The 2015 holiday shopping season was a watershed for retailers: More people shopped online than in stores during Black Friday weekend. More and more, consumers are turning to the Internet for everything from inspiration to education and interaction with the brands they love.
Customers have become comfortable buying expensive items such as jewelry online, so independent retailers face competition from online-only jewelry purveyors as well as hybrid start-ups that offer pop-up shops and a seamless electronic experience.
If you want to play in the e-commerce arena, you’ll need to invest in high-resolution, 360-degree images of the items you sell and build out a back end for online payment processing that integrates with your existing inventory management system.
Although many fine jewelry retailers eschew e-commerce, preferring to use their Web and social media footprints to guide customers to their brick-and-mortar stores, digital strategy is still crucial.
For instance, the proliferation of smartphones and tablets demands that retailers tailor their websites to these devices, while a mastery of search engine optimization and location-based tools is necessary to bring customers not only to your website, but also to your doorstep.
Those willing to invest the time and money can reap rewards: Sophisticated analytics tools can put at your fingertips the data that will show you almost instantly whether your tactics are working, and social media lets you develop the kind of high-touch personal relationship with your customers even if they’re not in the same room. More so than any other marketing channel, social networks such as Facebook and Instagram let you cultivate genuine dialogues with your current and prospective customers.
As technology becomes more important for connecting with customers and making sales, it’s clear that the future is here. Evaluate and ask yourself if your store is ready for the digital revolution.