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12 Things to Know Before Creating Your First Jewelry Website

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The information on this website caters to jewelry businesses with real brick and mortar stores. Nothing in this article is geared toward etailer only stores.

As you sit and contemplate how to create your first jewelry website here are some things to think about:

  1. You do need a website. You cannot survive without it

  2. All adult users of the Internet use some kind of search engine to find store locations, services and products they are interested in.

  3. Since 2007 Google has tested and virtually perfected the service Google Local, which is designed to bring local customers together with local markets.

  4. Managing online inventory is as time consuming process as initially entering inventory into your POS in the store.

  5. In the article America, Online in the January 2007 of Instore Magazine it was reported that people research online, find the products they want, then go to a local store to purchase it. This allows customers to save time by researching online than door to door trips to local stores. NOTHING HAS CHANGED. How often do YOU search online before going to the store?

  6. Having your own large online product catalogs would put you in competition with mega online jewelry sites like Blue Nile, Amazon and every other hack auction site that undermines your customer service.

  7. Just like every other venture you attempt in business, without a significantly large advertising budget your website will not be successful. Sites like Blue Nile have spent a lot of money on marketing to make themselves a household name in jewelry. And they don't even have a brick and mortar store!

  8. It is counter productive to open an eCommerce only store and tell your current customers to buy from it. You have unwittingly told your customer, someone for whom you've spent a lot of money to get into your store originally, to shop online and not visit your store any more.

  9. Online sales to your current customers will dehumanize the shopping experience, diminish your customer service and you are losing the personal customer service that allows you to cater to the needs of your repeat customers while giving you opportunities for add-on or up-sells.

  10. Some vendors provide automated websites that you can "brand" as your own. They limit you to only the products they load in. These systems are an overly expensive, template process sold to many stores and create a competitive environment online that does not target your local market.

  11. Remember, customers search online locally before coming into the store. Your online product catalog should only show items you actually have in your store.

  12. It take a lot of time to manage a website. If you don't have the time, HIRE SOMEONE. Your website should stay up to date weekly or even daily. Post an ad on CraigsList for a part time employee specifically for your website.



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AT: 10/26/2009 06:49:46 PM   LINK TO THIS ARTICLE
3 Comments:

Kevin Hilderbrand said...
I am curious about No.6

It would seem that having a lot of your merchandise online would make it easier for your local customers to pre-shop or make out online Wish Lists.
Kevin Hilderbrand
kevin@hilderbrandjewelers.com
www.hilderbrandjewelers.com
12/09/2009 at 09:40:42
Matthew Perosi said...
Kevin,
You are actually correct. However, for the purposes of this particular post the answers are geared toward the 1st time website owner.

The total newbie should realize all the pitfalls of an attempted e-commerce site before they dive right in.

The website newbie needs to realize that every item the put online will require at least 1 quality photograph and a good description. Assume that each photograph takes 15 minutes to produce and then the description take another 10 minutes to write. That's 25 minutes per item.

You have the right idea with pre-shopping. Have you thought about how many items you want to give your customers to pre-shop? Your 20 most popular turning items? Your 30 most popular? Maybe the 50 items being advertised heavily in magazines by vendors for that time of year?

There are two possibilities when consumers visit your website: they are either looking for something specific, or they are randomly looking.

The "specific" shopper is influenced by the latest ads they saw on TV or in a magazine (note: it does not have to be your ad that they saw). If you want that sale you would need to have that item on your site... or some variation of that item. Your online product catalog can be a lot smaller if you cater to the specific shopper.

On the other hand, if you are hoping to capture the random attention of the casual shopper you would need a much larger online product catalog. "Random" in this case means you need to have a full breath of various products on your website.

BTW, 50 specific items would seem to indicate 50 x 25 min = 1250min or 20.8 hours.
What do you think you would need to populate your website with enough product to satisfy the pre-shopping needs of a random buyer? 100 items? 500 items? For every 100 items you will spend 42 hours in from of your computer.

That's why I said you need to hire someone. It's not worth your time as the business owner to do the work that an unskilled laborer could do.

As for the Wish Lists... I have only seen them work effectively when there are more then 500 items on a website. The idea of a which list is to give a random shopper the ability to tag their favorite items found in your catalog.

Thank you for the question. Hopefully my long answer sheds a little more light on the idea.

Matthew Perosi
12/09/2009 at 11:06:13
Kevin Hilderbrand said...
I am curious about No.6

It would seem that having a lot of your merchandise online would make it easier for your local customers to pre-shop or make out online Wish Lists.
Kevin Hilderbrand
kevin@hilderbrandjewelers.com
www.hilderbrandjewelers.com
12/09/2009 at 11:17:45
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