few employees then you probably are managing many daily tasks ranging from cleaning the toilet to jewelry repair.
Today I'm going to outline different responsibilities between running a physical store and running and e-commerce website, and who should be in charge of them. Here's my short list of responsibilities I'll cover today:
* Customer Engagement
* Customer Satisfaction
* Jewelry Repairs
The only item on that list that's unique to the jewelry industry is the last one. Although everything else listed there is common across all industries how you handle them for a physical store is different than how you handle them for an online store. I'll share some of those differences today as I've experienced them. Use my experiences as guidelines for yourself and not as official legal or business advice.
As you plan your in-store inventory for the holiday season, you are probably looking at trend forecasts and closely reviewing what designers have this season. You probably choose a few similar style items from year to year because you know several customers who would buy them; maybe you even purchase something with someone specific in mind. The jewelry store owner and the store manager are usually both involved with the process of selecting inventory.
Through your e-commerce website, you won't have the in-person connection and you can't stock inventory for specific people. On the other hand you can select your inventory based on changing trends and based on research from your own website. What are your visitors looking at? What are they searching for? When sourcing your jewelry, you should work with manufacturers who are willing to drop ship for you, and from those who have inventory on hand so you don't have to stock inventory of your own. The website owner should use their own judgment for selecting jewelry but they should also confer with a website analyst who understands how to read online trends and website analytics because that data will help you follow trends more accurately.
When you think of security for your jewelry store, you probably think of hidden cameras, alarms, and how you might deal with robberies. Your insurance company also dictates how much merchandise needs to be locked in the safe when you are closed. Although not immediately top of mind for a jeweler, you also need to worry about credit card security and customer records stored in your computers. All jewelry store employees should have some level of security training, and procedures should be well established. The computer and network security needs to be monitored by your IT staff, and even by an outside security monitoring company.
Security on your website won't include all the physical aspects of cameras, alarms, and inventory storage if you drop ship, but you still have to worry about computer security. All e-commerce websites need to protect against attacks and the potential of customer identity theft. Security of this type is best handled by your IT staff, your web hosting company, and you will have to hire a 3rd party company to test your website for security holes.
This is a tricky topic because I know that most small businesses suffer from lack of professional advertising ability in-house or someone they can afford. Every individual ad you create should be part of an overall marketing strategy for your retail store, and someone should be reviewing how all the ads work together to attract customers. I know that most jewelry store owners and store managers are involved with the process of creating ads. I've seen many jewelers take advantage of ad creation services offered by the media company rather than doing it themselves.
Online marketing is a little more difficult and you can't sit back and hope that the company you hire will correctly manage your online strategy. Online marketing includes a broad mix of banner placement, text ads, social media posting, and email marketing. Over the last few years I've noticed that many jewelers are outsourcing their online marketing to agencies that know very little about their business. The price might be right, but the strategies they use are repetitive and not honed for each unique store. The results are usually abysmal and many jewelers I speak to are completely disenchanted by online marketing.
When it comes to online marketing, for B&M or e-commerce, the person in charge of it should be someone who truly understands your business and the customers you service. This is not the lowest paid employee, but someone with experience and a well rounded knowledge of what you do and sell.
I have 6 more responsibilities to cover, but since this Daily Golden Nugget is already getting a little long I will continue this tomorrow.