7 ideas to improve online jewelry sales
I have done a number of articles for both magazines as on my own blog about the future. The future of retail, the future of jewelry and so on. A recent article in Wired about A.I and V.R. and the upcoming possibilities of what technological implementation might mean for retail as a whole, got me thinking even more about what the - a little reluctant to change - luxury industry needs to invest in, right now, in order to give the consumer in the nearby future, what they desire: emotion and story. A challenge especially for the online retailers!
Mobile is huge, but buying luxury on a mobile device isn’t. All the money spent in creating apps by stores is, perhaps, money that won’t bring the return on investment Let’s face it; mobile devices are very small. Although constantly in our lives, they do remain rather small devices. On such a small screen, it isn’t easy to tell a story, wow the customer and creates an easy see-click-buy experience. No one really downloads apps anymore. But according to the article in Wired and Daniel Murray of the fashion and lifestyle app Grabble, this is a weird problem as 89% of all time spend on our mobile is spent in apps. His solution is to create apps-in-apps. Something already possible within WeChat for example.
Luxury and jewelry, emotion and expectations
Investments on both sides, manufacturer, and consumer are almost always high and people want luxury items and experiences to last. Whilst we kind of find it acceptable that our latest iPhone (even if my latest costs around € 1300,- ) will have the lifespan of about two years before we long for a new one, we have a very different expectation when it comes to jewelry. If a ring costs €250,- we still expect it to last a lifetime. And as much as we try to link jewelry more to fashion, the largest part of our customers will still want the piece of jewelry to last a lifetime and therefore, it needs to match with everything and not be too fashionable. Also, jewelry is emotion. The client either buys it for an emotional reason or becomes emotionally attached over time.
What is the general public's perception of jewelry retail?
Reality may be different in the high-end part (jewelry can be part of an investment) or the low-end (pure decoration for an outfit, accessories for the very young) of the market, but I try to make a point of what is generally expected from consumers when they buy luxury. It needs to last a lifetime. Perhaps thinking in terms like this creates a little more of a fixed mindset than a growth mindset. The industry is not that challenged, as is technology and fashion, for example, to constantly innovate. Yes, new collections are created and new techniques are developed and who knows what 3-d printing and other developments will bring us, but I am sure you know what I mean.
As much as we have an air of glamour, we also have the air of being a little old-fashioned Just ask around, ask all the people who aren’t working in the industry, what their perception is of the jewelry world. You'll probably hear things like I hear: a little snobbish, lots of people feel too intimidated by the ultra-chic environment of some stores, too formal, salespeople that intimidate, I don't know a thing and don't know where to start even looking, not feeling at ease, not able to walk around without someone ''bothering'' you. Perhaps a power of branded jewelry is the fact they give the client the idea and assurance that they have made the right choice, they solved the problem of not knowing something is good or not so good, worth the money or not. From fashion brands creating jewelry to the big names, a name is a guarantee. Still, apart from a jewelry savvy public, there is a whole bunch of normal people to win over!
What experience? There is none when buying jewelry online. or...
I for one, am really excited to see what the implementation of new technology, such as AI and VR will bring to the experience of shopping jewelry. Jewelry is so very personal. I navigate often through websites that sell jewelry, and can’t help but wonder why anybody would buy jewelry online. I don't intend to be negative or be just for brick & mortar stores. I am not, I think both online & brick and mortar are great ways to sell jewelry and both have their unique possibilities to excel and delight.
There are enough websites that do sell online jewelry, mostly supported by brick and mortar stores, but some actually really are online only. For me, both websites lack something essential and that is emotion. I see nothing but the product. When you are lucky, a product on a model is shown but only to give an idea of scale. Some technical details about weight and stones and a shopping basket. Where is the fun? Where is the emotion? Where is the story? Why, oh but why should I want to buy this way? Some concepts in online jewelry are very successful. Some specialize in diamond engagement rings and they have come up with great ideas to tell more about the 4 C's etc. In this case, a client searches a particular kind of setting, but the main item is the diamond and customers choose a size they like and can afford. But with all the other types of jewelry, apart from simple hoops and chains, it's really very different. (prices of jewelry online are anything from €9,99 to well over €70.000)
How to change things?
We should start to open up our world. Most shop owners, in whatever industry, tend to know the reality of their own store and perhaps, but don't have an idea of the other realities in their industry. Do they know what happens in other countries, for example? We have such easy access today through online resources, but I like to state that we don’t use them enough. Opening up our minds starts with letting go of some of our fixed ideas. As I mentioned before, staying informed about the latest technologies, visiting trade fairs, also the ones about e-commerce and why not; tech fairs. Go see what happens in other industries!
Emotion and connection
I would say even to go see arts and travel, stay in nature etc. and get inspiration whilst you do so. What is that one thing that keeps popping up, all the time? Emotion. Connection. Humans connect with humans. Story stays. Telling instead of selling. Millennials want to know why and how. If you know this and really look at it without any filter (especially without the ‘’yes, but’’ filter) what do you see?
Millennials and Jewelry
I am not a Millennials but I also feel the rush of interest, an emotional rush, when I learn more about the why of a piece of jewelry and especially, ''the why'' of the designer or brand behind it. Or ''the why' 'of your jewelry store.
I also tend to drift away immediately and disconnect when presented with the romantic, but oh-so generic marketing babble that so many think is enchanting consumers. Again, not a Millennials myself, but they (and their spending power is increasing and this is why you should care about this enormous group of people) turn away even quicker as they have a natural antenna for generic content and it’s said that you get about 3 seconds (!) to enchant them. In those 3 seconds, they’ll decide to watch or click away.
So, there is much to do and much to observe and consider. But are there things that you could start today? I have created a list of things based on input, inspiration and experience. Perhaps you'll find something useful for your business to try out immediately?! :-)
7 ideas to improve the client experience of your online jewelry site and e-commerce business
Invest in emotion! Create video content and/or possibilities to chat with the designer. Create a webinar or do a Q&A online with live chat and video. (note to self, time to practice what I preach on my own blog too ;-) )
Create Pinterest (-like)mood boards around an emotion, around a designer, and around a collection. Don’t just show jewelry (make however sure the consumer can easily purchase from any site) but everything that has inspired the artist, the collection or strengthens the emotion that the jewelry wants to express. Or take the emotion of the client and create a world of jewelry and images around it. Put these boards on the website too!
Be human. Many sites are beautiful. I can see the hand of the master creating all kinds of stunning effects and extensions. But I genuinely miss a real person or a team with names and pictures and their story. An idea could be to allow them to share a story.
Where is the Boss? One of the big trends in 2018 is the owner, CEO or company director be a visible ambassador for the company. And what would a consumer love to know about this person in order to connect with him or her ánd the brand? Certainly not his/her CV.
Be thorough. If you sell both online- and offline, be as consistent in your story as possible. Take a look at everything you can find about the client journey. The worst thing? Not sure, but one of the things I personally detest is certainly the salesperson in-store telling me; ''ah yes, well you need to do that online unfortunately, we can’t help you here''
Create a strong online experience in-store too! Obviously, a collection might be larger than what is available in a brick and mortar store, but a client should not be bothered by how your business is organized. Don’t ask him/her for understanding, but create an amazing online experience in-store. Nope, that is not getting your personal iPad out of your bag and search on the company's website for that article that client mentioned. ;-)
Use mystery shoppers. Online and offline. Work with agencies that are able to give great feedback and training to improve services. They can make you aware of things that you don't even notice (anymore).
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- All opinions expressed in this article are my own unless otherwise stated.