As the former head of merchandising and marketing for a luxury website, I’ve faced firsthand the challenges of featuring and selling fine jewelry online. From photography to descriptions to ease of checkout, each piece of the puzzle needs to fit together seamlessly for a successful user transaction.
Jewelry is probably the trickiest category out of all accessories; if a customer isn’t completely familiar with the brand, there are questions of fit, feel, and quality. I came up with a list of components that retailers should consider when creating a successful e-store—including sites that did it successfully.
Consistency is key. All pieces should be on the same background (white is usually best) and items should be shot from multiple angles. If you are able to invest in 3-D technology, this technique gives users a far more complete picture of the piece and its details.
• Tacori invested in an innovative take on a virtual try-on.
• Neiman Marcus gives customers a sense of scale with silhouettes of models.
Be aware that customers are probably comparison shopping online, so give them all the answers they need to choose your store over another. Be specific with sizes, including widths, diameters, and lengths. State carat weights and stone names. If there is a certificate for a stone available, include a PDF of the cert directly within the listing for easy access. All of these steps will not only help a potential buyer make a decision, but it will give them less reason to return an item.
• Stanley Korshak uses a bullet point list for product information that makes it easy for customers to understand each component.
State Restrictions Clearly
If the item is final sale or not available immediately, be sure to feature it prominently in the listing. Often people are buying online as a last-minute gift and expect to be able to have it shipped right away. These notes should ideally be placed near the “add to cart” button as a visual reminder.
• Roseark notes, for example, that an Anndra Neen necklace won’t be available for 2–4 weeks in red.
Offer Special Features
Allow your customers to add pieces to a stored virtual Wish List. This way, their friends and loved ones have access to a database of perfect gifts. It also reminds the customer of something they love and may not have been able to afford at the time. A “compare” function is also a great way to allow for a more in-store feel. Customers want to be able to compare the features of multiple pieces on one screen in order to make an informed decision. Additional information like a ring size guide preemptively answers questions for novice jewelry shoppers.
• Blue Nile offers a full-page “ring education” page that helps you find your ring size at home.
Connect With Social Media
Adding a simple Facebook “Like” button on a product page can be a huge boost to word-of-mouth for your store. Other options are to offer icons that allow customers to easily connect to Twitter, Pinterest, or Tumblr. It’s the new form of free advertising!
• Ylang23 has unobtrusive “share” icons under the “add to bag” button.
Author of A Girl’s Guide to Buying Diamonds, Randi Molofsky has covered the fine jewelry and gemstone industries for 12 years. A noted contributor to fashion and business publications ranging from W to New York, and the former fashion editor at National Jeweler, she also serves as a strategic consultant for industry organizations and high-profile designers. Randi muses on personal style and design at pimpsqueak.com.