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This new “digital age” might have changed many things we do, but has it really changed business?
This new “digital age” might have changed many things we do, but has it really changed business?

Why the 4Cs transcend diamonds

This new “digital age” might have changed many things we do, but has it really changed business? COLEBY NICHOLSON believes that jewellery retailers should concentrate on the 4Cs and he’s not talking about diamonds!

This new digital world has brought us many things – it has made many daily activities much easier, largely improved the way many processes are done, and yet it has been both calming and upsetting at the same time.

For business, it has often caused enormous disruption. That’s especially true for what are now called “legacy businesses”, an internet term for traditional bricks-and-mortar operations usually perceived as being old or outdated.

Indeed, the digital world has introduced a raft of new terminology, as well as redefining much old terminology, yet just as digital communication has made everything faster, sometimes these newly-invented terms come and go as quickly as many internet start-ups.

For example, when was the last time you heard someone using the terms “information super-highway”, “cyber” or “virtual” in a conversation? They, themselves, could now be called legacy terms as they have become redundant.

Soon, even the term “social media” will probably cease to exist. Social media will be just as mainstream as the “legacy media” it competes against – it will all just be “media”.

Likewise, online shopping will disappear because one day we won’t differentiate between it and traditional shopping  – it will all be just “shopping” with no descriptor attached to specify the purchasing channel.

The Two I's

I think the business world has changed faster than in any other time in history; today business has become a world of “The Two I's” - Incumbents versus Insurgents - where the new attack the old.

Actually, it has always been that way. It’s just that the new didn’t look that different to the old in years gone by; the new business was pretty much always just an updated way of doing things. Back then, when a new store opened down the road from an old store, the store itself was new but the type of competition was old, or similar to what had always existed.

"The formula for business success hasn’t changed; captivate, capture and cultivate customers."

That is, largely your competitor looked the same, was in the same street or city and therefore had an almost identical cost structure. These days, however, the competitor might not be even in the same country, let alone street or city!

Competitors come in many different forms, each of which is an example of an entirely new business model... and they come faster too, and perhaps more often, but we overlook the fact they can also disappear just as quickly.

The frightening thing about this is how quickly new can become old or at least outdated.

For example, a friend of mine owns one of the most popular websites in the world. It has incredible traffic – a new term for “readership” – and it’s increasing rapidly. His business only gained “scale” – a new term for “significance” – in the past five years, but he considers himself now an old, incumbent business!

The insurgents are now descending on his incumbent business model; everything that is new is old again, only it’s happening a lot faster. And because the internet has made most business tasks and processes easier and cheaper we see many unusual (hair-brained) businesses start often with little chance of success. But the risk is minimal. 

4Cs - the road to success

In amongst all this disruption and mayhem, one thing remains constant: staying relevant to your customer. The internet can’t change that and while it might help you achieve it a little easier, business success can only come from your customers, not from anyone else.

The formula for business success hasn’t changed; captivate, capture and cultivate customers. And while astute observers will realise that Jeweller has borrowed the term “4Cs”, it is just as important to the business of jewellery retailing as it is to consumers buying a diamond.

Therefore, when you’re in the midst of all this digital disruption and mayhem wondering what to do next, simply us the 4Cs to focus on business basics in order to Captivate, Capture and Cultivate Customers. It might sound simple but it doesn’t hurt to be reminded of them from time-to-time.

So much so that we produced a special handbook to ready you for 2014 - The 4Cs of Marketing. Not only is it full of tips and advice on how to improve your business, it will make you realise that this digital age is really no different when it comes to success.

May you trade well over the Christmas/New Year period and prosper in 2014.

Coleby Nicholson

Former Publisher • Jeweller Magazine

Coleby Nicholson launched Jeweller in 1996 and was also publisher and managing editor from 2006 to 2019. He has covered the jewellery industry for more than 20 years and specialises in business-to-business aspects of the industry.

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