Samara James managing director Ed Searancke on the internet revolution
Samara James owner and managing director Ed Searancke discusses the effect of the internet revolution on retailers.
Much has been written about the internet revolution and how it is changing the way people find information, and how they use this information to affect their purchasing decisions.
This phenomenon is now starting to have a fundamental effect on the UK jewellery industry and it is vital that jewellers across the country understand how this will affect their business, both in the short and medium term.
Historically, the availability of independent, good quality and impartial information in relation to diamonds and diamond jewellery has been quite limited. The classic example is the DeBeers marketing of the four C’s developed in the mid 20th Century, which became the unchallenged bedrock of consumer diamond education, despite its significant flaws and limitations.
However, with the emergence of the internet, there are now some superb sources of diamond and jewellery information which consumers are increasingly starting to use to make more informed and better buying decisions. For example, many customers are finding forums like the American website Pricescope.com to be of immense value, as it allows jewellers and consumers to discuss different diamond characteristics in great detail.
This information is helping customers to see how important it is that their diamond is certified, and moreover, by a reputable laboratory like GIA. It is also helping customers to go beyond this, to understand for example how the quality of the diamond cutting directly affects the beauty of diamonds in terms of the amount of brilliance, fire and scintillation.
Because consumers are more informed and more discerning, we are finding many customers contacting us to discuss their specific requirements because they are simply not able to find what they are looking for on the High Street.
This is important because I believe that we are just at the start rather than the end of this information revolution and the appetite for consumers to understand more about diamonds, and to seek out the best quality, will continue to gather pace.
This means that High Street jewellers across the country will need to reappraise their business to ensure they continue to meet the changing needs of their increasingly more sophisticated and well informed customers.