FEATURE: Buying groups target jewellery shoppers with B2C sites

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As Professional Jeweller unveiled the Reach List 2015, an index of the power of jewellery retailers and brands across the British digital landscape, both of the UK’s jewellery buying groups were preparing to bolster the online presence of their members with the launch of websites that will target consumers.

This is a historic step for both groups. While conversations about how to translate what the groups represent for a consumer audience have been heard around the industry for many years, this is the first definitive step towards actually doing so.

CMJ chief executive Willie Hamilton told Professional Jeweller that the reason for launching a business-to-consumer (B2C) website now was a matter of “timing and market forces”.

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He said: “We see this as an opportunity to deliver additional benefit to retailers and suppliers who are part of the CMJ. As consumers use of web searches becomes ever more sophisticated we want to ensure when they are looking for a master jeweller or a specific brand, they can rely on the assurance of The Company of Master Jewellers to know they are using a trusted brand.”

The CMJ B2C website, which has no firm launch date but was presented to members and suppliers at its UK Jewellery Conference last month, will allow consumers to search for a retail jeweller by postcode. Clicking on a jeweller in the resulting list of CMJ members will direct the user to a page dedicated to that retailer with images of the store, details of the business and a list of the type of products and services it sells.

A page will also be created for each of the approved CMJ suppliers with general information about the brand, a list of CMJ retailers that stock it and image galleries of new collections.

Both CMJ suppliers and retailer members will have direct control over their pages and will be able to update and enrich the entry.

Other sections of the CMJ site, which has been developed by Design Unique and iSynergy, will be dedicated to consumerfriendly news and trends, as well as a section promoting jobs currently available across the British jewellery industry.

As Professional Jeweller went to press Houlden Group had not yet presented its own B2C website plans to its entire membership and so declined to share exact details or imagery to show what the site will look like on launch. However, the website is now live and available to view.

The website operates under the tag line Jewellers of Excellence and acts as an online portal to showcase its members to the general public.

“Jewellers of Excellence will be portrayed to the consumer as a luxury consortium of independent watch and fi ne jewellery retailers,” explained Houlden Group founding director and chief executive Stuart Laing, who said the concept of the site was first floated with members in February.

“It will provide consumers with a platform where they can find some of the best luxury independent jewellers in the UK and Ireland.”

Laing believes that grouping its members under one banner online will act as a hallmark of quality. “Having this status assigned to their business will give consumers greater trust and will set the retailers apart from the rest in the industry,” he said. “Many of our members have been in business in excess of 100 years, meaning they have a strong reputation of trust, knowledge and quality on the high street; giving the consumer greater comfort in their purchase.”

The feature first appeared in the November issue of Professional Jeweller magazine. Read it here.


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