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Kathleen Cutler

How to Change Your Website From a Soulless Catalog Into a Place People Want to Buy From

Hint: Don’t scrimp on photoshoots.

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lady in photoshoot wearing earrings and necklace

FOR THE PAST nine years, I’ve gotten to sit behind the scenes of dozens of jewelry brands and read through their email communications with clients. My goal is to help retailers like you sell more jewelry through modern channels: with words, chat, and images.

The No. 1 most frequently asked question I see from clients in dozens of emails each day is: “Do you have a photo of this piece being worn?”

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See, when you have just your pieces photographed for the web alone on a white background, it’s like your website is nothing more than a parts catalog. But think about how clothing catalogs show how the latest fashions look on a human body.

So how can you be better prepared and make more sales?

Schedule photo shoots at least quarterly, so you can capture lifestyle images of your jewelry being worn. And here’s a tip: You don’t have to hire models, just use your store staff, hire a hair and makeup person, and have a photographer come in for a few hours. The bonus: You’ll not only get hundreds of photos, but you’ll also build trust with the people who shop with you as they recognize the faces on your website as real people they see in your store.

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When you get a new style into your store, grab a staff member, find some good lighting and shoot a short video of them talking about the the piece or collection. Post it to your Instagram Stories, share it with your colleagues and post it on your website.

In this omnichannel environment, it is so important to make sure that your website works just as hard as your sales staff when it comes to selling jewelry. I recently had a client who sold two engagement rings to people who had already been in the shop that day. They had been working with the sales staff in-store and then went home and completed the engagement ring purchase online. If you aren’t consistently updating your website with new photos and pieces, you are missing out on the No. 1 question I see asked behind the scenes.

Then, you’ll be ready when a client asks, “How does this look on?”

How can you commit to turning your website from a soulless catalog into a place where people feel welcome?

Kathleen Cutler, profit expert for high-end jewelry brands, focuses on helping jewelers understand how to convince younger, affluent audiences to buy, combining modern tech with retro-style relationship building. Kathleen has a degree from GIA and has coached 100-plus jewelers. Reach her at [email protected]

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For nearly three decades, Suzanne and Tom Arnold ran a successful business at Facets Fine Jewelry in Arlington, Va. But the time came when the Arnolds wanted to do some of the things you put off while you’ve got a business to run. “We decided it was time to retire,” says Suzanne, who claims the couple knew how to open a store, how to run a store but “didn’t know how to close a store.” So, they hired Wilkerson to do it for them. When she called, Suzanne says Wilkerson offered every option for the sale she could have hoped for. Better still, “the sale exceeded our financial goals like crazy,” she says. And customers came, not only to take advantage of the going-out-of-business buys and mark-downs, but to wish a bon voyage to the beloved proprietors of a neighborhood institution. “People were celebrating our retirement, and that was so special,” says says.

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