With a global growing jewelry market expected to reach a total of $272B in sales by 2020, and customers more and more comfortable with online shopping even for big ticket purchases, jewelry e-commerce is starting to shine on like never before.
One fine jeweller getting very serious online is British brand Boodles. It launched a transactional website three years ago and director James Amos says that since then things have moved rapidly. It is currently in the process of expanding its e-commerce team and will launch a brand-new site next year.
Boodles’ top online sale to date was a necklace sold to an overseas first-time customer for £64,000, but Amos says that whether the final total at checkout is large or small, what is vital for every sale is to make sure it comes with the full Boodles experience.
“Create a value proposition to the costumer”
“We often hand deliver to customers to make sure we meet them in person, and usually enclose a hand-written note with any purchase,” says Amos. “We aim to stay true to our word about when we will call, and when something will be delivered, to ensure that a customer is never left waiting, which could emphasise the distance between us and them.”
“Optimize your web site to mobile devices”
Chopard starting selling direct to the public online two years ago when it launched its US e-boutique, and has followed up this year with a European online store, ensuring both are fully optimised for a range of browsing devices.
Chopard says that more than 50% of its web traffic comes from mobile phones, with many people purchasing some of its more affordable lines via their mobiles. The brand adds that larger sales tend to be made through desktop computers, although “some important sales” have been made on tablets.
And Neil Patel sugests to:
Build a community first
“Another way that you can market your store on a budget is by placing a focus on building a community around your brand.
If you take the time to build a community of people, perhaps using a Facebook Group, over time, you’ll have easy access to a group of people who represent your target audience.
It’s worth noting that building a community is often easier when you combine community building with content marketing.
For example, you can use content to promote a Facebook Group.
You can then also keep people engaged in the Facebook Group, with the help of content marketing.
You could host live webinars, or ‘Facebook Live’ videos, to provide some kind of value for your audience.
You’re free to provide these videos as recordings, later on down the line.
For example, if I were in the business of selling bicycles, I might host some Facebook Live videos or webinar sessions, where I go through how to repair a bike or how to train for a bike event. I might even bring on some guests.
You can also provide value to this community, by making it a place where people can get quick answers to any questions that they might have.
Building a community doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.
As I mentioned above, content marketing can be done sufficiently on a budget. You only have to be willing to put in the time. The same goes for community building.”
Who is pushing the envelope?
While previously mentioned US-based company BlueNile has recorded $473M revenues in the fiscal year ending Jan 2015 by selling internationally, there are other notable players that seem to rapidly attempt for the crown of jewelry e-commerce. The most active market in the most recent years in terms of jewelry online shopping adoption is undoubtedly India. And no wonder, as it is the biggest consumer of gold and diamond jewelry in terms of volume at a global level, as well as a market with high growth penetration of e-commerce with renowned players like Flipkart.
India’s first ever and largest online jewelry store is CaratLane. The company was founded in 2008 and has raised $52M funding to date. One of the founders came from a family owned traditional jewelry business and was inspired by BlueNile during his studies in California. The other founder was a customer of this traditional jewelry business and had a tech background.
Nowadays, CaratLane is eyeing a yearly sales goal of $226M by 2020 in India, while it is estimated to close 2015 with a revenue of $53M (that is a 2.3X growth from 2013 to 2015 and a 4.3X growth from 2015 to 2020) — numbers that show a very rapid growth of the Indian jewelry e-commerce market.
BlueStone, another Indian-based company, saw the potential and opened the digital gates for jewelry shoppers in 2011. Since then they raised $31M to fuel their rapid growth. And most notably is that among their investors one could find Ratan Tata, the Chairman of Tata Group, a conglomerate that gathers all sorts of services and products, including India’s largest jewelry brand, Tanishq. This stands as a proof that the traditional jewelry brands are seriously looking into the online e-commerce trends for the jewelry vertical.
With such a fast growing online jewelry market, India is setting an example at global level. Businesses eyeing the jewelry vertical have much to learn from how Caratlane and Bluestone are shaping the rapid adoption of e-commerce for precious earrings, bracelets, necklaces, rings and solitaires.
You might wonder why Caratlane and Bluestone, the two leaders in jewelry e-commerce in India, have rapidly adopted visual search technology on their platform. As a matter of fact, Caratlane was our first customer in India, before our other current customers there like Flipkart and Roposo. And they might have been the first business in India to add visual search to their e-commerce platform.
So why is visual search such a vital feature for selling jewelry online?
To start with, jewelry is difficult to describe in words by an average shopper. A certain ring design is more difficult to describe than a red and gold floral A shape dress with a V neck. How can you describe a ring more than saying “a diamond ring”? So the way shoppers go on their quest for the perfect pair of earrings is by finding inspiration first, browsing through the items in a traditional or digital shop.
What made traditional shops more appealing in the era before visual search was the fact that once the shopper set her eyes on a jewelry item she somehow liked, she could ask the shop assistant to show her other similar items. But now that is possible in the digital world as well, with visual search technology showcasing in real time visually similar items based purely on the looks, and not on popularity. This acts like a virtual shop assistant that pleases shoppers and helps them find exactly what they love.
Of course, the technology needed special tweaking to accommodate the jewelry vertical. While ViSenze has its core specialty in fashion, when encountering this market need we fine tuned our machine learning algorithms to be able to look into types and colors of gems, specific jewelry designs etc.