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Commentary: The Business

Shane O’Neill: The E-commerce Tsunami is Almost Here

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Massive disruption is on the way, and you can’t say you didn’t hear it coming.

It always seems there is a calm before the storm — a sense of easiness before a sudden, usually violent event. These events disrupt the world around them and cause chaos, mostly for those who are ill-prepared.

Technology is such a disrupter, as we have seen over the past several years. The iPhone, for example, only came out in 2007. Think about that.

Think about what has happened with how you market your business in that short timeframe. Technology has become the gateway to endless possibilities and has fundamentally changed how businesses market themselves. We’ve seen it with digital marketing and we’re going to see it with e-commerce. It’s not if, it’s when. And, just like a tsunami, there is a calm. The sea recedes as if sending a warning to prepare. Some notice, some don’t, but, in the end, there is no stopping what’s to come. It’s happening with e-commerce now, some are noticing … most are not.

A little perspective on what’s happening in the technology ocean:

Technology’s exponential growth may be best described by “Moore’s Law,” which basically says that data density doubles every 18 months. Digital and social marketing has become the single biggest disruptor in marketing and advertising in half a century and it’s only in first grade. Its natural offspring is e-commerce, and it’s growing by as much 10 percent a year, by some estimates. As we are seeing now in the jewelry industry, retailers are increasingly entering the space as they understand the need to evolve. I believe it’s when these small- to medium-sized businesses start saturating the market that the e-commerce tsunami will make landfall, and those in the wrong space will be swept away. Here are a few things to consider on your e-commerce journey:

Part of a great website experience is having products and pricing online. Yes, they will price shop you, so don’t bother trying to fool these e-commerce consumers; they are probably the savviest of consumers.

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Another key factor is to make sure you manage your products. Weekly audits of inventory or streaming directly from your POS system, such as The Edge, will make sure products are available if someone wants to purchase.

Set your expectations low and build from there. Successful online selling will, most likely, require a change in how and where your marketing dollars are spent. It’s easier to sell sub-$500 items than it is engagement rings, but those engagement-ring shoppers still want to see and touch that ring first. That can be an advantage to an independent jeweler. In the end, it’s about being an early adopter to a space that’s only going to grow. Put yourself in a position to evolve, not jump in at the last minute. Always look ahead. Always prepare. The tsunami hasn’t hit yet, but the water is starting to recede.


Shane O’Neill is vice-president of Fruchtman Marketing and can be reached at [email protected]

This article originally appeared in the July 2016 edition of INSTORE.

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