There’s a certain charm, and undeniable benefit, to selling jewelry. Jewels appeal to people of all genders, ages, and demographics. They make for excellent presents and are often used to mark important life events. The sheer variety of jewelry available is stunning – a variety of precious metals and gemstones in all colors of the spectrum come together such that no two products are exactly the same.
In its market forecast and opportunities report for 2018 in the jewelry segment, Research and Markets highlights a few significant points.
- The United States is the largest jewelry market, and about half of its revenue comes from sales of diamond jewelry.
- It is expected that the global jewelry market will surpass the USD 257 billion mark by the end of this year.
- The conscious customer is now shifting to other precious metals and is focusing on buying ethically sourced gemstones.
Something similar can also be said for premium accessories. People continue to pay a lot of money for high-end watches and bags. By 2021, it is expected that on an average, every user will spend close to USD 80 on premium accessories in a year, and this is only the average.
Convinced yet? If online jewelry retail is something that you’re looking to be in, here’s what you need to know.
Why Is Selling Jewelry Online So Hard?
- Great profit margins, check. Niche domain, check. Growing in sales in the domain, check again. Yet, why do we have so few online retailers for jewelry? The clear answer lies in consumer perception. When buying from a retail outlet that has a brand name, customers are more confident about their purchases. They know the product would be genuine. They expect to be able to exchange the product at prevailing rates anytime they want. Most importantly, they make a purchase only after trying out a product in several different ways.
These are benefits online retail cannot offer, at least not in the exact same ways. Most online retailers are only now waking up to the idea of home trials for jewelry. Customers are also concerned about the policies of exchanging or replacing jewelry bought online.
- The sales channel you choose is just as important. With premium products, you need to choose marketplaces that are traditionally perceived as being trustworthy and customer-oriented. This may mean losing out on sales through several other channels. If you have your own web store, you need to generate trust in your brand and make people feel secure shopping with you.
- Fake products are a huge deal breaker, especially in a scenario where trust is hard-earned. If you’re selling first copies of a product, you need to mention this very clearly on all your product pages. Likewise, where are you sourcing your products from? You may start out with the best intentions in mind, but if your vendor has other, less ethical ideas, you may find yourself caught in the trap. Spend time in choosing your vendors and verify their credentials as thoroughly as possible.
- Accolades are key. If you’re recognized as a distinguished jewelry seller by a known brand, highlight this. Over time, your products will be recognized as premium ones if you keep up high-quality standards. Remember, you will be expected to provide certificates for the gemstones you sell, and they need to be completely accurate.
Online Jewelry Sales: Cracking The Code
If you have found a way to resolve most issues that come with online jewelry sales, and if you are confident of building trust over time, here are some things you can do to build a foolproof business from the word ‘go’.
Your Digital Catalog
The display cases, mirrors, and lighting in a retail store are now replaced by your product catalog. Before we even get to the images, let’s talk about details.
You need to provide as many details about the product in question as possible. People are different, and so are their queries, so cover as many product detail bases as possible. If the product is a unique shade of gold, mention it as eloquently as possible. You can have a table underneath the product description that talks about details such as the number, color, and weight of gemstones used, the type of precious metal, etc.
The same goes for accessories. If different components are made of different materials, be sure to mention this clearly. For watches, details of the mode of operation, strap material and color, dial material and color, etc. come in handy. For handbags, be sure to mention extras, such as how many secret pouches they have or if they come with an extra shoulder strap.
Pictures So Awesome, They’re The Real Deal
Since potential customers cannot touch and feel your products, the pictures have to do the trick.
Every single detail matters, including the precise placement of each bit of the product and what it looks like under various lighting conditions. You may also want to have some images shot with a model so customers can see what it would look like on themselves.
Providing trials at home is a great idea, but you need to give people ample reasons to get to that point, or even to buy without a trial at all.
As a retailer, you know that shipping products out is a cost your business is bearing in hopes of a potential sale. In the case of jewelry, this cost is often even higher than that for a regular product. If you can avoid this by providing pictures and even a short video clip instead, you’ve just saved money.
Fair Trade Jewelry
The concept of fair trade jewelry is not new, just the sheer number of people preferring it is. We all know what blood diamonds are, thanks to the eponymous 2006 movie starring Leonardo DiCaprio. With growing customer awareness, they now know that some jewelry is mass-produced in sweatshops, often with child labor. What’s more, knowledgeable customers have stopped turning a blind eye to cruelty, choosing instead responsibly sourced gemstones, bespoke jewelry pieces and even vegan leather and naturally dyed products.
At some point in time, you will have to fall in line with these expectations, so why not start now? Not only is it a better guarantee of building a sustainable business the world over, you can also do it without having to worry about the ethical and legal ramifications of selling mass-produced goods.
Handling Your Jewelry Inventory
Every single piece of jewelry and premium accessories in your possession needs to be accounted for. Premium products are expensive, even to a retailer. The Gross Margin Return On Investment (GMROI) is the ratio that tells you whether you’re making enough in sales to compensate for the cost of your investment. In the case of online jewelry stores, this can exclusively be a relation between returns and inventory cost. As long as this value stays above 1, you’re doing okay, but when it falls below 1, you’re spending more on inventory than you’re gaining out of it.
According to the Retail Owners Institute, GMROI in the jewelry industry has been steadily falling since 2015.
In other words, having too much inventory is expensive, more so for a jewelry retailer. Also, having too much inventory that doesn’t move out the door is even worse, as it is just sitting in your warehouse and not making you any money.
A good inventory management software can help you cut your losses with inventory. You can track those products that are selling out fast and include more of these in your inventory. You can also see what products aren’t moving and find ways to get them to do so. All of this is possible only if you have a very clear picture of your inventory.
Another benefit of a good inventory management system is that it dynamically keeps track of all of your orders and adjusts inventory levels accordingly. By doing so, you never have products in the warehouse that you don’t even know exist. Further, the system can adjust inventory levels based on returns and replacements and works all through the day, so you have one significantly less thing to worry about.
Shipping And Insurance
Shipping and handling is a challenge for almost all retailers, but even more so for you selling online jewelry. Your products are too precious to be strewn about and shipped around in whatever way possible, so you’ll often be paying more than the usual for insurance and the right packaging. Here’s what you can do to minimize your shipping risks.
- Tempting as it may be to skimp on, always get shipping insurance.
- Choose one shipping partner you trust, and stick to them.
- If you do promise delivery timelines, always be on time. People can get very upset when high-value purchases don’t show up on time.
- You may choose to have returns and replacements handled by the same, trusted shipping partner.
- Always spend time thinking about packaging. Most jewelry and other premium accessories are fairly delicate, and you don’t want to deliver a broken product.
Using The Right Marketing Channels
In the age of social media as a marketing tool, you cannot ignore the power it has to build your brand’s awareness and trust.
Instagram is a great platform for you, as you’re already armed with great pictures that you can post instantly. Moreover, Instagram is generally considered a good place to discover new trends in apparel and accessories.
You can also create boards for your collections on Pinterest. A lot of people who’re just looking around spend time on Pinterest. You can use this to your advantage – pin and repin products from your collection, and tell a story around them.
It is certainly tempting to target your marketing efforts by gender, and this is not a bad idea with jewelry. Even for things such as engagement rings, it is the women who spend more time in research. However, don’t categorize products by gender alone. You may think that men’s watches or ties would more often be browsed by men, but it could be women looking for gifts for their partners too. The same is the case with premium handbags and wallets.
Questions about sourcing and selling jewelry? Let’s hear ’em! What else would you do to ensure your online jewelry business runs smoothly?