August 22, 2016
There's no question the jewelry industry is struggling to adapt to new technologies of retail and the expectations of the mobile shopper. Online sales and e-commerce is the future, not an option, with features like virtual shopping and 3D immersion bound to alter retail in a major way. Think that's a distant future that doesn't affect your jewelry business? Think again. To help jewelers understand how to sell online successfully, Shane O'Neill, Vice President of Fruchtman Marketing, revealed steps to prepare an e-commerce strategy in an August webinar for Jewelers of America Members. In case you missed it, here are his five steps to creating a successful online sale experience for your jewelry business.

1. Choose Your Platform

Obviously, choosing your platform is one of the key components to online success. To select a platform that will fit your business strategy, consider:
  • Ease of use. Understand the level of internal staff evolvement and capabilities. If you don't have much manpower to dedicate, make sure the system is turnkey and involves minimal manual implementation from your team.
  • Scalability. Can it grow with you?
  • Is it affordable? There are many options available for selling online, but don’t break the bank before you make some bank. Look at what is needed versus extra features and make sure the cost will fit into your yearly marketing budget.
  • How will it look and does it function easily for the user? User experience is key, when looking at demo's make sure to think like your jewelry customers. How will the product images appear, is it easy to get a product into the shopping cart and move on to payment?

2. Manage Products

Part of a great website experience is having products and pricing online. Yes, they will price shop you, so don’t bother trying to fool these online consumers; they are probably the savviest of shoppers.

However, a key factor to successful e-commerce is to make sure you manage your products and inventory online. There is nothing worse than a customer being notified that the product is no longer available. They will wonder, “Then why was it online?”

Weekly audits of inventory or streaming directly from your POS system, such as The Edge, will make sure products are available if someone wants to purchase.

3. Decide Your Payment Processing Options

There are many options for payment processing and PayPal should probably be part of consumer options you provide. They are trusted, insured and many people feel comfortable with making purchases on most websites via PayPal.

4. Set Your Expectations, Reasonably

Set your expectations low and build from there. Successful online selling will, most likely, require a change in how and where your marketing dollars are spent. It’s easier to sell sub $500 items online than it is engagement rings. Engagement ring shoppers want to see and touch the ring first. That can be an advantage to an independent jeweler, and bringing new traffic to your store. Understand that having an e-commerce experience may not always result in an online sale but can still help secure a sale.

5. Budget for Implementation & Digital Marketing

The final key element to successful online sales strategy is driving traffic to your website and, for 99% of jewelry companies, that means having a budget and a plan. Just because you can now sell online and reach anyone anywhere on the globe, doesn’t mean you can afford to. More likely, jewelers should focus and budget for local or regional reach and expand once online sales warrant it.

These are just a few pointers to start to develop your e-commerce strategy. You’ll experience learning curves as you finesse your online sales experience. However, jewelry companies that start from a position to evolve, rather jump in at the last minute, will be the ones that stay in business for decades to come.

Jewelers of America webinars are free to JA Members, don't miss the next one, see our webinar schedule here.
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