The potential for online catalogs and e-commerce jewelry websites is slowly transforming how local jewelry stores do business. Although the jewelry industry has been shrinking, this transformation will undoubtedly change the face of the industry, and my belief is that it will be revitalized as more modern retail methods are introduced to meet the demands of the modern jewelry buyer.
Any jeweler willing to rapidly invest in their own infrastructure today could transform their business into a showroom destination using the latest point-of-sale software, inventory management, and a combination of internet enabled technology with the real world to create a seamless new way to serve customers and do business.
Even as I write that, I realize that sounds like an optimistically perfect world of tomorrow from my daydreams, but it really isn't. It's achievable, but no one should attempt a massive transition overnight.
During my entire career as a consultant, I have often heard many business owners tell me they are delaying their own business progress because they don't have the time, money, or some other resource to do it perfectly.
If you've ever said that to yourself, then I have this advice for you:
Tell the perfectionist inside you to take a hike!
There's never going to be a right time, and you will never have enough money, and you will never have enough staff to accomplish the things you are waiting for. One delay leads to another and before you know it several years have passed.
In fact, several years have passed for many retail jewelers since setting up their first website. The initial setup of a website can be expensive. That expense skyrockets once your inner perfectionist takes over. Perfection leads to delays and increased labor costs, all of which you expect to recuperate before considering going through the process again.
Years pass because your inner perfectionist is getting in the way.
The world of internet enabled devices is now known as the "Internet of Things" or IoT for short. These "things" have infiltrated every aspect of our lives with their embedded technology that connects to the internet and reports useful data back to us to help make informed decisions.
This technology is commonly recognized in thermostats, security systems, watches, phones, and cars. Other advances aren't so prosaic in appearance, but nonetheless, they currently exist in many remote health monitoring systems and emergency notification systems.
During a TEDx NJIT in April 2013, I was introduced to the concept of an IoT enabled home for the elderly that would sense when someone falls. This smart home would no longer require the need to wear an alert pendant around your neck or speak the words "I've fallen, and I can't get up." You can see that TEDx Talk here.
The transformation of a traditional retail jeweler into an IoT Smart Jeweler could potentially happen this way:
- Take a look at the new concepts for point of sale devices. Sadly, we might need to leave popular systems like EDGE, LogicMate, and Jewelry Shopkeeper behind because they aren't modernizing fast enough. The modern point of sales systems can tie your store into your website with live inventory and customer tracking.
Imagine the higher level of service an in-store sales associate could provide if they knew what products a customer had looked at online. This technology exists today.
- Wearable technology built into jewelry is available today. Although you might not be able to design the jewelry yourself yet, you should introduce a line of wearable technology in your store. This technology exists today.
- There are smart styluses from a few manufacturers that will allow you to sketch out a drawing either on paper or on a tablet that can be immediately converted to a digital file. This will speed up your ability to create custom designs right in front of a customer. This technology exists today.
- Speaking of creating a custom design, the 3D printing technology is transforming the custom design part of the industry. This is the future of custom design and a perfect example of how the IoT can bring digital back into the real world. This technology exists today.
- In-store traffic heatmapping technology exists that allows you to monitor how your customers walk around your store. Store design and product placement can be brought to a whole new level with this type of motion detection and in-store analysis.
I could go on and on about all of this, but I hope you get the point.
The world of retail is changing. Many other industries have adopted these technologies already to build a better shopping experience.
The only reason a retail jewelry store is in danger of going out of business is because they are unwilling to plan for their future and create a better experience for the customer of the digital age.
You might need an Internet of Things consultant to help you figure out how to handle your transformation, and to beat the perfectionist out of you. If your business coach or internet consultant isn't up for the task, then give my company a call. [Solicitation for Sapphire Collaborative]
You have to start somewhere without waiting for the perfect opportunity.