There is no denying it: the e-commerce industry is booming. By 2017, the online marketplace is expected to grow to a staggering $1.95 trillion.
Increasing rates of Internet access in emerging markets, continue to fuel the growth of online commerce, connecting more consumers than ever before.
Here’s what where the industry is headed:
1. Modern-day concierge jewelry. Concierge jewelers, or personal jewelers, are small operations. Unlike major retail chains, these jewelers tend to operate by word of mouth and offer a much higher level of service, along with higher-end customized jewelry pieces. With the rise of e-commerce, we’ll likely see the rise of modern-day concierge jewelry.
2. 3D printing. As 3D printing becomes more common with decreasing costs, it is likely that fine jewelry companies will make use of this technology to provide customers with samples. This means a customer will be able to try out the piece in their daily life, judging size, comfort, and wear before they make a commitment. This also allows the emotion component of the purchasing process to be better integrated into the e-commerce shopping process, allowing the customer to connect with a particular piece before he or she purchases it.
3. Ultimate customization. Consumers are becoming more interested in the variety available through customization. A survey conducted by Bain & Co. found that roughly one quarter of shoppers are interested in online customization options. With e-commerce, retailers can expand the number of options they offer to their customers. This will creates more options for customization, enabling consumers to customize more aspects of jewelry pieces.
As with customization, product selection is another area where local jewelers face challenges when competing with online jewelers. All an online jeweler needs to do to add a new product is to upload a picture and description of the product. A local jeweler, on the other hand, must physically obtain the product and then merchandise it in-store. The ease in which new products can be added and removed enable online retailers to add and then tweak entire product lines with ease, facilitating much more fluid merchandising opportunities. This issue is magnified when it comes to loose diamonds. Online stores can hold a virtual list of diamonds, thus enabling them to exhibit tens of thousands of loose diamonds for sale. Needless to say that no brick and mortar store can hold such inventory.
Though social and mobile shopping applications are also helping all online retailers, including jewelers, it’s the aforementioned improvements in online retailing which are driving the newfound interest and investment in online jewelry companies.