written by Joe Radest
Like many parents, my daughter had her spring semester impacted by the Coronavirus. She is a college student and finished the semester virtually from home. Mady is studying Finance, how to mitigate business risk because of a pandemic, not even a subject that was covered!? I bet you, they are writing course materials on it now, and it will be subject matter covered in the next collegiate year.
Jewelers were thrown in the category of non-essential businesses. Rather quickly with little to no notice, businesses had to shut down. When they could re-open was to be determined and many are still shuttered dependent on their state and its reopening policies.
An overwhelming number of jewelers were ill-equipped to transition their activity beyond locked doors. The ability to sell or service customers was compromised. Many reading this article still have doors shuttered.
Yet, we saw in other industries the ability to operate digitally, were able to keep their engines on, maybe at a slower pace but nevertheless operational.
What many jewelers did not pay attention to before the Coronavirus Pandemic was the easy ability to transact beyond the walls of their store. It required the ability to get away from the norm of how jewelers operated for decades and get with the technology of today. That is a mouthful to say, because if there is one retail industry that is technologically challenged, it is jewelry!
Jewelers by nature, run their stores with dated systems, software (some don’t use any software), basic accounting and point of sale devices. Yet on a personal end, they have the latest iPhone or Android devices. The apps are constantly being updated and use the phones more as a device to check bank balances, the stock market, turn on/off security systems, or start their car. On the other hand, the store remains in a technology twilight zone.
The average jeweler lags behind many others whom were able to pivot quickly;
- You want to buy clothing, can do that online. Delivered or pick up curbside.
- Want to buy a car, no problem, can do that online.
- Restaurants – many have their menus on their website, and you can order online, to go!
- This industry immediately adjusted its business model.
- Hardware Stores – order online, either shipped or pick-up curbside.
- What this pandemic should have taught our industry is the need to digitally transform your business. The store should be able to transact beyond normal business hours and if some sort of disaster occurs, be quickly back up and running? That is called a business mitigation plan .
- The digital transformation allows you to showcase your business from anywhere and just about to anyone. Thanks to the web and internet connectivity, you can transact from just about any location.
The following can be done to digitally transform your store;
- Move from software that is locally loaded on computers to the Cloud
- Take pictures of your inventory for sale and load it to a cloud solution
- Sell more SKUs virtually than you can showcase in the store
- The website should be e-commerce enabled & mobile responsive
- Appraisals and Repair Modules should be a Cloud solution
- Accounting and any HR related software, should also be cloud based
- On a payment’s acceptance end, the following should be enabled;
- Online – fully functional website with e-commerce capability
- Pay by Text – send invoice to your customers with secured link
o Use Cases:
- Custom Orders
- Layaway Payments
- In-Stock Purchase
- Pay by Email – same as text but for those customers whom do not have a smartphone
- Mobile Payment Device
o Use Cases:
- Curbside Payment
- Trade Shows
- In-Home Sales
- Virtual Terminal
o Use Cases:
- Access from any computer, anywhere
- Layaways – Auto Schedule Payments
- Check Store Transactions – Remote
A note-worthy comment, all the above payment solutions should be tied into one dashboard and access it from any device, anywhere!
The next shelter at home, hurricane, earthquake, you name the disaster, how quickly you can restore to as close to norm mitigates loss revenue.
Earlier this year, we started promoting Pay by Text/Email to jewelers. Over the last 5 years, we have been promoting e-commerce, mobile and virtual terminal to jewelers. In the last 7 weeks, we have enabled more jewelers than in the prior two years total! It took the current crisis for jewelers to realize, how to transact when we cannot unlock our doors?
What is your mitigation plan for the next crisis? You better believe it, Shelter-At-Homes and Social Distance were not understood prior to March but those are words that can be uttered again in the future. Whether it is a Viral Pandemic, Hurricane, Fire, Earthquake, Tornado, or some other disaster, is your store prepared. We look forward to you joining the digital world.
Joe Radest started his career in card payments over 2 decades ago, working for the industry giant First Data. Since FDC, Joe has worked with other notable processors – TSYS, Global Payments and Chase Paymentech.
Over 9 years ago, Joe branched out on his own, by launching 1 Step Technologies. Since that initial FinTech launch, Joe co-founded, equity investment in two other FinTech firms – Payix Holdings and FP Omni Technologies. In addition, he is the managing partner in Radest Ventures, a private equity/venture capital firm focused on investment in new FinTech firms. He serves on two boards and resides in Atlanta with his wife and adult kids.
He can be reached by phone at 770-731-0414 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org LinkedIn –