By Emmanuel Raheb
“The Smart Lab” is a new column for National Jeweler, authored by Smart Age Solutions’ Emmanuel Raheb. In his first article, Raheb explores the inverse relationship between store sales and foot traffic.
In 2010, digital was changing the in-store shopping experience in ways that were yet to be understood. Many believed online shopping would never grow significantly and couldn’t foresee it as a threat to physical store sales, but data showed otherwise.

2018 Emmanuel RahebEmmanuel Raheb
By the end of 2015, more than 70 percent of all in-store sales were influenced by digital, while the number of actual store-goers decreased 60 percent when compared to 2010.

The truth is, digital has reshaped customer behavior and shopping for good, and that’s something retailers should be paying attention to while adjusting their business to this reality.

Many jewelry business owners are still reluctant about investing in digital, much of which is due to the fact that they simply don’t know how.

Ah-Ha Moment
I love showing the chart seen above as it’s really hits a cord with many retailers. I always hear retailers say, “My traffic is down; long gone are the days of customers waiting in line to buy.”

So I ask, are your sales up since 2010? Yes, most reply; so again I ask, how could that be if the lines are no more? And that’s the “Ah-ha” moment; customers are shopping online first, and then coming in to buy.

A consumer no longer goes from store to store shopping, they’re now “browsing” online store to store, and then going to a store to buy.

Consumers Are Still Buying
Consumers are getting more and more demanding; they want exactly what they are looking for and will not settle for anything less. On that matter, a quick web search on your browser is easier and faster than a visit to the mall.

Considering those facts, we can see that the competition is also changing.

A store’s biggest threat may not be the national e-commerce-only player anymore. Digital influence has been rapidly helping small and new businesses grow through creating a strong online presence, delivering quality customer experience and gaining a piece of the market share.

It’s All About Your Customer
Today’s customers are highly digital and have high expectations for what they want while shopping, be it online or in-store. The more integrated and multi-channel your business is, the more likely they are to shop at your store.

Companies are understanding the importance of having touchpoints, both online and offline with their audience; digital is fundamental. The physical store still plays a very important role on influencing a customer’s buying decision.

It is essential for stores to digitize, in order to meet their customers’ expectations. That’s a never-ending job of improving your website, getting up to date with new technologies and trends, making your website mobile optimized and user-friendly, allowing one-click purchases and many more factors.

The key is to perceive your brand as a whole, making your brick-and-click experience function as one.

Are you delivering the experience that your customer expects you to? What about your competitors? Should you be focusing on them or on your client’s needs?

Consumers are still shopping, but are they shopping with you?

Emmanuel Raheb is the CEO of Smart Age Solutions, a top-tier digital ad agency and coveted Premier Google Partner. With nearly 18 years’ digital marketing and e-commerce experience in the jewelry industry, Raheb is passionate about helping and strategically growing national jewelry brands and local retailers alike. Contact Emmanuel at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Since 1906, National Jeweler has been the must-read news source for smart jewelry professionals--jewelry retailers, designers, buyers, manufacturers, and suppliers. From market analysis to emerging jewelry trends, we cover the important industry topics vital to the everyday success of jewelry professionals worldwide. National Jeweler delivers the most urgent jewelry news necessary for running your day-to-day jewelry business here, and via our daily e-newsletter, website and other specialty publications, such as "The State of the Majors." National Jeweler is published by Jewelers of America, the leading nonprofit jewelry association in the United States.