Many jewelers are still skeptical about social media and even the online arena
Recently, JCK senior editor Rob Bates wrote a blog post based on an email from Alex Weil of Martin’s Jewelry in Manhattan Beach, Calif. Alex was concerned his store was “way behind in terms of websites and social media,” and had four questions: “How does my single-store independent fit into all of this? Is it really worth the huge investment in time and resources? What would the return on that investment be? Is Facebook, etc., really a place to conduct business?” Rob offered his take, and I’d like to give mine.
How does my single-store independent fit into all of this?
You don’t think of your business as a store in the universe, so stop looking at the Internet as a vast, unconquerable entity. Try to tether your Web presence to the most tangible thing you already know: your store. Your website acts as your store. The combination of social media sites, your email list, and search rankings is comparable to traditional marketing tools (e.g., newspapers, direct mail, billboards). The difference is that many of these new tools are interactive services rather than one-way channels, and your customer can (and will) have as much of a voice as you in your marketing.
Is it worth the huge investment?
Don’t set out to conquer the World (Wide Web) in a single day.
As much as we want to, it’s impossible to be everywhere and to do everything. Find the digital tools that best align with your business and prioritize. Right now, your website provides the most meaningful digital impression your customers will have of your store. Make sure it reflects the experience of your store before you do anything significant with Facebook, Twitter, and any other platform. As Ellen Fruchtman of Fruchtman Marketing says, “How can you expect them to spend $15,000 on a wedding ring when you won’t make the same investment on your own website?” Once you have a site that reflects your business and is designed to drive action (see “Heed the Call to Action,” JCK February 2012), you’ll begin to see how a thoughtful Web presence can impact your business.
What would the return on that investment be?
There will be a time when you need to get serious about the ROI of your digital efforts. But now is not that time. If you are just getting started or still aren’t comfortable in cyberspace, you have to take a leap of faith. Fortunately, the best part of all this digital craziness is that it’s completely measurable. Install Google Analytics on your website and you’ll know exactly what is and isn’t working. (It’s free; go to google.com/analytics.) Don’t give up on things immediately. Building a digital presence takes time. Your goal, at least at the start, should be to determine which measurements will be important to your bottom line. This way, when you are ready to start attaching a tangible ROI to your efforts, you’ll have a better handle on your expectations and your expected return.
Is Facebook really a place to conduct business?
Facebook, as we examined last month (see “How F-Commerce Failed Retailers,” JCK May 2012), may not be an ideal selling platform. But social networks, especially Facebook and Twitter, are great ways to keep in touch with existing customers between store visits. They also allow us to create a more personal and enjoyable first impression with new clients who may discover your social hubs through friends, employees, or search engines.
It’s easy to see why jewelers are still apprehensive about all things digital. For years, things have been done a certain way, and the changes driven by the Web and social media are certainly confusing. The tools advance at an alarming rate, the time required is tremendous, and the power shift—away from retailers and into the hands of consumers—is discomfiting. The pitfalls are as legitimate as the opportunities, and this should give us pause. But the business world is evolving, and as intimidating as that transformation might be, our industry must evolve with it.