Welcome to the Friday retail jewelry website review. Every week, I select a random location around the United States in search of a review candidate. The object of this review is to learn something that might be able to help you with your own website.
I always try to write the review with an unbiased point of view, and I especially hope that the jewelers reading this will use these reviews to better their online presence.
For this week, I'm using the search phrase "jewelry stores Waterloo, Iowa" to find my review candidate. This is the SERP that Google returned to me:
In the above image, you'll notice that I pointed out the Roth Jewelers listings with red arrows. They have 3 listings on the first page of the organic results: The top local listing, the top organic listing, and then a supplemental website with the domain name jewelconnect.com.
In the above image, I'm also pointing to LR Jewelers with the green arrows. LR has a Google+ page and an organic listing that is almost identical to the JewelConnect organic listing for Roth Jewelers.
Here's what happening here... This is an example of two retail jewelry store using the automated services of InCom Technical Solutions Inc. InCom makes the DiamondCounter retail jewelry store management software. InCom also provides automated website services for the users of their software.
Apparently both Roth Jewelers and LR Jewelers are both using DiamondCounter, and they both chose the option to use the automated website.
While Roth Jewelers has a website located at rothjewelers.com, LR Jewelers chose not to have a website and is simply using the JewelConnect service. Here's what the JewelConnect websites look like side by side:
(click to enlarge)
They both have the same layout structure and top menu of icons. The LR website has a white background while the Roth website has a black background. The photos and the introduction on the home page of both JewelConnect sites are different.
Since LR Jewelers doesn't have their own website, they are utilizing more of the features from the JewelConnect site than Roth Jewelers is.
Now take a look at the product catalog of the JewelConnect service:
(click to enlarge)
There are 18 items showing on the first page of the product catalog for both sites. Except for the 6 products I've blackened out in that image, both sites have the same online inventory showing on that first page.
In fact, as you browse through both websites, you'll realize that it is the same inventory; it's just in a slightly different order.
According to Google Maps, Roth Jewelers and LR Jewelers are about 8 miles from each other, which means they serve the same communities. Customers looking for greater jewelry choices will be disappointed by the identical selection offered by both of these jewelers. While in a typical community, a consumer might take the time to shop different stores to find the perfect jewelry gift; in this case both of these stores are losing foot traffic because of their identical websites.
Because of the SEO value, I'll always recommend that you install your product catalog directly into your website instead of a satellite site like JewelConnect. On the other hand, the JewelConnect service will work okay if you're in a smaller community and you want to shortcut the time needed to set up an online product catalog.
You still need to take caution when thinking about using one of these automated services that pre-load the same inventory. No matter how attractive they might seem, do yourself a favor and make sure none of your competitors within driving distance are using the same preloaded product database service. Otherwise, there's nothing setting you apart from your competitors and you'll both lose out.
Tune in next week for the next jewelry website review.
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.