Jewelry Industry Shows Signs of Improvement Online

Considering that L2’s Digital IQ Index for the watches and jewelry category called 80 percent of jewelry brands “average” “challenged,” or “feeble,” it would have been easy for me to headline this blog post Jewelry Industry STILL Struggling Online.

However, I found too many encouraging signs that the industry might be headed in the right direction at long last.

For starters, nearly half the 47 brands in this year’s study sell online, compared with a third a year ago; almost half the brands now engage in paid search, up from 17 percent in 2009; and all but two brands—Rolex and Patek Philippe—are present on Facebook, and 85 percent maintain an official presence on Twitter. More than half the brands have launched Pinterest pages.

Tiffany & Co. retained its “genius” ranking based on the company’s blend of commerce and branding building, as well as the ease of its checkout process. The retailer also earned kudos for its e-commerce–enabled mobile site.

Last year, only Swarowski achieved “gifted” status. This year, Swarovski is joined by seven other jewelry brands: David Yurman, Tissot, Cartier, Montblanc, Pandora, De Beers, and Victorinox.

De Beers was considered “challenged” last year, but jumped to “gifted” based on its strong organic search visibility and the launch of its De Beers Bridal mobile app. Swarovski earned praise for its Wedding Bliss Pinterest board, which boasts more than 830,000 followers.

Other highlights from the survey:

  • Watch and jewelry brands registered 11 percent of e-commerce sales from tablet devices in 2011, at conversion rates 1.5 to two times those of PCs.
  • Forty-three percent of brands now have a mobile optimized website, up from just 23 percent a year ago.
  • Forty-seven percent of the brands in the study offer e-commerce—a big jump from 31 percent in L2’s 2011 study. Brands with e-commerce register 49 percent greater year-on-year traffic growth and more than 1.5 times as many Google searches as brands that are not selling online.
  • Forty-three percent of brands participate on Instagram.

All that is great news. Here’s some of the bad:

  • Out of all the categories L2 studies (which include fashion, hotels, and speciality retail), the watch and jewelry category is the weakest—with only 19 percent of brands classified as “genius” or “gifted.”
  • Websites haven’t kept up with online retail trends. Of the 28 brands followed since 2010, only 25 percent have gift finders; just 7 percent have live chat, product rankings, and reviews; and only 4 percent (!!!) provide an in-store pick-up feature.
  • The average brand in the study owns just 25 percent of the search results for their brand terms on the first page of Google and only 16 percent of the first page search results on YouTube.
  • While 79 percent of brands engage in email marketing, only 57 percent send follow-up emails. Only 30 percent of brands optimize their emails for mobile devices.  

I’ve said this before in some form or another, but it bears repeating: Online isn’t something to be feared or admonished. It’s the future of retail whether we like it or not, and having a presence online will only help your sales. Ask for help, attend a webinar, and engage your customers to find ways your business can improve online.

You—and your bottom line—won’t be sorry that you did.

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