Adult Swim Only
When I was a kid, my grandmother took us to swimming lessons every weekend. The local Red Cross provided the training from an early age, and by the time I was 10 years old, I became a Red Cross Junior Lifeguard. I certainly wasn’t a Michael Phelps, but I could dive to the bottom of the deep end and fetch a ring at the age of 8 like a boss. I always noticed the other kids my age —some jumping in the pool like me and having a blast and others roaming around the edge, dipping their toes, and roaming some more before finally easing their way in. Most were just splashing around in random craziness with their arm floaties. They weren’t really “swimming”.
One time, while I was hanging out in the deep end, one of the arm floaty kids came splashing into my spot. When he realized he couldn’t touch bottom he FREAKED out and one of his floaties popped off. Seconds later the other came off, and just like that, dude dropped like a rock. I quickly grabbed him and pulled him to the ladder. Good thing I was right there, because I’m not sure if anyone noticed with all the splashing going on elsewhere. Then, all of a sudden, the lifeguard stood up and yelled “adult swim!” Adult swim was always a dramatic contrast to open swim. Usually, it was a showcase of older, experienced swimmers – gracefully practicing various strokes from one end of the pool to the other. No floaties needed.
As an agency focused on the jewelry industry, we always strive to be well ahead of the game in what we do. Unfortunately, our industry is slow to adapt to new technologies, and as a result, most retailers spend too much time “testing the waters.” By the time they finally jump in, they’re late to the party and most splash around in the proverbial digital pool. It all translates into effective vs. ineffective efforts.
Embracing Digital and Your Online Presence
It’s been 7-plus years since industry experts, speakers at the shows and agencies like us, began yelling from the rooftops to get serious about digital marketing and your online presence. Yet, most have failed to commit the time and dollars to do it effectively. Even as we see the dramatic shift in marketing dollars to various digital mediums, many still just dip their toes in the digital pool – even as sales fall.
And now, the e-commerce tsunami is starting to develop – and you better be able to swim when that hits. The evidence is all around, with brands increasingly selling online, and more sophisticated retailers doing the same. Yet, some still dip their toes. They wonder why they can’t get a $2,500 website anymore. They’re not willing to invest in what might be the most important asset to their business. I’m at a loss, and can only surmise they don’t really believe in what is happening all around them.
The natural progression of deploying digital marketing is e-commerce. A quick Google search will show multiple studies highlighting the dramatic increase in online sales. For example, Forrester Research Inc. sees online sales growing to $523 billion in the next five years, up 56% from $335 billion in 2015. Mobile devices are expected to be a key driver in that growth. We also see macro changes in the jewelry industry itself. The industry is currently in a state of flux. While some retailers embrace the change in digital marketing and e-commerce, others are slow to adapt, if they adapt at all. These retailers are most at risk. Failing to change how they do business can lead them to fall further behind until at some point it’s too late.
I Want to Sell Online (but not if I have to do much work, or if it costs much)
Make no mistake, to effectively do e-commerce takes time and attention, which equals dollars. But at some point, it will become a key sales funnel for your business. How do we know? Just look all around you! For example, we know that millennials spend more online than any other generation, and they’re just starting. In fact, 54% of their purchases are online (UPS and researcher ComScore). As this generation continues to age and has more disposable income, the question is not if the e-commerce tsunami will come, but when.
When we look at how the jewelry landscape has changed in just the past five years, we expect that within the next five, jewelers’ business models must change. Millennials are now the largest generation, and even if they make a purchase in store, they also shop online.
In the next five years, e-commerce is going to be a mandate. So, you can learn to swim now or end up dipping your toes in the water later, while the big boys hang out in the deep end.