“The jewelry industry seems poised for a glittering future” according to a recently published report from global consulting giant McKinsey & Company entitled “The Jewelry Industry in 2020.”
McKinsey estimates annual global sales of $168 billion are expected to grow at a healthy clip of 5 to 6 percent each year, totaling $285 billion by 2020. The report noted that “Consumer appetite for jewelry, which was dampened by the global recession, now appears more voracious.”
The industry is also reported to be dynamic and fast moving. “Jewelry players can’t simply do business as usual and expect to thrive; they must be alert and responsive to important trends and developments or else risk being left behind by more agile competitors,” the McKinsey report went on to say.
The dynamic nature of the business is clearly evident in two key trends: The growth of branded jewelry and the massive increases in online jewelry sales. Online jewelry sales are enjoying double-digit sales growth, far outpacing the category as a whole.
What makes for an attractive, engaging and ultimately successful eCommerce presence for a jewelry company?
Create a Distinct Visual Brand
These days it is more important than ever for an online jewelry retailer to establish a clear and distinct visual brand. What does this mean?
Fashion and fine jewelry designers need to start with a great product line, and then work to establish a visual identity that will empower them to stand apart from the competition.
Much of the visual brand presence is represented by photography, and there is a need to create images that consistently underscore your brand. If people see the product line on a website or social media (often on a smart phone) will they be able to quickly recognize and experience the unique attributes of your brand?
The online jewelry market is saturated, and the method for success is to distinguish yourself visually, in a fast and in an engaging way.
Use Consistent High Quality Product Images
In many people’s minds, when it comes to eCommerce it is all about product shots on white.
They think creating these shots is very simple, though it is actually very complex, and many aspects need to be managed with a great attention to detail.
Styling of pieces is important: the arrangement of the product in the frame must be smooth and neat, in order to makes the product look most appealing. When shooting a series of like products, make sure they are styled consistently.
Lighting is especially import for jewelry. It is an intricate process to light the various component parts of jewelry well. Some need “hard” light, while others look much better using “soft” light.
Retouching is also important. It is its own craft, and nearly all images need help: for example delivering consistent color, a clean white background, with strong contrast. In short, a litany of issues need to be managed.
Effective eCommerce usually means employing a large volume of images to keep things fresh and engaging for viewers. A good balance of quality, with a casual appeal, will work best for these eCommerce images.
Smart jewelry companies seek out photographers who have a process and infrastructure in place to deliver consistent, high quality shots. Every time a detail is overlooked, the images and ultimately eCommerce sales will suffer as a result.
Move Fast to Test Emerging Technologies
People are using mobile devices and smart phones more than ever in their daily lives. In an era of short attention spans, and a need for immediate gratification, the appearance of “buy” buttons is revolutionizing the way people can shop online using social media.
Many social media networks, including Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter, are now offering a simple two-step “buy” button. This is a revolutionary online shopping development. This emerging technology is ripe for use in jewelry eCommerce.
Using this feature, the social media user can purchase the product in as few as two taps – one on the buy button and a second confirmation tap.
Online merchants also need to work hard to stay visible and relevant by actively managing their “digital storefront” (website, blog, social media) with fresh, engaging and relevant content. They should also be mindful of tracking the data eCommerce produces to help identify what works, and what does not work.
It’s clear that the eCommerce future for jewelry manufacturers and retailers is a bright one, with a mindful approach to the art + science of eCommerce.