E-commerce has been vilified by many independent retail jewelers as an under-cutting, price-conscious evil entity intent on stealing hard-earned business from brick-and-mortar stores while ripping their profit margins to shreds. At this point, though, it’s more or less a matter of if you can’t beat them the way you’ve been operating, you’d better consider joining them. It’s time to rethink e-commerce as a viable option for you, the independent brick-and-mortar-based jeweler, but also to understand what it takes in dollars and time to drive traffic to a website, says Ben Smithee, digital-marketing expert and CEO of The Smithee Group. The big online players didn’t get where they are without investing considerable time and money into marketing, social media and search-engine optimization. In other words, simply enabling e-commerce is not like flipping a switch and watching the money pour in. Instead, imagine you’re opening a second store. How much planning and preparation would you put into that? You’d work with a store designer. You’d hire more staff. You’d invest in advertising. “Most people grossly underestimate what it takes for advertising to send people to the site,” Smithee...