Rising to the Challenge – Are You Ready for the Massive Technological Change?

Whether you’re reading this article before or after the Jewellery Industry Fair, its objective remains unchanged. This article aims to uncover the overload of acronyms…

Whether you’re reading this article before or after the Jewellery Industry Fair, its objective remains unchanged. This article aims to uncover the overload of acronyms frequently used in the jewellery business landscape, particularly in the diamond and jewellery industry, which many still struggle to comprehend. By shedding light on such acronyms and their potential implications for businesses, we must acknowledge and embrace
the monumental changes ahead. Have you stopped to ask yourself how digitised your business is today? You probably think you are either a little or highly digitised. To begin with, I will help put into perspective where you are and where we are heading, regarding digitisation.

Let’s start with the obvious. How much physical mail did you receive today? Barely anything, right? Approximately over 90 percent come via email. When was the last time that you flicked through a physical catalogue? The cost of producing these catalogues can be astronomical. Especially if you are creating and posting them, only to find out most people discard them. Truthfully, who has the time to search through these books when all you want to do is jump on your phone, type in what you’re looking for, and see the selection? Now, I want you to consider the software you use to run your business. I assume the majority are using either MYOB, Xero or QuickBooks. These three brands run the market of medium-to-small business accounting software. Luckily, there are at least three as an oligopoly, and not a only one, as a monopoly.

Years ago, some of you may recall buying a box with a disc and installing the software on your computer. These are no longer necessary, as we now use what is known in the computing space as Software as a Service (SaaS) model. In other words, you are renting the software instead of buying it. This business model is a subscription model, meaning you are locked in annually, and updates are made constantly without requiring physical discs.

Suppose you run a medium-to-large business. In that case, you have either chosen to write your software to manage your business or use a SaaS model and customise it to your needs. In both cases, the data on your business needs to be stored in a way that large groups of people can access it. This is called an Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) System. What I have learnt to understand is something about the future of all jewellery businesses. I know that’s a big statement to say “all jewellery businesses” but I will be brave, stick my neck out, and make that statement. If you don’t consider what I am about to say, you will ultimately fall behind, year after year, to where you might have to reconsider being in business. Dramatic, yes. But, important.

I’m talking about the acronym PIM, which stands for Product Information Management. Whether you are a wholesaler or retailer you need to understand how your data is digitally stored. Each element should be stored in your PIM. The structure of how it is stored is as important as the quality of the information. We need to be aware that this is the first time in the last few hundred years that humankind has switched from consuming products to consuming data. All of us are searching the web for information at some point, and every piece of information has digital components, whether it’s an image, chat, or the description of the physical tool that you may want to buy.

You and I have switched from consuming the physical product first to beginning all of our journeys by consuming digitised data. This is where things get a bit difficult. Up until a few months ago, you would type into Google a question and it would give you pages of answers. Let me share with you some confronting statistics. Did you know the question, “Where to buy…” in Google has grown by 85 percent in two years? Google suggests that a study of billions of searches found that over 25 percent of users click on the first organic result. Approximately 10 to 18 percent will click on the first result, which could be a sponsored ad, and the top three search results will get 50 to 60 percent of the clicks. Your immediate response must be, “I knew that.” After all, that’s why we have people who use search engine optimisation (SEO) so that we appear on the first page. The problem that you may not have contemplated is that our behaviour is already starting to change.

With the introduction of AI and ChatGPT, or Google’s version called Bard, we will consume digital information based on how it is fed to us. We agree it’s already happening, but what if it is more extreme? What if you stopped searching with Google and asked ChatGPT, which only generates one answer? Google and Bing are already analysing our buying behaviour, preferences, previous choices, and the choices that we make and are cross-
referencing everything to give us what it determines is the best answer. You don’t have to think about it. Even if you did, and you do a comparison, you realise that it did give you the best answer.

So, what are the implications? The industry will be blown out of the water unless the information provided in this digitised world is correctly stored and optimised, allowing you to promote yourself on multiple platforms and in a way that AI sees your data. It must be clean, placed in structured, readable formats and interpreted most efficiently for the digitised world to see and understand. Your digital data must allow AI to determine that not only are you artistic, unique and special, but you can deliver this information in a highly efficient manner to the consumer through the digital experience.

I know it’s a lot to take in. Many will ask, where do I start? I implore all of you to think about these ideas and read up on them, talk to others and begin to go down the path of working out how best to digitise and efficiently store all your information by utilising the best digital tools, that will enable you to connect with existing customers and build on your future ones. Also, feel free to reach out if you want to better understand this space. While I don’t have all the answers, I’m happy to share what I know.

Trade well,
Rami Baron
President, Diamond Dealers Club Australia.

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