Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - 69

ETAIL MANAGEMENT SOLUTION PROVIDER
For Retailers:
E-Commerce Challenges
Differentiation

In addition to premium designer brands
and national chain stores, there are more
than 15,000 independent fine jewelry
retail stores across the U.S. selling a
diverse range of pieces not available on
department store or chain sites. These
independent jewelers, many of whom
have been selling jewelry for generations, represent almost half of total fine
jewelry retail sales in the U.S. In an
industry this fragmented, online brand
differentiation - particularly for small
jewelry retailers and designers - is both
critical and exceedingly difficult. How
does an independent fine jeweler or designer distinguish its unique brand and
inventory among such a crowded field?

Trust & Authenticity

For any online luxury purchase, a
consumer must have a high degree of
trust in the retailer before buying a
pricey product without the ability to
see and touch it in person. For fine
jewelry, consumers' required "leap of
faith" in the online retailer is magnified,

"There are more than
15,000 independent
fine jewelry retail
stores [in] the U.S."
as most jewelry buyers are not trained
gemologists and thus cannot assess the
quality and authenticity of precious
stones and metals, even with the jewelry
in their hands. Jewelry buyers must
rely on the integrity of jewelry retailers
to accurately represent and value their
products. Global jewelry design houses
and large luxury brands rely on their
established reputations to build online
consumer trust; for small jewelers and
emerging designers, however, building
this required level of credibility online

Online brand differentiation, especially for
small jewelry retailers, is both critical and
exceedingly difficult.

is challenging. How can a small retailer
or designer prove their authenticity and
credibility to skeptical online consumers
new to their brand?

Digital Marketing

Any business that has ventured into
the vast waters of digital marketing
knows that it is obscenely easy to spend
budget-busting amounts on overly
broad or misdirected online marketing
campaigns for very little return. Big
brands have big budgets to fund teams
of digital marketing experts to manage
multi-channel PR campaigns, social
media feeds, paid search, search engine
optimization and influencer strategies
- all driven by robust data analysis on
site traffic, consumer demographics, and
user behaviors and engagement. How
can small retail jewelers and designers
direct their limited marketing dollars
efficiently, often without the benefit of
in-house digital marketing and data
analytics expertise?

Enter E-Commerce
Aggregators
Recently, the luxury space has seen the
emergence of a number of e-commerce
aggregators. These aggregators typically
seek to bring together inventory from
designers, collectors and/or retailers to
provide online luxury consumers with
access to a large, diverse and easily
searchable selection of luxury items.

Some of these aggregators specialize
in fine jewelry, while others include
fine jewelry within a broad offering of
luxury goods. As online-only players,
aggregators generally have streamlined,
user-friendly e-commerce platforms,
digital marketing expertise and data
analytics teams.
The fine jewelry industry is undergoing a significant change, and independent jewelry retailers and designers
in particular are feeling the crunch. In
2016, 1,500 fine jewelry stores in the
U.S. closed permanently. These store
closures were largely driven by declining
in-store footfall and sales as jewelry
buyers move online. Simultaneously,
many independent retailers, as well as
emerging designers, have struggled to
find solid footing online as new entrants
to e-commerce.
If independent retailers and designers
cannot find ways to grow their online
sales, then consumers may find their
jewelry options shrinking and ultimately
consolidating into just a handful of big
brands and design houses. The success
and future of independent fine jewelry
retailers and designers is thus, to a certain extent, tied to the success of e-commerce aggregators in providing trusted
and efficient online sales platforms for
online luxury consumers. O
Jennie Pastor is the CEO and co-founder of
Kavador, a fine jewelry marketplace.
May/June 2017

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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017

Contents
Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - Intro
Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - Cover1
Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - Cover2
Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - 1
Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - Contents
Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - 3
Retail Merchandiser - May/June 2017 - 4
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