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Transition from Brick-and-Mortar Store to Ecommerce Jewelry Brand

In episode #118 of the Joy Joya Jewelry Marketing Podcast I answer a listener-submitted question (you can also ask a question here). The anonymous listener asked, “How can we transition from a traditional brick-and-mortar jewelry store to an ecommerce jewelry brand?” They explained that they’re a small family business and that they’re struggling with the digital transformation. The transcript of the episode is below.

Unknown Speaker 4:46
As I mentioned in the intro, I will be answering a listener submitted question and that was, “How can we transition from a traditional brick and mortar jewelry store to an e commerce jewelry brand?” They also explain that they’re are small, family-run and owned business and that they’re struggling with digital transformation.

Unknown Speaker 5:10
So I have some answers for you. Hopefully they help the person who anonymously submitted this question and anyone else listening who may have a similar situation.

Unknown Speaker 5:20
So first, you really want to know about the realities of multi channel inventory management, that’s a top priority when you’re making this transition. When I say multi channel, I refer to selling your products in more than one location. So for example, you sell in your brick and mortar store, and you sell in a Shopify store. So you have multiple channels, and you’re reaching customers in multiple ways, you’ll definitely need a multi channel inventory management solution, this might be integrated in the point of sale that you use in your store. This is essential.

Unknown Speaker 5:59
So I was kind of researching this a little bit to get some stats for you. And I found an article from Shopify that had some really crazy stats about this. So 55% of e commerce brands still use pen and paper manual processes to manage logistics. 28% of companies lack inventory visibility across stores, warehouses, and vendors. 34% of companies lack necessary software integrations, and 38% of companies lack order management, inventory management, point of sale, and third party logistics software.

Unknown Speaker 6:35
Basically, what I’m trying to say is like, don’t be any of those companies, you really need an inventory management solution that helps you connect your multiple channels in a seamless way. If you don’t, then you will potentially annoy your customers, when it turns out that things are out of stock, or that they have to wait a long time for the order to be fulfilled. And that’s just providing a poor customer experience, poor customer service. It also just gets confusing for you like how can you manage a store that way. So technology is first you want to get the right technology.

Unknown Speaker 7:12
This is really tricky, because you probably I’m assuming already have a legacy system that you use in your store for point of sale and inventory management in store. When you make the transition to digital occasionally, and actually see this a lot with people I consult and with clients or work with the legacy system that you’re using in your store becomes kind of a pain in the butt to integrate to an e commerce platform, maybe it’s just not compatible. Or maybe the process of doing that is very costly and time consuming. So this can be a huge challenge for brands that want to make this transition.

Unknown Speaker 7:57
Depending on the e commerce platform that you choose. And I really recommend Shopify, I’m not being compensated to say that, you might have to look into the options for how to integrate your current inventory management system into Shopify, or whatever platform you choose. And that can be very difficult. It may even warrant a conversation about whether or not it’s time to completely overhaul and update your inventory management system and move to something else, both in store and e commerce for the sake of having that seamless experience with both. So you either need to cross your fingers and hope that your current inventory management solution integrates with Shopify, or you’re gonna need to get a web developer involved. So get someone who kind of specializes in e commerce and maybe set up a consultation with them and see what the options are available to use.

Unknown Speaker 8:54
The goal is to provide a seamless multi channel customer experience. That’s what you need to go for. This is a very involved and important conversation that you need to have. It’s the the hardest part of transitioning, but also the biggest piece of the puzzle. I also don’t necessarily want to recommend a specific inventory management system because there are so many and the one that you choose is really going to depend on your individual needs and goals. But I would also kind of push you to look outside of just the jewelry space because I know there are solutions that are specific to jewelry. And that’s probably like a natural first place to start. But don’t limit yourself to those inventory management system specific jewelry when you’re doing this research because it may turn out there’s a better option available to you outside of the niche. So really explore all the options available. expand your horizons a little bit.

Unknown Speaker 9:55
You’ll also in this process, want to consider Omni channel. So that means taking the multi channel experience being on all these channels to the next level. So one example of this would be a customer who buys something online but wants to pick up in store. So what’s the technology you can implement to enable that sort of option for the convenience that the customer really wants? Or maybe the customer inquires about the product online and then eventually comes into your store to try it on and purchase it. Or maybe a customer originally comes into your store. But then they receive some kind of follow up reminder about the product or products that they viewed, and then they end up purchasing it online once they get home and have hadn’t have had the time to think about it. So that’s kind of what I mean by the omni channel experience, you may not be ready to implement it right from the get go. But it’s something you should look toward for the future. Because those are the things that today’s consumers expect and want from a shopping experience. So once you have the technology piece in place, you’re also going to need to shift your mindset in a few really important ways.

