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Not Embracing Tech? It’s Time to Change That

Learning new technologies can be easier than you think.

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IT OFTEN HAPPENS in the fall. You’re driving down a rural road at night, and as you round a corner, there stands a deer frozen by your headlights.

Before your car got there, the deer had been enjoying terrific night sight, thanks to their ultraviolet vision and large, fully dilated eyes. The car’s headlights produce sudden and total blindness, which has to be bewildering and overwhelming — causing the deer to freeze out of fear.

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I see that same “deer in the headlights” look from many jewelers when the discussion shifts to using technology to grow their business. In an industry already well known for its phobia to technology, today’s rapid-fire rate of change has frozen many to the point that their business’s future survival is now at stake.

Jewelry retailers are aware of the blinding, bright light of technology, and they know it’s heading straight for them. The jeweler’s mistake is in thinking that because they don’t comprehend the rapidly approaching illumination, they have no control.

How you use and embrace technology has now become the dividing line between a thriving jewelry store and one that is struggling every month to keep the doors open. Technology is now at the heart of every aspect of your business.

  • Want to hire someone? LinkedIn, Monster.com, Career Builder.
  • Want to communicate with your clients? Facebook, Instagram, email, SMS text, your website, and blog.
  • Need to be found? SEO, Google AdWords, inbound marketing, YouTube, online customer reviews.
  • Understand your business? The Edge, BusinessMind for Jewelers.

So, what’s the answer? First, let go of the guilty feeling of not knowing. Understand that you have clear strengths, but nobody knows everything. You’ve got to set aside your ego for the sake of your business and seek others who can help.

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Second, give yourself a pep talk. This isn’t brain surgery, and you’re not going to sever the medulla oblongata (sorry, too much “Grey’s Anatomy”). Yes, the terms and acronyms are strange, but it’s essentially everything you’ve done your whole career, but in a digital format.

Third, stick with it. Your jewelry business wasn’t built in a day, and this won’t be remedied in one either. Get the help you need either through trusted jewelry industry consultants or other avenues such as INSTORE’s Brain Squad. There are also trade associations like Jewelers of America (JA) and Independent Jewelers Organization (IJO), to name a couple.

The technology struggles jewelers face today are real and business threatening. It won’t get any easier; in fact, the rate of change has never been faster than it is right now, and it will never be this slow again. The good news? You don’t have to be frozen like a deer in the headlights.

Rod Worley is president of Four Grainer, a jewelry industry management consulting firm, and host of the "Inside The Jewelry Trade" podcast. Reach him at [email protected].

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Put Your Trust in Wilkerson

To do business successfully with anyone, you need a certain “comfort level.” That’s something that Phillips Pitts, owner of two Parris Jewelers stores in Hattiesburg, Miss., said he felt immediately when he first talked to Wilkerson’s Rick Hayes. He was just about to launch an anniversary sale. And he chose Wilkerson to handle all the details — from the marketing to the sales floor. “Rick cared what was going to happen to Parris Jewelers,” says Pitts. “Not just during the sale but after the sale.” Would he recommend Wilkerson to other jewelers contemplating a large-scale sale? Absolutely, says Pitts, who says the results “exceeded their expectations.” His trust in Wilkerson has only grown after the numbers came in. “They were interested in me fulfilling and what I need to fulfill to make my company better.”

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