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While e-commerce is crucial, nothing replaces the in-store experience

BAND NOW WE ARE all aware of the growing trend of consumers buying jewelry online, a trend that has accelerated during the COVID-19 pandemic. While the number of online jewelry sales during the 2021 holidays has increased dramatically, research indicates that people still prefer to buy big-ticket items in person at retail stores.

Fewer than one in five survey respondents say they would buy an engagement ring online without seeing it in person. In fact, according to BriteCo’s study, 81% of people purchased their ring in person at a retail store, 10% purchased from a jewelry store’s website, and only 9% purchased through a jewelry website. online only. The proportion of people buying an engagement ring online was about the same regardless of how much they spent on their purchase.

However, local jewelry retailers need to boost their online presence to stay competitive in today’s market. Younger consumers, in general, are starting their jewelry shopping experience online, even for the most important items. With two-thirds of all diamond purchases made by millennials and Gen Z consumers, most are likely to start researching their options online.

What does this mean for independent retail jewelers?

Good news! Online jewelry websites aren’t going to replace the in-person shopping experience anytime soon. People are still strongly drawn to human interaction when buying expensive items such as engagement rings. In a recent BriteCo survey, we asked customers why they bought their engagement ring in person at a retail store, and in-person shopping respondents listed reliability (42%) as their top reason. In contrast, online shoppers cited ease of purchase (41%), price comparison (35%) and reviews from friends/family of the product they purchased (27%) as top priorities. reasons to buy engagement rings online.

Conclusion: Retail jewelers must negotiate a hybrid in-store and digital presence to reach their customers and entice them to buy. You can’t wait to explore technologies like Zoom meetings, SMS, and other similar technologies to create an interactive experience for customers that enhances your sales process. It’s because your competitors selling jewelry online aren’t just staying online; they come to your town to show off their wares in person.

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The continued preference for in-person shopping is likely a driving force for online jewelers expanding their presence in physical showrooms. Online jewelry websites like Blue Nile and Brilliant Earth have quickly adapted to the needs of their customers, including opening on-site retail showrooms so their customers can see, touch and try on jewelry. jewelry before making a purchase. They do this because they recognize that there is no substitute for visual and tactile in-store experience.

Retail jewelers have a solid foundation that they cannot afford to take for granted. They must embrace and take advantage of new trends such as social media and digital marketing to grow their business and keep pace with customer demands.