There's an idea among first time website owners that it's best to slap up a website with perfect jewelry photos, prices, and a Buy Now button and they can sell online. At the other end of the scale there's another camp of first time website owners that feel it's best to slap up a website with basic information about the jewelry store and they will attract new customers into the store.
Both of these ideas are completely erroneous. There is no way to slap a website together and become a success. What's worse is that we know, and our staff has attended, many seminars at jewelry trade shows where both of these myths are perpetuated.
You might be familiar with the phrases "Business card Websites" and "E-commerce sites from vendors." The business card site is a basic 1, 2, or 3 page website that puts your name online. The e-commerce site from a vendor is usually some type of template populated with products only from that vendor.
Successful websites don't come from simply having your name online; you can use any number of free websites and review rating services for that, including Facebook.
Successful websites also don't come from simply having a database of products online. You could freely load your products into Google Merchant Center and never make a single sale. You could use the relatively inexpensive Zibaba.com to sell your products on Facebook too, but again, success doesn't come from setting up a website and leaving it alone.
Consumers want tons of information available at all times. They want to search for it online, use their own personal sources to discover, and eventually make their own buying decision before even walking into your store.
Especially during the hectic holiday season, customers want this information so they can make an informed decision on their own, using information sources that they found on their own. The problem most retail jewelers face is that they are not a font of online information. Sell, sell, sell might be your motto but customers will not buy unless you teach, teach, teach them first.
During the Holiday 2010 season we had the opportunity to advise a new e-commerce jewelry website. As is typical for an e-commerce launch, a lot of time went into the setup of the products, basic product descriptions, and photographs. The photographs were beautiful.
The launch went well right before Thanksgiving, and through the use of AdWords they successfully attracted thousands of people to their site during the 2010 Holiday Season.
Our early advice was to write new educational information for their product line. Typical information would include the 4C's, a Diamond Buyer's Guide, Gemstone Guide, Birthstone Guide, but more specifically there should be educational information about the types of styles they carry. However, their initial feeling was that the internet was loaded with hundreds of other sources of the same information and they didn't see the need to regurgitate similar educational material.
Toward the end of December 2010 we sat down and analyzed their Google Analytics, after which this jeweler started a huge project to load their website with as much educational material that they had the time to write. Here's why...
The above mentioned jeweler had a few ring styles online that included the word "cathedral." Consumers search keywords in strange ways that you won't think of, and in this case we found phrase searches for:
* what is a cathedral ring
* example cathedral rings
* best cathedral ring
* cathedral ring reviews
It's typical for a jewelry store to optimize their website for the phrase "engagement rings" but how often would you think of writing specific content to answer those above search queries?
By the way, that e-commerce site didn't sell any cathedral style rings in December 2010, in fact most of the visitors arriving via those cathedral keyword searches actually bounced off their site because they landed on a product that had the word cathedral in the description, instead of an educational page.
Let's extend this idea further. What about phrases like "earring backs" or "diamond studs" or "brushed metal?" Each of these is a phrase you would use in your daily sales conversations with customers in person, but what we're showing is that you need this type of content on your website, and you need it soon.
Normally we say you must have 400 words or more on each page, but instead we want you to grab your camera and start taking random photos of your jewelry. In this case you don't have to sell the item so the photo method and quality can be simple. Upload each photo to your site with an explanation of what the photo shows. This is simple education content that you then link to your product catalog pages.
In the above example you could make a page titled "What is a Cathedral Ring?" and show a photo with an explanation. Below the photo you would then put links or photos of the cathedral rings you sell, linking each photo to dedicated product pages.
You need to come up with a full set of your own phrases and create matching content pages, but here are a few to get you started:
* best engagement ring
* best ring for her
* channel or pave
* what is a center cut diamond
* cost to replace posts on diamonds
* diamond side view
* framed ring
* how big is a diamond
* traditional round diamond setting
* diamond size comparison
* what diamond is too big for a hand
* how much does a diamond cost
* jewelry every woman should have/own
If you think we just unloaded a ton of work on you, you're absolutely right. Google conducted a study of 5000 people in April 2011 to prove that users search online for this type of information long before ever coming into a store. Only after the online search is over will the customer get in their car and go to a physical store.
So get started. Once again take a look at the items you will push during the Holiday 2011 season and start writing random educational content to match as many jewelry styles as possible. Make some command decisions for what type of educational topics to cover and try to get them posted online before November 1, 2011.
Go. Do this!