Prestigious Edinburgh jeweller Hamilton & Inches has revealed that it saw a more-than sixfold increase to its online sales during November, just months after it introduced a new website.
Speaking to Professional Jeweller on the first episode of the new PJ Podcast, CEO Victoria Houghton revealed that the shop had invested in a new e-commerce site at the perfect time – just before the UK’s first national lockdown, when all non-essential retail went online.
Acting in tandem with the new consumer focus on online retail during the pandemic, the website has exceeded all expectations for Hamilton & Inches, with the retailer reporting a year-on-year online sales boost of 530% through November as shoppers clamoured to prepare for Christmas.
Discussing the business’s shifting focus during lockdown, CEO Victoria Houghton commented: “So we had a website that was being upgraded anyway. But because of this [lockdown] we launched a whole new website. So it became the focus.”
She also described how Hamilton & Inches would communicate with customers more directly too, saying: “It very much became a personal service. You know, phone phone calls, video calls, as such.
“[But the launch of the new website] was brilliant timing for us. So we could still ensure products were accessible to our customers throughout. The website or social media became the only shopfront. So that was a real focus for the team.”
The website proved lucrative from day one, but it really came into its own last month, with Christmas shopping peaking at the Black Friday weekend.
Houghton said: “We’ve seen a huge increase year-on-year on the website sales. We’ve actually seen an increase of 530% in November. So that has been really successful for us.
“And we have noticed people are prepared to treat themselves in such a strange time. Shopping is a bit of a slice of normality during such a difficult year.
“And so we have found people have saved their money on other areas, [like] not going out, and had money to spend on items that they’ve been wishing for.”
The historic Edinburgh store is doubling down on its growth and is now investing in a full restoration across all five storeys. Read more below: