Independent jewellery retailers that haven’t yet invested in developing meaningful online or e-commerce capabilities could find it increasingly difficult to win new business as consumers turn to the web for orders and advice.
The consensus from independents that have spoken to Professional Jeweller this month is that even if jewellers aren’t actually selling stock online, they should at least own a website that provides useful, current information for customers and offers a reason for them to visit the store.
With social media also now a vital element of the retail marketing mix, independent jewellery stockists are widely expected to step up their internet capabilities this year.
“Independent jewellers can no longer rely on physical footfall, but need to have an excellent online offering,” said Alexis Dove of the eponymous Sussex jeweller, which is planning improvements to its own website this year.
She thinks jewellers’ websites need to make it clear to customers what they do and provide a high-quality online shopping experience.
Simon Millership of Norfolk jewellers Nova Silver is not convinced that online sales will outstrip store sales for independent jewellers, but he does agree that the internet is influencing purchasing decisions. Millership said: “We have noticed a strong trend of customers browsing online before coming into the store to complete the purchase.”
Read Professional Jeweller’s Feb 2016 edition online to find out more about the issues impacting independent jewellers this year (p.47).