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Diamonds Direct Shares What It Takes To Build a Jewelry-Friendly Website

The human touch is still an important factor.

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Diamonds Direct Shares What It Takes To Build a Jewelry-Friendly Website
Rachel Scholan

Rachel Scholan

IN JANUARY 2023, DIGITAL pro Rachel Scholan got the jitters.

Scholan, VP of digital strategy for Diamonds Direct, was about to click the button that would launch a new, AI-driven website for the whole company. “It was terrifying,” she recalls. “That was the 10th website I’d launched, but the first overhaul on the front and back end. Clicking that last button, my fingers were crossed.”

To her relief, not only did the launch work, but its implementation began showing incremental results almost immediately. This year, with a goal of 75% year over year, they’d already hit 40% growth by April.

The digital transformation was vital because when Scholan was hired, Diamonds Direct sales were 95 percent brick and mortar, making it a challenge to expand beyond its 27 markets to reach anyone new. The goal was to expand online sales while continuing to drive clients to the brick-and-mortar locations.

Scholan attributes the website’s success to a mix of AI innovation and the human touch.

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The online experience now replicates the in-store experience through high-resolution images and detailed product descriptions that provide a comprehensive view of each item, virtual try-on features and augmented reality tools that allow customers to visualize jewelry on themselves, and interactive chatbots and virtual assistants that mimic in-store sales support by answering questions and offering guidance in real-time.

Jewelry in general made her task more complicated than websites on which she had worked previously in the fashion industry. Intricate designs, delicate craftsmanship, and unique features require 360-degree close-up images. She worked with the commerce platform BigCommerce and the digital product development company, RapidOps, which employed the “blazing-fast” platform Experro to enable very large, detailed images to load quickly.

Unlike fashion items, which are filtered based on size, color, and style, jewelry customers also search for clarity, cut, color, and carat weight for diamonds and gemstones.

The majority of Diamonds Direct purchases are special orders. Integrating features that allow for engraving, resizing or customization adds another layer of complexity.

Security measures, such as SSL encryption for online transactions and secure payment gateways, protect sensitive information. Offering information about authenticity, certifications, and return policies and integrating educational content helps build trust with buyers, too.

AI improved the search tool to create an experience similar to Amazon shopping. The website will remember where a customer left off and what they viewed the last few times they were there. AI can suggest products tailored to individual user behavior and preferences.

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AI is especially valuable for creating product descriptions. “We could write a mediocre product description and it ends up coming out amazing,” she says. “We put it in the back end of e-commerce and it spits it out immediately.” They’ve integrated a ring builder into the site, too. Shoppers can build the mounting, pick the diamond, put it together and see it on their hand.

The Diamonds Direct team can access analytics immediately to see what’s working and what’s not. “That’s why I went into digital to begin with,” she says. “You get immediate results. The conversion rate has increased, visits have increased, hang time has increased.”

But it’s not all about AI. Offering live chat, email and phone support is vital for addressing customer inquiries about product specifications, customization or shipping details. Providing customer support builds confidence and encourages conversions.

“We have a very cool virtual chat team,” Scholan says. “It’s a group of the nicest human beings who take it on as their sole purpose to get into these conversations to help shoppers make these kinds of purchases. When customers are sorting through 50,000 diamonds, being able to have that one-on-one communication is important,” she says.

Scholan says retailers who want to update their websites should shop carefully for a tech partner.

“You better like these people and know they will be on your side,” she says, since you’ll be spending so much time with them.

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