Jewellers losing the online battle with brands

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Increasing number of shoppers are spending direct with brands.

High street and online multi-brand jewellery stores could lose out to single brands that use the internet to market and sell their products direct to the public, according to a report by accountant PwC.

The report has claimed that an increasing number of British consumers are now choosing to buy direct from brands online.

In a survey of more than 1,000 members of the public, 28 percent said that they have bought direct from a brand in the past. The shoppers cited a variety of reasons for this including more choice and a fuller range (43 percent), lower price (41 percent), brand loyalty (22 percent) and better service (13 percent).

Jewellery brands currently selling direct to consumers include Shaun Leane, Theo Fennell, Thomas Sabo and Links of London. However there are still some brands, such as Stephen Webster, that show collections online, but direct customers to their retail partners to shop rather than selling direct online.

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PwC said that some of the most forward-looking brands are using their online presence not just to grow their sales, but to engage more actively with consumers. For example, the NikeID site allows consumers to customise their own trainers and share their designs and opinions with other fans.

Pandora does not yet sell direct to the public, but its UK website is actively acquiring consumer data by encouraging people to join the Pandora Club. This club will give them advanced notice of new products and access to limited edition jewellery in return for club members providing an e-mail address and postcode. This information is currently used to help direct people to their nearest high street jeweller or Pandora store.

Pandora also allows visitors to its site to digitally design their own bracelets using a database of charms far greater than a typical high street jeweller could stock. The customised bracelets provide feedback to Pandora about which charms are the most popular in different parts of the country and at different times of year.

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