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Think a Designer’s E-Commerce Site Works Against Retailers? Think Again

A strong website builds consumer interest so that retail partners can capitalize, say Chic Pistachio execs.

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A STRONG ONLINE PRESENCE is not about competition with brick and mortar. It is about establishing a successful brand to bring shoppers into stores. Marketing yourself digitally is essential to attracting key consumer groups, namely Gen Z, in a 21st century world where aesthetics and accessibility are key factors. The efficacy of a good website and a strong digital presence directly benefits retailers because they can partner with a brand that has an established name, audience, and social media presence – all necessary elements for the new wave of consumers.

Many sources, including the Plumb Club article Profiling Gen Z Jewelry Consumers from August 31, 2021, indicate that Gen Z will be the most pivotal generation regarding future shopping trends and spending power, in just a few short years. The Gen Z shopper is far more involved in technology than previous generations having grown up with smartphones, Instagram, and constant access to information. Today’s brands and retailers alike must present their products and brand message across multiple channels to reach as many of these shoppers as possible. Part of targeting this demographic is with a compelling ecommerce site and social presence, so they can be part of the experience and mission that the brand is offering. Analytics often show that the top visited page on a company’s website is the “About Us” section, because younger generations want to know about the brand and what it has to offer before committing to a purchase.

While the vast majority of shoppers research jewelry online before buying, stats show that more than 90% of jewelry purchases are occurring offline. A 2021 survey done by TPC Industry & Market Insights clearly shows that Gen Z consumers are looking online to learn about brands but prefer to still make purchases in an actual store. To eliminate direct to consumer selling reduces a brand’s exposure to drive consumers to an independent retail jeweler. It also eliminates a way for today’s consumers to be educated about a brand faster and more completely than by simply seeing a product in store. The idea isn’t to bypass the independent retailer but to enhance the Gen Z experience to drive the sale to be completed in person.

From our brand perspective, our website and social media showcase our sustainability factors and our new collections while demonstrating the on-trend styling of our jewelry. This builds value with today’s Gen Z and Millennial consumers. This education leads the consumer to wanting to finalize the experience by buying from an authorized retailer. To assist with this, we clearly feature Find Retailer under each product listing on our website. It is why we give our retailers a co-op for their own social media programs. It is why we provide social media assets to all our retail partners so they can build the recognition with the consumer who is looking online but ultimately purchasing in store.

More than 95% of our online direct to consumer purchases are made by consumers who don’t have a retail jeweler near them that carries our brands. Web selling isn’t taking sales away from retail partners. It’s growing the Gen Z and Millennial reach in a way that we wouldn’t have otherwise. All digital efforts are for the end goal of building a successful brand to support our retail partners by bringing shoppers through their doors. This isn’t a competition – it’s a collaboration.

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He Doubled His Sales Goals with Wilkerson

John Matthews, owner of John Michael Matthews Fine Jewelry in Vero Beach, Florida, is a planner. As an IJO member jeweler, he knew he needed an exit strategy if he ever wanted to g the kind of retirement he deserved. He asked around and the answers all seemed to point to one solution: Wilkerson. He talked to Rick Hayes, Wilkerson president, and took his time before making a final decision. He’d heard Wilkerson knew their way around a going out of business sale. But, he says, “he didn’t realize how good it was going to be.” Sales goals were “ambitious,” but even Matthews was pleasantly surprised. “It looks like we’re going to double that.”

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