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5 Types of Online Jewelry Catalogs, Part 2

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This is Part 2 in our series of Daily Golden Nuggets explaining the different types of online product catalogs that retail jewelers could have.

On the surface, there might not seem to be a big difference between one online product catalog compared to another. Many include the same common features like wish lists, order history, and customer accounts. But from behind the scenes you as the jeweler need to figure out how to maintain the system and weigh the importance of ease of maintenance to customer satisfaction and how that all affects your overall bottom line.

In case you've joined us in the middle of our conversation, we are reviewing the TYPE 2 CATALOG today. Here're the types of catalogs we've identified:
Type 1: Vendor Controlled Websites and Catalogs ( http://bit.ly/rhnsa3 )
Type 2: POS Uploaded Catalogs ( http://bit.ly/oILWca )
Type 3: Simple Manual Product Showcases ( http://bit.ly/q4MJwW )
Type 4: Manual Uploaded Catalogs ( http://bit.ly/n25HPS )
Type 5: Full Manual Catalogs

Note: This is a review of the "product catalog" area of a website only, not a review of all the possible website features.

TYPE 2: POS UPLOADED CATALOG
Setup Difficulty: Easy - Moderate
Customer's Perception: Real inventory to buy online or in-store.
Customer Realization: Very satisfied by immediate availability of jewelry.
Internet Reach: Low, generally just local.
SEO Value: Low

Logic Mate, Abbot Jewelry Systems, and InCom Technical Solutions (again, to name just a few) have point-of-sale and inventory management software that can also upload inventory to your website. In this situation, you usually have a choice to use one of their built-in website templates, or have a website built for you.

Setting up the overall website will take a little longer because you usually have a lot more options. Once that's up and running, it's pretty nice to see your inventory automatically update on the website to match what you have in the store.

With this method you are usually in control of the items, images, and descriptions that get uploaded to your website. Your POS product descriptions automatically upload to the website. Although, there are usually limitations on the descriptions and number of image photos that get uploaded.

The benefit of this catalog type is that you are in control of it. Sell online if you want to, make the sale, provide customer service, and collect all the money. Management of your inventory happens through the software you already know rather than having to deal with a secondary system through a web browser. Website inventory management is very fast.

The drawback of this catalog type is that you are usually responsible for loading the product photography into the POS software. Taking the photos yourself can be a nightmare, so instead you need to tell your purchaser to request photography from your vendors when ordering/reordering each item. While many vendors will not send an image CD with your jewelry shipment, you just need to ask them for it.

We're classifying this type as having low internet reach and low SEO value because the uploaded descriptions are usually short. There is an opportunity to have good descriptions but in reality the inventory management person in your store will know little of SEO value and how to write romantic sales descriptions.

Search engines usually direct local customers to the other pages of your website and then they navigate into the catalog. Very seldomly do the individual product detail pages rank in the SERP unless you are selling popular designer lines and publicly show the designer's style number. Specific style numbers always rank well in Google, so if you sell a common brand you should publicize the style numbers for SEO value.

Your customers will love it because they can browse online and compare your selection to your competitor without being in your store. This might seem like a bad idea, but in fact it helps the entire sales process. In the new commerce model, a real online inventory allows a customer to browse your inventory selection while standing in another jewelry store.

There is a major drawback in this catalog type. It's always buggy. New versions of POS software are available all the time. In our experience, the upload process can randomly break without warning and your website silently stops updating itself. Someone on your staff needs to spot check the website, especially after a POS revision update.

The bottom line of a TYPE 2 catalog is simple website inventory management. This is a great option for jewelry stores that want a true representation of their inventory online. It can be set up with or without online selling. Remember that the rest of your website is not considered in the discussion of this TYPE 2 catalog.

Disclaimer: We're not making any specific recommendations about Logic Mate/Abbott/InCom; those just happen to be 3 software vendors chosen at random. Make sure to evaluate your inventory management software for your own specific needs.
AT: 08/03/2011 11:25:16 AM   LINK TO THIS GOLD NUGGET
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