One of Northern Ireland’s longest established family jewellers is preparing to launch a new online platform as it looks to better compete on an omnichannel level.
Shannon’s in Lisburn, which incidentally has just completed a major refit of its main store, plans to give its business a digital makeover aimed at reaching more customers.
Owner Mervyn Shannon told the Belfast Telegraph that many independent jewellers had struggled to compete with major online retailers, but it is confident that the investment it is making in a new web platform will pay off.
The company already has a website for selling products, but Mr Shannon said the company has gone back to the drawing board and will shortly launch a new platform with a fresh look. A notice on its homepage states that its new website is “coming soon”.
It will bring its luxury stock and bespoke services to a wider customer base through the new website.
Shannon’s is already well plugged into the benefits of new technology, with Mr Shannon explaining how customers buying bespoke or remodelled pieces receive a video of prospective designs, sent via smartphone.
“We then take it step by step and create a ring to their choice. Over the last 10 years that has completely changed and revolutionised our lives,” he stated.
Mr Shannon told the paper that the retailer’s longevity in the market – it has been trading since 1925 – was down to its focus on personal service and bespoke luxury items.
With the competition at the lower end of the market fierce, he said the business has found its niche at the higher end.
“What I find is that when people get to a milestone age, often 40 or 50, they tend to come in and treat themselves to a nice watch. Something they’ve always seen as an aspirational buy. We’re getting a lot of that too.”
A key part of the business model is now remaking and restoring jewellery, according to Mr Shannon, who said: “It’s jewellery that has been passed down as heirloom from one generation to the next and we’re remodelling, resizing, bringing the next generation what they’d like.
“Sometimes you’re using the gold the customer has and completely remaking a brand new style. Sometimes they’ll have really nice stones, we’ll remount them into something that can be worn every day. Often it’s platinum or white gold, which the young people seem to like. Often it’s a matter of making it more modern, but using the diamonds they have, which are very valuable. We’ve seen a lot more of that of late.”