Marc Frankel started the Long Island Watch Company a decade ago with a vision to source quality affordable watches and brands and make them available to customers in the US and abroad. An aerospace engineer by profession, Frankel has grown what started as a part-time side project into a thriving enterprise.
Early success saw Frankel establishing a website around 2005. In 2011, he decided to leave his engineering job and dedicate himself to his watch business full-time. Today, he runs a small team and is supported by a handful of contractors who look after some of his backend design and marketing activities.
Frankel’s first website was pretty rudimentary. He leveraged one of the first online shopping carts to come to market for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs).
Designing and customizing the website proved challenging for a first-timer, but Frankel soon found his feet. With help from a web design acquaintance, he got the hang of resizing photos of his watches and uploading them to his store. As the years passed, he upgraded his software and enlisted the help of other consultants to optimize his online store.
When the pandemic hit, ensuring that his online business was robust and resilient took on a new level of urgency. The next few months involved a concerted effort with his team to coordinate a full-scale website relaunch.
At that time, Frankel learned that his ecommerce platform provider, Volusion (then an established market leader and the biggest provider of cloud-hosted online stores for SMBs), had filed for bankruptcy. This followed an incident in late 2019 when hackers compromised the company’s cloud infrastructure.
A random conversation
During a conversation shortly after that with one of his training consultants, he started to think particularly hard about the risk of data loss or breach. Frankel relates that she told him: “You have to have Rewind. There are no ifs or buts about it. Almost everyone in online ecommerce has a horror story to tell – you don’t want to be telling people your own one day.”
Frankel’s concern grew as his consultant explained just how quick and easy it is to accidentally delete your whole store or significant portions of it – with just a few misplaced keystrokes – and never get it back.
Shortly after that, a graphic designer almost deleted a complete product line, prompting Frankel to invest in Rewind’s solution.
Just a month later, true disaster struck.
One day, Frankel used one of his finance apps to calculate figures such as gross profit and gross profit margin. Doing so required him to input all of his costs of goods sold, which were saved in QuickBooks. A lack of interoperability between Frankel’s various platforms required him to use an old-fashioned spreadsheet to upload these figures.
Just what happened next, he’s never quite been able to pinpoint – but the outcome was gut-wrenching.
Later that night, he was browsing through his store and, to his horror, noticed that all his watches’ prices were incorrect!
He explains his shock and disbelief: “Why is that watch being advertised at 90 bucks? That’s a 300-dollar watch!” I exclaimed. “And the more I looked, I realized the full extent of the calamity – almost every product was mispriced! Worse still, the prices of any items that hadn’t been sold in a long time had defaulted to zero. It was just a mess.”
Fortunately, Frankel’s heart rate lowered when his consultant reminded him that he had Rewind.
After a few quick phone calls and a few short hours, the entire product database of over 6,000 products had been restored with the correct pricing.
Better still, while the restore was underway, Rewind helped temporarily disable the purchase feature on the site to avoid any purchases being made.
In retrospect, Frankel realized just how important his decision to partner with Rewind had been: “I thought to myself, ‘Oh my goodness, I’m so glad I had Rewind or I really don’t know how I would have gotten all the pricing back because the data really didn’t exist anywhere other than on the store.’”
A daunting prospect
The prospect of manually restoring his watches’ correct pricing would have been even more daunting, given that each product’s price changes every two or three months. Frankel estimated that he’d have had to cobble something together, and even that would have taken over a day.
“I would have had no other option than to completely shut down my store while I tried to figure everything out.
“Not only would I have lost at least a full day’s revenue, what about all the questions from confused and irate customers asking why they suddenly couldn’t buy anything on the store? My reputation would have inevitably taken a knock.
“I hope I never have to invoke a backup like that ever again, that’s for sure. But if I have to, at least I know Rewind is always there.”
What can other ecommerce business owners learn from Frankel’s experience?
Here are some key takeaways:
- Third-party apps are often the culprit in data loss. That’s because their “read and write” permissions give users the ability to change or delete data – deliberately or accidentally.
- Small businesses are particularly vulnerable to accidental data deletion and loss. That’s because, by nature, these organizations regularly enlist the support of contractors or freelancers. Such individuals might be unaccustomed to the platforms and software, and a few small mistakes could easily end in catastrophe.
- When we read about high-profile data breaches or losses in the news, they usually involve large corporations. The Long Island Watch Company’s tale teaches us that data loss can be equally catastrophic for smaller businesses.
Protect your Shopify or BigCommerce data now.