Retailers Feel Threatened by E-tail
Jewelry retailers continue to express fear about losing sales to E-tailers, and we’d like to offer some perspective to counter that fear.
Let’s start with some information. Consumers still report that they prefer to buy jewelry in store, and in fact, more than 80% of all jewelry is still bought at bricks-and-mortar retailers. Here are a few other interesting statistics, from JCK Online’s article “Why Jewelry Consumers Prefer to Shop in Stores.”
· 59% of consumers said they only shop for jewelry in stores.
· Only 2% of consumers said they only shop for jewelry online.
· 87% of consumers said they prefer to see the live merchandise before buying.
· 69% said they sought the help of a sales associate when buying jewelry.
For Consumers, It’s All About Merchandise Selection
But here’s the real kicker: 88% of jewelry consumers said “selection of merchandise” is most important to them when buying jewelry.
So, the competition isn’t E-tailers – the competition is whoever has the best merchandise selection! Yes, price does matter to consumers – but so do “experience” and “selection.” And since all three are important, bricks-and-mortar retailers have no reason to be afraid of E-tailers – and lots of ways to compete with them.
Six Tips to Help You Compete with E-tail
Here are a few top suggestions for competing with E-tailers from jewelry industry expert Andrea Hill:
1. Maintain an up-to-date website that includes all your products. The more product you have on your site, the more interesting your site will be for jewelry shoppers. Over 90% of purchasers of fine jewelry reported that they did online research before making their purchase in-store. If you have the site that offers the most (and most informative!) product information, you’re likely to be the store they’ll walk into when they’re ready to buy.
2. Make sure all your products are optimized for SEO. Think about it. If you have over 1,000 products online, and each of those products is optimized for search, that’s at least 1,000 different search terms (at least) that your customers could use to find you! The best way to find new customers is through optimized search, and your product database is pure search gold.
3. Include a shopping cart on your site. This suggestion is a bit counter-intuitive. Shoppers like to know they could have immediate gratification if they wanted to order online. Even though more than 80% of those shoppers will come into your store to buy, just knowing that they could order online, if they wanted to, creates credibility for you and seems to be a draw for today’s online shopper.
4. Include information about custom design and the ability to make special orders, with lots of information about the kinds of diamonds, gem-stones, and personalization options available through you. Since “selection” is extremely important to consumers, make sure they understand that your selection goes beyond what they can put into a cart – something that E-tailers simply can’t offer.
5. Collect email addresses! Do everything you can – from social media sweepstakes to in-store giveaways and website promotions – to collect email addresses. Email is the best way to stay in touch with your customers and get them back into the store. Your E-tail competitors are using email to maintain a relationship with your customers, and you should too!
6. Use email automation (sometimes referred to as Inbound Marketing) as a core part of your marketing strategy. Want to learn more about this marketing approach? Follow the Hubspot blog – it’s a treasure trove of advice and suggestions for using email to stay connected with your customers.
Nobody knows jewelry better than an independent retail jeweler. Use that to your advantage! Compete online for customer attention, and use your online and email strategies to bring them into your store. That’s a competitive advantage that any E-tailer will find difficult to compete with.