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Low Sales on E-Commerce? Here’s Why It’s Not A Problem

A streamlined experience will result in sales, but maybe not in the online shopping cart.

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WHY ARE SOME retailers hesitant to make e-commerce a reality? For them, concerns include the ability to fulfill orders, inventory management, or even fraudulent purchases. So let’s take a look at the realities of e-commerce, expectations and solutions that will allow you to think strategically about your online presence.

E-commerce isn’t just about online transactions. In fact, most retailers have less than a 3 percent conversion rate for online sales. It’s about the entire online “sales” experience that leads to transactions, whether online or in the store.

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Why are sales conversions under 3 percent? Well, to start, a majority of independent retailers naturally market their business within a specific radius around their store(s). Customers can easily stop in to see, touch and try on the jewelry, which they still prefer to do, particularly with engagement rings. The biggest benefit of launching e-commerce functionality is that it forces you to create a better online experience. Not only one where you have robust product galleries with product titles, descriptions and pricing, but also wish lists, product inquiries, and, of course, the convenience of buying online. Why is all of this important? It’s all about customer expectations.

In a web shopping experience survey, 36 percent indicated they would outright abandon a purchase based on a bad experience, and 30 percent would never return to that website again. More concerning, 33 percent would immediately go to a competitor. Consumer shopping habits have drastically changed in the past 10 years. Today people “shop” online first, where they explore many different sites for products and then make the final purchase decision based on the experiences they had.

They’ve made the decision to purchase before they walk into the store.

With that in mind, here are a few must-haves for a great online experience:

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  • Current tech – Mobile-responsive websites are a must, but also current tech that makes the shopping experience more streamlined.
  • Product galleries and details/descriptions – These are your online showcases; make them fantastic.
  • Opt-ins and communication – Make it easy to contact you, including the ability to opt into email updates, and appointment forms on pages like Custom Design.
  • Shopping cart and payment – Including an option like PayPal is important, as many feel secure using this option.
  • Reviews – Trust is everything. Reviews are the online version of person-to-person referrals. Consider platforms such as Podium to quickly build your review numbers.

In the end, website visitors need to have a great experience, and that includes e-commerce. With situations like COVID-19 and other unexpected barriers to in-store visits (which could be something as simple and common as bad weather), it provides a way to continue to do business and provide options to your customers. Some people would rather shop in the comfort of their own homes — in particular, customers who have purchased from you before. There’s no way around it: E-commerce will continue to reshape how people shop online.

Fruchtman Marketing is a full-service agency that specializes in the jewelry industry and works with many of the country’s finest jewelry retailers, manufacturers, designers and trade groups. The company has presented seminars at the most prominent trade shows, including JCK Las Vegas, IJO and The Centurion Jewelry Show, and contributes to top industry publications. Visit the jewelry marketing experts at fruchtman.com

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For 25 years, Stafford Jewelers of Cincinnati, Ohio, was THE place to go for special gifts, engagement diamonds, high-end Swiss watch brands — in other words, the crème de la crème of fine jewelry. But this summer, the Stafford family was ready to retire. So, they chose Wilkerson to help them close up shop. “One of the biggest concerns was having the sale in the middle of COVID,” says Director of Stores Michelle Randle. Wilkerson gave the Stafford team plenty of ideas as well as safety guidelines, which they closely followed. “All of the employees felt safe, the customers coming in the door felt safe and we did a lot of business,” says Randle. How much business? “The inventory flew,” she says. Translation: They sold millions and millions of dollars-worth of merchandise. Randle calls it, “an incredible experience.” Would she recommend Wilkerson to other retailers who are thinking of thinning their inventories or retiring? “Everyone got more than what they expected out of the sale. You have to hire Wilkerson. They’re amazing.”

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