Michael Schechter

April 19, 2023

Look Back Before Going Forward

Every two weeks without fail, the development team at Gemvara would share their progress in a company-wide meeting. They’d walk us through their work from the previous two weeks and then update everyone on what would be coming next. Immediately following these meetings the engineers would lock themselves in a conference room and take a hard, blame-free look at what could have gone better during the prior two-week cycle in what’s called a retrospective.

Over time, we saw the benefits of this approach and started applying aspects of the retrospective to other parts of the business. We consistently made time to take a hard look at our choices with the goal of improving our overall effectiveness. It took a while to create this discipline and build the trust needed within more of our teams. But regularly looking back and determining what we could have done better proved to be one of the best ways to consistently improve our future efforts. 

Here are a few of my hard learned lessons from the last few years. I hope they help you and encourage you to push your team to take a harder, blameless look at the choices that currently drive your own digital efforts.

Leads Not Sales

For most jewelers, the fantasy of an always-on 24-hour-a-day store is exactly that… a fantasy. Yet so much effort and discussions about our digital advertising and website focuses on optimizing an online sales funnel that never seems to generate sales. If the majority of your sales (let’s say 90%+) happen in store and efforts to improve ecommerce conversion continually fall short, take a step back and consider how you can better use your digital presence to drive the customer in-store instead. We’ve seen this have a far greater impact, especially on more traditional businesses.

Impact Not Size

There are few things I struggle with more than fluffy metrics. Fluffy metrics are details that sound good in theory (i.e. we got 100,000 impressions or we gained 5,000 followers), but where there’s no clear evidence that these amazing sounding facts drove any actual business. The use of fluffy metrics is often a byproduct of a manager or owner not being excited by the smaller numbers that do actually make an impact (i.e. we got ten in-store leads from social or we sold the one design that was in our last email). It’s important to look at all the data, but make sure you identify and focus on the metrics that actually move the needle. Even if they sound less exciting.

Positioning Not Promotions

Back in the day, designers were often told to make a brand’s logo bigger. When trying to drive online sales, the bigger logo has now been replaced with bigger discounts. Over time, most traditional businesses looking to scale online sales inevitably fall into the discounting trap. This only leads to more discounts, higher discounts and… unfortunately making the literal size of the font used for the discount in your content bigger. While it may have a negative impact on short-term conversion, traditional retailers and brands should consider shifting efforts away from ongoing promotions and focus on why a customer should buy from you. This is especially true for businesses that do not have sufficient ad budgets or marketing resources to break through emerging competition with meaningful digital marketing budgets. Discounts are an important driver of sales and leads, but all too often they take the place of crafting a compelling and unique selling proposition that helps customers understand why they should buy from you in the first place. 

Take a Look Back

Learn to take blame off the table and take time to build the trust needed to mercilessly examine prior efforts. While retrospectives can be difficult to implement, the insights and trust they foster are invaluable. Looking back at what you got wrong is never fun, but it’s almost always useful. 

About Michael Schechter

Hi there! I’m Michael Schechter, a third-generation, lifelong jeweler. I’ve spent most of my life and career at the crossroads of fine jewelry and emerging technology. Subscribe to receive weekly advice for jewelers struggling with new possibilities online and in store.