Jewelry At Your Fingertips: The Online Revolution April 17 2016

Online Sales

Rui Lin just got off work at her retail banking job in Shanghai and immediately jumped into her mobile phone to purchase an e ticket for the train ride back home. As a 32-year-old working mom, she laid back and relaxed for a few minutes on the coach as she glared past the rails and scenery whiz past her at 200 miles per hour. A few minutes in, her phone buzzed yet again and she surfing on the inter webs for an elegant beaded and lace gown for her wedding anniversary next week. Mrs. Lin is another example of how online retailing has taken over the world. Whether you’re in China or Brazil, the explosive growth of e-commerce has an astounding impact in revolutionizing the way you purchasing your favorite brand.

In 2016, the e-commerce market is expected to surpass $1.9 trillion. Exponential growth rates are forecasted for the next few decades as consumers everywhere gain access to the internet through personal mobile phones and computers. The rapid rise of connectivity in emerging nations in India and many other emerging economies fuel this growth at an astounding pace and will reshape the way business is done throughout the globe.

Despite impressive growth rates and a large consensus of the move toward online retailing, there has been one particular sector that has been slow to pick up the pace: fine jewelry. In the US alone, the jewelry market is over $70 billion and it is continually disrupted by the emergence of online extensions from big time players such as Swarovski and Blue Nile. So then why is the industry still playing catch up? Well, choosing a diamond encrusted engagement ring or a blue sapphire bracelet for a wedding anniversary is an incredibly emotionally charged purchase. Experts claim that clients want to personally experience jewelry before committing to purchase them. However, it’s not all doom and gloom. A new wave of technological innovations is making its way to the forefront of online jewelry to evolve the way this highly personal experience is preserved.

One particular improvement lies in the realm or concierge jewelry or in other words, personal jewelers. This sector usually runs as a smaller operation than retail jewelers and rely heavily on spread of word of mouth among their loyal clients. Their highly personalized service capabilities usually give them a distinct advantage but with the rise of ecommerce this style is becoming more prevalent. Online stores can be engineered to suit the needs of individual clients across a large base and hence improve the overall level of customer satisfaction.

Much of this enhanced engineering comes from the customizability of the jewelry offered. A survey conducted by Bain & Co. revealed that over 25% of clients are interested in online customization. This involves changing the orientation and carats of gemstones in jewelry, adjusting the alloy mix of metals utilized in rings, submitting their own CAD designs of personal jewelry and even selecting the mode of delivery to cater special occasions.  

Better service through online retailing come also in the form of sophisticated websites. Seamless navigations, high quality images and videos of entire collections and intuitive check out processes enabled by secure payment gateways are all ways in which the e commerce has been taking over the jewelry industry. An exciting innovation to be realized very soon awaits in capabilities of 3D printing. As it becomes more common and costs fall, clients will be able to try out their own samples of jewelry and judge its comfort, fit and desirability well before they commit to the purchase.

The changing landscape of online shopping is becoming very important in shaping the new behaviors of consumers worldwide. Retailers are scrambling to ride the wave as an increasing margin of their sales are now being derived from their online stores. Technology is being used to marry personalized services to this new realm of e-commerce and the jewelry industry is at its forefront. So as Mrs. Lin surfs through her mobile to find that perfect dress, her actions are fueling a rapid advancement in society to make goods and services from around the world available at her fingertips.

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