JCK Interviews Levinson Jewelers About Selling Jewelry Online

Levinson Jewelers’ online strategy is as seductive as the merchandise

Robin and Mark Levinson, the husband-and-wife co-owners of Levinson Jewelers in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., aren’t convinced that selling high-ticket jewelry items online is the future. But they were forward-thinking enough to jump on the ­e-commerce train early on, and now host one of the most beautiful, user-friendly websites—along with some of the best-looking social media pages—in the ­industry; the store’s Pinterest channel hosts a cufflinks-only page that’s pure eye candy. “We’ve been in the business for 30 years, and it’s easy to not jump on the bandwagon,” says Robin, “but we felt that we really needed to get with the times.” The fine jewelers recently added to their virtual offerings by debuting a sleek proprietary app that allows users to shop, share photos to social media, create a customized wish list, schedule an in-store appointment, and even RSVP to store events. Heading up all things digital is Levinson’s vice president of operations, John D’Amico, who views the company’s app, social pages, and site as virtual billboards—not necessarily points of sale. “We’ve found that it’s challenging at our price point for people to buy [online],” says D’Amico. “For someone to spend $20,000 on something and not see it in person…that’s not going to happen very often.”

Why did you launch a store app?

Robin: It evolved out of necessity, because we didn’t want to be twisting in the wind when it came to technology. Young people like to shop on their phones. John, who’s young and very involved, worked with [app developer] Helium Creations. John’s been with us a long time and he was ­saying, “This is what we need.”

What has been the reaction?

John: I think people really like it. We like the feature where people can RSVP to events, and we can also push notifications [announcing promotions, new inventory, etc.] to people who have the app.

What did you think about when you were designing the app—as far as looks and functionality?

Robin: We wanted it to be a fun way to shop and browse the store. We also wanted everything to be branded the exact same way: the app, the website, and the store. That was a really big thing for us.
John: We wanted it to be clean and easy to use and not too complicated.

Has having the app increased sales?

John: It’s hard to measure. It feels more like a sales tool for us. Even if it doesn’t blow us away in sales, we’re pleased with the response we are getting from customers. It’s another opportunity to be engaged with customers.
Robin: People will see something on the app, then come in and buy it. So I think the app is doing a better job than we know. The other day we had someone who’s a good customer come in and say, “I saw this on [website section] Robin’s Picks.” It all works together. You need the store and you need the Web.

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