Jewellers must combine online and offline worlds

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Manny Abraham explains why shops always bring customer satisfaction.

By Manny Abraham

Before the introduction of secure payments, shopping online was seen as a risky process that simply didn’t match up to the in-store experience.

Those days are now behind us, as the increased security that comes with making online payments has run parallel with the vast number of retailers and brands that have moved into e-commerce. For smaller retailers, the overheads involved in maintaining physical stores can take their toll, especially in the retail jewellery sector, where a number have shifted to an online only model in order to survive.

However, with this comes the fact that it is very difficult to replicate experiencing the look and feel of jewellery, as well as the added personal service that comes with purchasing in-store. Many products and services lend themselves to being purchased online, but there are exceptions that need to be experienced first-hand to avoid post-purchase disappointment – jewellery is, in my opinion, one of these exceptions, especially as it is a more emotive purchase that often involves a special occasion or connection. However, the savviness of today’s consumers means many want to research online before going out to shop in person. This is why having a solid online presence is important, but without marrying this up with a great in-store follow-up, it can be difficult to guarantee customers complete satisfaction.

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Increasingly, jewellers including The Real Effect use the online space as a ‘showcasing’ area that acts as a virtual shop front, which allows consumers to browse and decide before purchasing through an independent jeweller. This process combines the convenience of online browsing with the ability to see items in the flesh before a final decision is made. This not only creates an ideal overall consumer experience, but helps in driving further business to independents that can more readily sell and promote themselves to a captive audience of customers – and after researching items of interest online, consumers will be closer to making a purchasing decision when they get in-store.

On the whole, purchasing habits could not be more varied, given that consumers have a wider choice of channels through which to do shop than ever before. However, more bespoke items like jewellery and accessories still need to be physically experienced in order to guarantee complete satisfaction – the online space is a great place to start this journey, but continuing this in-store not only helps drive certainty that items are completely right for consumers, but helps ensure the industry’s backbone goes from strength to strength.

Manny Abraham is sales manager at The Real Effect.

 

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