The internet has changed the face of jewelry retailing. The millennial generation, who are more internet savvy, prefer to buy items online instead of going to a physical store. According to a report by Peter Gasca, almost every major box retailer now has an online presence. eBay and Amazon continue to thrive, as well. The number of purchases made online in 2016 surpassed that in 2015, and this trend may not stop. But as consumers continue to look for more convenience and better deals, retail jewelers should embrace e-commerce to stay competitive.
Jewelers must have the art of design. Since they are experts in custom designs, they must be able to sketch out a design and get the customer’s approval before moving forward. In this modern age, jewelers have the ability to create pictures of their designs using software programs. These software programs can be used to create pictures of the designs a customer would like to buy. However, the traditional methods of design still remain. In traditional brick and mortar stores, jewelers must sell their own jewelry.
Another way to differentiate from the competition is to partner with designers, celebrities, and other equities. Sterling Jewelers, for instance, found success with a Jane Seymour-branded line. JCPenney and Modern Bride also partnered to launch celebrity costume lines. QVC also made the move into jewelry retail by collaborating with the Smithsonian Institute to create replicas of famous pieces. These associations give jewelers an edge in the industry and generate store traffic.
While there are benefits to retail jewelers, the biggest downside is that they lack personal attention for their customers. Big box retailers sell mass-produced jewelry and generally of lower quality. When you choose a local jeweler, you can get personalized attention without waiting in line. Another benefit to buying fine jewelry online is the cost. Most online jewelers charge less than brick and mortar retail stores, but if you can afford to pay a little more, you can get some very unique pieces.
Besides offering a comfortable and friendly shopping environment, independent jewelers are also adopting the home-like feel. Most independent jewelers wear business-casual clothing, while some offer complimentary beverages, but only if you ask. This is one way to increase customer satisfaction. And don’t forget to use pre-established code words, which are easily identifiable to thieves. In addition to that, don’t be predictable. And don’t forget to carry a fully charged cell phone!
Bridal jewelry accounts for half of the revenue generated by jewelry retailers. Consequently, marriage trends can have a significant impact on sales in the industry. The average age of first marriage has increased, and couples are typically more financially stable. Despite the growing number of divorces, there are still significant percentages of married couples that will reach a milestone anniversary. And these couples are more likely to buy a diamond engagement ring. With such trends, it’s no wonder that jewelry retailers are experiencing such strong growth.