Emma Thompson is head of client success at e-commerce digital marketing agency, Visualsoft.
Here, she asks how jewellers can stay ahead of the competition with a strong online offering, especially with this year’s Valentine’s Day falling in lockdown.
This year, with the ongoing national lockdown in the UK, upcoming birthdays, anniversaries, and special occasions, will have to be celebrated at a distance from loved ones.
Whilst this is disappointing for many who wish to spend these events with family and friends during this time, it is still possible to make celebrations as special as they can be.
The next big event on the calendar is Valentine’s Day and the event has grown in popularity over the last decade. In 2020, it was estimated that over £1bn was spent in buying gifts and experiences for the day, showing an 0.6% increase on the year previously.
Last year, the most popular gift choice was jewellery, with a whopping £4.2 billion spent on the perfect item.
Whilst jewellers in England are now unable to let customers come into their shop and try on a piece, this year, there is a real opportunity for jewellers to boost their ecommerce offering, gain customer loyalty, and increase their sales despite the ongoing restrictions.
With an estimated 32% of shoppers having bought gifts online in 2020, and with the current lockdown anticipating even more online purchasing, jewellery businesses must be doing everything they can to prepare for this peak online sales period in the next few weeks running up to Valentine’s Day.
So, how can jewellery businesses prepare for the anticipated spike in traffic on their site in the run up to the occasion?
Be transparent with consumers about any potential delays
With Valentine’s Day only a few weeks away, final checks should be carried out to make sure that once a sale is made on the site, the journey from purchase to consumer, is as smooth as possible.
With the ongoing complications of the pandemic, it may be an unfortunate consequence that shipping will take longer or that some items of jewellery may be more difficult to get hold of.
Since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, a survey commissioned by Citizens Advice found that over 47% of British consumers have had issues with parcel delivery.
However, if brands communicate these delays effectively with their consumers and respond quickly to any queries, this all contributes to a positive purchase experience, and increases the chances of the customer returning to the site in the future.
Therefore, jewellery retailers should include a visible delivery warning on their site to ensure that purchasers are informed of any potential delays.
This transparency can ensure consumers return to the site in the future, but also allows the consumer to purchase the item with enough time for it to be sent to their loved one in time for the big day.
Choose a range of high-quality images of your products
Jewellery items are often highly considered purchases with consumers wanting to make sure the item is the perfect gift for the recipient. With the ongoing lockdown meaning they are unable to go into stores to inspect or try on an item, the imagery used on a jeweller’s site is now more important than ever.
While product descriptions are important, images provide shoppers with product details, often going further than what the text descriptions can offer. High quality images, showing the item at different angles, as well as modelling the item for the consumer to see, can all contribute to a higher chance of purchase.
Similarly, product images with visual relation to the scale or size of the item, can help the purchaser to choose the right item and reduces the chances of the item needing to be returned.
Weave storytelling into your sales strategy
Another way to prepare your site in the lead up to Valentine’s Day, can be helping the consumer to visualise the purchase. Many jewellery purchases are driven by emotion and storytelling is a great way to help consumers chose the perfect item that fits their own situation. For ecommerce, storytelling is vital, as it is one of the only ways that brands can cut through the barrier of the computer screen and connect with the consumer.
Jewellery sites can use storytelling in a range of ways; grouping products together that are ideal purchases for a partner or even having a dedicated ‘engagement’ section for consumers to browse. Similarly, having a section that speaks to the purchaser’s emotions, such as addressing the potentially distanced celebration this year, can add authenticity to the jewellery brand which, in turn, can lead to improving credibility, building customer loyalty and most importantly, driving sales.
For jewellery consumers, especially on Valentine’s Day, there is heightened emotion around a thoughtful purchase and helping the purchaser to navigate a site, and find something ideal for a loved one, can be encouraged if a brand is willing to use storytelling to connect with them on a more personal level.
Despite a difficult year for trading in 2020, our jewellery clients saw an almost 70% year on year increase in revenue from 2019. This suggests that even with the ongoing restrictions, jewellery businesses can continue to thrive online and increase sales over the coming months. By being transparent with customers, providing extensive and high-quality images of jewellery items and introducing storytelling into their strategy, jewellery businesses can further their ecommerce offering throughout this Valentine’s sales period and beyond.
Words by Emma Thompson, head of client success at e-commerce digital marketing agency, Visualsoft.