Jewelry has always been an integral part of human culture, serving as a powerful means of expression. According to the International Gem Society (IGS), the earliest known jewelry was discovered approximately 25,000 years ago, in the form of a simple fish bowl necklace found in a cave in Monaco. Though its significance is unknown, it could have been a gift, a status symbol, or simply a beautiful decoration. Regardless, jewelry has been used by people throughout history to express themselves, show love to romantic partners, and signify friendship. Its ability to allow us to enjoy beauty, express ourselves, and make fashion statements makes it a cherished and irreplaceable part of our human experience.
Now is the perfect time to establish or expand your own online jewelry business. The COVID-19 pandemic has caused an increase in fine jewelry sales, as people seek out ways to treat themselves. According to a New York Times report from December 2020, the worldwide jewelry market is expected to grow to $291.7B by 2025, up from a forecast of $229.3B in 2019. Additionally, non-luxury items accounted for 79% of jewelry sales in the United States as of 2021. These economic forecasts suggest that there is an expansive global market, offering opportunities for newcomers and established industry giants alike. Even small businesses can find a loyal customer base online with platforms such as eBay and Etsy, which make it possible to reach a wide audience.
This guide will teach you how to step into the thriving and growing jewelry economy with an online store that you can be proud of. You'll learn how to find a niche for your products, create a customer experience that people will love, identify a technical pathway for building your online store, and lay the right foundations for scaling your business.
Advantages of Selling Jewelry Online: Why It's a Smart Business Move
The way people shop has undergone a permanent change due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Safety concerns surrounding trying on jewelry in stores further cement the need to shift to online jewelry businesses. Not only does this provide safety and efficiency, but it also creates an avenue for discovering brands that may have gone unnoticed. As a merchant, regardless of whether you are an independent designer or part of a more extensive operation, online retail allows you to reach customers worldwide and build a discoverable store.
Pre-COVID demographic trends indicated the growing importance of online jewelry retail, particularly with the rise of the Gen Z shopping population. Gen Z had already accounted for 40% of global shoppers before the pandemic, making them a significant spending force. As digital natives, this group relies heavily on social media and online shopping to discover new products. According to the National Retail Federation (NRF), this trend has only increased during the pandemic, with 87% of parents relying on their children's recommendations when purchasing.
These trends point to a significant shift in purchasing jewelry, a timeless cultural staple. The key to success is finding the right niche and building a brand that stands out in the crowded online marketplace.
Analysis of the Market: Popular Niche Brands in Jewelry
Selling jewelry online presents a vast opportunity to reach customers worldwide, allowing retailers of all sizes, from local costume jewelry shops to high-end brands like Tiffany and Cartier, to cultivate a dedicated customer base. However, the considerable market comes with increased competition, making creating brand awareness and capturing consumer attention challenging. With seemingly infinite options, buyers need help making purchase decisions.
To succeed in this competitive environment, identifying your brand niche is the most critical first step in building an online jewelry store. Typically, most online jewelry retailers fall into one or more of the seven categories listed below:
1. Inexpensive Fashion Jewelry
From necklaces to bracelets, rings, and costume accessories, fashion jewelry tends to be trendy but short-lived. These pieces are usually of lower quality and durability but are highly affordable for shoppers looking to make a statement.
One can flip through magazines such as Vogue, Seventeen, Marie Claire, Cosmopolitan, and Harper's BAZAAR to stay updated with fashion jewelry trends. Influencers on platforms like TikTok and Instagram often influence these trends.
Fashion jewelry typically incorporates lower-quality materials, such as imitation metals (silver instead of platinum) and gemstones (like cubic zirconia instead of diamonds). Designers usually take inspiration from higher-priced items.
However, it is essential to remember that the fashion jewelry industry is diverse. Pieces can range from as low as $5 to as high as $100. Items may be mass-produced in factories or handcrafted by independent designers and Etsy shop owners.
“Affordable” does not always mean “cheap,” but it does not mean “luxury” either.
2. Body jewelry
Jewelry merchants can establish themselves in the body piercing market, including nose rings, belly button rings, tongue rings, and eyebrow rings. Body jewelry is often more personal than bracelets or necklaces due to the variance in piercing sizes and allergic reactions to metals. Some people may require specific precious metals or implant-grade titanium to avoid discomfort.
