Digital agency and web hosting provider Nublue, whose clients include T.H. Baker, Azendi and The Jewel Hut, share their top tips for online jewellery retailers on how to make their mark and get out in front of the competition during the busy Valentines season.
The best brands don’t compete. Instead, they establish themselves as the only game in town for their niche. Think of a premium smartphone for example, and Apple is top of the list. Think of a soft drink, and it’s Coca Cola. As an online jeweller your company may not carry the same weight as these global brands, but there are measures that you can take – including emulating certain qualities of these brands – to help your business stand out this Valentines.
- Market research
What are other brands doing outside the jewellery industry? It’s not about keeping up with the Joneses; it’s about getting out in front with the best offering on the market and even daring to do something completely different. Look at Apple’s Watch page, for example – its use of minimal text and maximum imagery sells their watch on aesthetic first, while its short, concise copy does an elegant, effective job of selling not only the benefits of the watch, but also the lifestyle around it. When you’re looking at sites that inspire you, remember to look past what you can see on the page too, since that’s only half the story. You’ll also want to keep an eye on more technical aspects, like how long web pages take to load.
- Website speed
Customers take fast loading speeds for granted. Websites that take more than two or three seconds to load begin to lose visitors quickly, so it’s vital to the success of online retailers that their sites load their content in as short a time as possible. This is where high-performance web hosting can really make a difference. Hosting options like SSD drives, a content delivery network (CDN) or greater resource on your server can all help to make your website faster, smoother and more responsive while customers are clicking around to decide on their purchase. If you’re expecting to see a surge in traffic on your site around Valentines, then you’ll also want to make sure that your hosting has plenty of resource available to avoid your site slowing down or even crashing and losing you sales.
- Your checkout process
Streamlining your site’s checkout and removing any non-vital steps could make purchasing faster and increase your conversions from paying customers. Steps to remove at the checkout could include the need for customers to login first before they buy, or to enter their details more than once before your site accepts their payment. There’s also a growing trend at the moment towards removing all distractions from site checkouts. The process of making a purchase is very different to the process of shopping on a site, and many navigation or browsing features are essentially useless now that the customer is no longer searching for what to buy. Instead, your checkout screen could easily remove all product links and information on deals to strip things right down to the essentials, and include large clear buttons to make purchasing as quick and easy as possible.
- Responsive design
A website that’s designed responsively will adapt to whatever size of screen that people are browsing it on – whether that’s a PC, tablet, phone or their smart TV. A well-designed mobile version of your site may need to be very different to its standard desktop design – for example, by stripping back elements to the sides of your pages and checkout to create a more simple, refined, one-column layout that fits perfectly to the tall narrow shape of a smartphone screen.
- Establish trust
Often what your customers say about you can be much more powerful than anything you can say about yourself. The power’s in the quote marks of those customer reviews and testimonials, so make sure they’re very easy to see on your website. You might also look at encouraging reviews for your website or products through your social media channels, and absolutely have a presence on high-traffic independent review sites like Feefo, TrustPilot and Reviews.co.uk. If people are saying wonderful things about you, make sure that as many people as possible can see what they think. Be aware though that TrustPilot deals in open reviews, much like TripAdvisor, so remember to address any potential negative reviews that people may leave here in addition to managing your chosen review site.
- Make sure your platform is up to date
Whichever software platform your website is built on, you’ll want to make sure that you’re using its most up-to-date stable version. The latest version of your platform may give you added features, improved ease of use and, crucially, greater protection for you and your visitors from potential threats online. If you use Magento, for example, then you could look at upgrading to the recently launched Magento 2, which gives you improved performance, enhanced features and easier customisations for your online store – and can even remove potential hurdles for your customers when they come to buy.
- Refine your message
For some shoppers, the natural good looks of a product range made of gems and precious metals might well sell itself – but there’s no harm in helping things along through your sales and marketing copy. While much of the space on jewellery sites is given over to large images, there’s always the opportunity to sharpen and refine your site’s text to emphasise the points that will help your jewellery to sell: how your audience will feel when they wear it, how perfect jewellery is as a Valentines gift for a loved one, and the huge emotional connection behind something as small as a ring. After all this isn’t just a ring, a necklace or a pair of earrings; it’s a declaration of your feelings for a loved one, or for the love of your life. Make sure your copy captures just how important jewellery can be in people’s lives.
- Look at GTLDs
People expect to see ‘.com’ or ‘.co.uk’ after your web address. What they might not expect is ‘.rocks’ or ‘.boutique’, which might help your site to stand out from the competition. Generic top-level domains (GTLDs) like these are a way to customise your web address to make it more memorable and more specific to your business – and even better if you can choose one that sparks off your site’s name and creates a memorable play on words.
- Establish more trust
So important we put it in twice. Among customers’ concerns when buying from online jewellery retailers is knowing whether to trust them with their credit card details, or if the product that they’re going to have delivered is 100% authentic. Unless you have bricks-and-mortar stores where people can try before they buy, it can be tricky to establish that same trust online – but additions to your site such as the logos of the brands you deal in, a Google Certified Shop badge or an SSL certificate with higher visibility can all help to establish that vital trust among your visitors.