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Commentary: The Business

How Tech Builds Trust for Online Shoppers

The pandemic sped up e-commerce innovations.

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WHEN THE PANDEMIC hit, jewelers had no choice but to get on board with an online-first strategy and hope shoppers would, too.

For the jewelry sector, truly breaking into the e-commerce world wasn’t just about creating online shops or figuring out logistics. Jewelry brands and retailers had to invent a unique shopping experience that could meet the specific needs of their customers and gain their trust.

But how could jewelry brands translate the reliability and personalization of in-person shopping to an engaging online experience?

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Sharper Product Imagery

Jewelry brands were quick to adopt image-viewing tools that went far beyond traditional “zoom in” capability. Tools like “superzoom,” 360-degree viewing, and even enabling customers to upload user-generated content of previously purchased jewelry offered more varied and better inspection capabilities, leading to increased purchase confidence.

Visual AI-Powered Product Discovery

Online, there’s no sales associate to ask about shoppers’ needs and pull the most relevant options, so effective online product discovery became crucial. That meant finding a solution to these common obstacles:

  • Most shoppers aren’t familiar with the vocabulary for fine jewelry, so they struggle to find what they want.
  • It can be difficult to differentiate between two similar-looking pieces unless you understand how to assess their quality.
  • Budget sensitivity is inextricable from jewelry shopping. Shoppers don’t want recommendations for products well above or below their budgets.
  • Shoppers in-store often browse through glass display cases until they find the piece, the one that makes them stop in their tracks. How can you emulate that powerful feeling online?

Product discovery enabled by visual artificial intelligence emerged as the answer. With tools like visual search, shoppers who have an image of what they want can quickly identify the right products without struggling with a search query. Visual AI has also been used by jewelry brands to help shoppers discover similar items to anything that catches their eye, so they can shop by an item’s style rather than just the category.

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Online Concierge Services

No one can deny the value of speaking directly with a (human) expert. That’s why many jewelry brands began offering concierge services. These services allow brands and retailers to offer face-to-face, tailored consultations by trained sales associates, similar to the high-touch experience shoppers are used to in stores.

The inability to welcome shoppers in stores at first seemed like a catastrophe for jewelry companies. But now, it’s clear jewelry will never go back to its pre-pandemic offline days. In fact, jewelry brands and retailers now operate some of the most customer-friendly and conversion-oriented e-commerce sites in the retail industry

Vered Levy-Ron is CEO of Syte, a product discovery platform for retail.

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Thinking of Liquidating? Wilkerson’s Got You Covered

Bil Holehan, the manager of Julianna’s Fine Jewelry in Corte Madera, Calif., decided to go on to the next chapter of his life when the store’s owner and namesake told him she was set to retire. Before they left, Holehan says they decided to liquidate some of the store’s aging inventory. They chose Wilkerson for the sale. Why? “Friends had done their sales with Wilkerson and they were very satisfied,” says Holehan. He’d enthusiastically recommend Wilkerson to anyone looking to stage a liquidation or going-out-of-business sale. “There were no surprises,” he says. “They were very professional in their assessment of our store, what we could expect from the sale and they were very detailed in their projections. They were pretty much on the money.”

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