Unknown Speaker 11:10
I definitely want to talk about the investment in e commerce versus the investment in brick and mortar. A really common mistake that I see entrepreneurs or people who already own brick and mortar businesses make is they see e commerce as like the cheaper channel. Because it can be easy to set up with platforms like Shopify, it’s pretty easy to just like get your store up and running. So they think they don’t necessarily need to invest as much into that store. But the truth is that you need to think of your e commerce channel the same way that you think of your brick and mortar store. My friend euery actually told me this really great metaphor, it’s like, think about, like Tiffany’s flagship store in Manhattan and how much they spend on real estate for that, it’s making a statement, it’s creating a presence for their brand, they’re probably investing that much. And if not more in their e commerce shop, because again, even though it’s digital, it’s still establishing a presence for them online.

Unknown Speaker 12:18
You need to have the mindset that the e commerce store is just as much an investment as like the rent you pay the whatever mortgage you pay for your brick and mortar store. For the displays the merchandising items that you have in your store, then the thought needs to be that the investment is just as significant for your e commerce shop. That’s really important. You also really want to think about merchandising in a similar but also new way. So in your brick and mortar store, I would hope that you are keeping things neat and clean vacuuming the floors, Windex in your cases, making sure there’s not like trash around, making sure the displays in the cases are beautifully merchandise and regularly updated. If you have a window, you’re regularly kind of changing up the displays. Your e commerce shop needs to be kind of the same. You need to think of your homepage as like the window of your brick and mortar store that customers would see when they’re walking by on the street. You need to have a plan for like regularly merchandising that it cannot stay static, it needs to constantly give customers a reason to come in and check in with you even people who have known you for a really long time. So you need to have a merchandising strategy in place for your e commerce shop the same way that you would for your brick and mortar store.

Unknown Speaker 13:51
You also want to realize that your customer personas may change when you’re making this transition. So the personas that you know that you’re familiar with that are coming into your brick and mortar shop, they may be slightly different for your e commerce shop. I’m not saying that’s a definite but it’s something to consider. So you may want to work with a marketing partner who can kind of help you figure that out. And then the next step, how can you talk to that new customer? How can you get that person interested? How can you build relationships with that customer so that’s really important to keep in mind.

Unknown Speaker 14:28
You want to understand that your marketing approach will be slightly different now with your ecommerce store. You may have to pay attention to things in a way you didn’t have to with your brick and mortar store. You’ll need to pay attention to Google Analytics to see search engine marketing search engine optimization, testing things on your homepage, product and lifestyle photography, building relationships with customers from a digital first perspective rather than like they come into your store you guys shake hands Are you greet each other, it’s just a different way of thinking about how to create awareness around your brand. There are different tactics and ways to maintain relationships with customers that probably you never thought about when you were just worrying about your brick and mortar store. And there are many facets to this.

Unknown Speaker 15:22
I don’t want to get too far into the weeds, but just a note that you’re going to have to think about marketing in a different way. greater emphasis on photography, as I mentioned, suddenly, you’re going to have to think about things like video, because customers are not necessarily getting the in store experience when they’re interacting with you. And video is one of the best ways to kind of replace or supplement that. So you suddenly have to think about all these new forms of media, you’re also going to have to approach customer service in a different way. Because you’re not necessarily going to be able to look your customer in the eye, shake their hand, and assess body language and emotion. When you’re interacting with someone in person, you may even never have a chance to look that person in the eye. It may just be through messaging through comments through an email, through a phone call. So you kind of have to adjust your approach to how you interface with customers. How can you take that same amazing customer experience that you’re providing in store and translate it to a digital experience? It’s a whole new way of thinking about customer service.

Unknown Speaker 16:35
Those are my tips. I hope that that answered the question. I think that there are a lot of moving parts here and making that digital transformation from a small family owned brick and mortar jewelry store to a brand that has a strong e commerce channel. I would say technology is the first piece of the puzzle and the talented, skilled web developer can kind of help you navigate those options to make sure that you have that seamless inventory experience. And then bringing in other partners like marketing partners, photographers, customer service consultants, visual merchandising, consultants, reading all lots of plentiful resources that are available online. googling some of the things that I mentioned in this episode can really give you the guidance so that the e commerce shop doesn’t just become a thing that you feel like you have to have to like survive today, but a strong and robust channel in itself that integrates beautifully with the brick and mortar store that you have so lovingly and intentionally created and have sustained.

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