This is the Friday Jewelry Website Review to help you learn more about your own website by looking at a review from another jeweler's real website.
I found today's review candidate by searching for "jewelry stores in san antonio tx" in the Chrome browser using incognito mode.
Here's the website: http://www.lmfj.com; you might want to open it up to follow along as you read this review.
Upon landing on the Lee Michaels home page, I was greeted with the typical animation of several large images. One of those images invites you to download the Lee Michaels 5C'S APP to your iPhone or iPad. Naturally, being the computer geek that I am, I downloaded and tested out their app.
I'm always impressed when a retail jeweler takes a step into technology in a big way like this. There are a few jewelry vendors that create generic jewelry apps, but very few retailers that are willing to spend the time and money to make their own.
The "LM" app is rather simple. It's really just a training tool to explain the 4C's of Diamonds. They added a 5th C for "Confidence." The app doesn't have a product catalog, a message system, or even explain what services LM provides. It's simply an educational tool. I imagine that the sales reps use this as an educational tool for new diamond buyers. Instead of walking over to the typical diamond education counter kiosk, they probably tell people to download the app. This sounds like the perfect way for a fine jeweler to create a personal connection with Generation Y.
As I clicked through the website, I noticed how their header is designed around "actions" that I would want to take, rather than them telling me about themselves...
Shop Lee Michaels
Make A Statement
I discovered a very unusual attention to detail when I clicked on the Locations link at the top of the page. That link brings you to the Contact page (http://www.lmfj.com/contact.php ), but the screen jumps down to the list of cities rather than staying up at the top. Honestly, I would have just created a dedicated "Locations" page with the URL http://www.lmfj.com/locations.phpinstead, but their method is just as effective for usability.
The design of their website includes a black ribbon winding its way from the top of the page down through the footer. The ribbon has the store name on it and is well placed as a visual separator. It wasn't until I took the 15 minutes to watch the Lee Michaels Story extended video that I found out that this black ribbon is part of their branding.
While I'm on the topic of their website design, I have to say that I find myself undecided if I like it. It looks really nice on my computer screen, but it doesn't look so good on my iPhone or my Android. I was very disappointed that the iPhone app didn't lead me to a mobile website.
If LM was willing to spend money developing a mobile app why didn't they spend the extra money to make a mobile website? That disappointed me, and I'm sure it will disappoint many app users. It would make a lot of sense if that "5C's App" brought users directly to the engagement ring section of a mobile website rather than to the bloated desktop version of their home page.
I enjoyed browsing through the "Make A Statement" section of their website:
In there I found subsections that make complete sense for a retail jeweler, and they provide an unusual type of online customer service that almost mimics the conversation that someone would have with you in person.
Let me go through it...
This Seasons Fashion Trends:
I was happy just to see this page on the website. This is such an easy method of adding customer friendly content to a jewelry website, but so few do it.
It looks like this page has reprints of four thank you notes from customers. I'm sure many jewelers have a few of these lying around that could be transcribed and posted to their websites just like this.
Looks We Love:
This page provides a seasonal opportunity to talk about new looks and styles other than the fashion trends. The photos and the layout really make the page pop.
This page adds a nice personal touch to the website. How often do customers ask your opinion about the jewelry you're trying to sell them? The "picks" here were chosen by six of their employees. The photos are large and clear and the descriptions are written with emotion. Next to each description is a link to find out more about that designer or jump into the product catalog.
Speaking of their designers, I didn't like the layout of their Jewelry Designers page here:
It looks really good, but they stuffed that page with 17 different designer descriptions. I have to assume that they are not ranking as well as they could be for those individual designer brand names. In the video I watched, they talked about how proud they were to carry designer brands in their stores. A few designers even made personal appearances to praise Lee Michaels years of fine work. Strangely though, the website could be better organized to attract the customers looking for these designer names.
The SEO settings on the Jewelry Designers page are also missing.
I'm sure I could find a lot more good things and a few more areas that need improvement, but I'm going to bring this review to a close. But before I do I want to quickly mention that the product catalog was fast--impressively fast. However, I tripped across a few categories that said "Sorry, your selections did not return any results." It would be much more user-friendly if those empty pages were hidden instead of wasting someone's time.
That's it for this week's basic review. If you'd like an in depth evaluation performed on your site please drop me an email or give a call.
FTC Notice: I randomly choose this website and won't be telling the retailer jeweler that I'm doing a review. Unless someone else tells them, they will only find out about this review if they examine their Google Analytics and Google Webmaster Tools. I'm not doing this to solicit business from them, but rather as an educational exercise for everyone. This review is completely impartial and all my comments are listed in the order that I discovered them.