To accommodate these needs, body jewelers typically offer pieces in various sizes and metal options that can impact pricing. Some stores may even provide customized reports upon request. For instance, a single nose ring may come in gold, sterling silver, or implant-grade titanium, with a straight back, L back to the left, L back to the right, screw, or curve.
Individual preferences vary significantly among shoppers, influenced by comfort level, health, and piercing placement.
3. Plated jewelry
Affordable, high-quality precious metals can be challenging, leaving many shoppers needing help to afford fine jewelry. Plated jewelry, on the other hand, offers a solution by using inexpensive metals coated with a precious metal layer to create a luxurious look at an affordable price point.
Plated jewelry can take many forms, from sterling silver with 14K gold to nickel with rare precious metals like silver or gold. Maintaining a close relationship with manufacturers is crucial for ensuring that the plated jewelry you sell is safe for consumers. Avoiding hazardous materials like lead is a top priority, as is making sure buyers understand the jewelry is coated and not an actual precious metal.
It's also important to be transparent about the materials used in plated jewelry. Some people may have allergic reactions to non-precious metals, so clarity about the materials and coatings is necessary to create a sense of safety and trust with your customers.
4. Handmade jewelry
The jewelry category known as “made-to-order” provides a level of customization for every buyer, resulting in a unique item that fits their preferences in material, color, and size. The main benefit for shoppers is the personalization aspect of the jewelry.
However, handmade jewelry has the drawback of longer production times and limited scalability, making it difficult for large businesses to offer. As a result, made-to-order jewelry tends to come from small business owners or boutique retailers, often found on platforms like Etsy. Solopreneurs typically run these types of jewelry businesses.
Despite the challenges in scaling handmade jewelry businesses, there is a market of buyers who appreciate the personalized touch and custom experience. Unique pieces may even command a higher price point.
5. Fine jewelry
Fine jewelry comprises exquisite pieces made with precious metals, rare gemstones, and unique designs. Typically, these pieces are crafted in limited and exclusive batches and come with high price points that can reach tens of thousands of dollars.
Fine jewelry holds an undeniable appeal due to its rarity and craftsmanship. It is built to last a lifetime and is often passed down as an heirloom to future generations. However, due to the cost involved, most shoppers may only make a few or no purchases of fine jewelry in their lifetime. Wealthier buyers may purchase high-end jewelry pieces more frequently and are more likely to join loyalty programs.
Shoppers often view fine jewelry as an investment since many pieces increase in value over time. Therefore, fine jewelry tends to have high demand and resale value as second-hand pieces.
The most popular types of fine jewelry include diamond jewelry, such as engagement rings and wedding bands, and pieces purchased for special occasions.
6. Vintage jewelry
Vintage jewelry is a favorite of those who appreciate the history and journey of survived jewelry. Many pieces' durability and timeless appeal make jewelry a trendy and practical choice as a second-hand item.
The appeal of vintage items in the fashion industry is due to their uniqueness, individuality, and exclusivity. Vintage enthusiasts enjoy the exploration and discovery that comes with finding one-of-a-kind things.
Since vintage jewelry is pre-owned, each piece has its own story, such as the previous owner, its era, or the original designer. These stories can add to the value of each item and make them even more special.
Vintage jewelry comprises various items, from fashion accessories to handmade and luxury items. Certain antiques, particularly those with a unique story, have the potential to appreciate over time.
Pricing for vintage jewelry is often determined on a case-by-case basis.
7. Fair trade jewelry
Jewelry materials have environmental impacts, and some practices in mining and manufacturing have raised concerns about human rights violations. As a result, jewelry companies that prioritize sustainability and ethical practices are becoming increasingly popular among consumers who care about these issues.
For instance, some brands use recycled materials or ethically sourced gemstones and metals to reduce their environmental impact. Others partner with local communities to promote fair labor practices and support small-scale mining operations.
By incorporating fair trade and sustainable practices, jewelry companies can build a reputation for social responsibility while also appealing to socially conscious consumers. This trend toward conscious consumption will continue in the post-pandemic world as consumers increasingly prioritize ethical and sustainable products.
Seven Steps to Successfully Sell Jewelry Online
The advancement of e-commerce technology has made it possible for anyone to launch an online jewelry store within minutes. However, it is crucial to develop a comprehensive brand strategy to create a successful jewelry business, whether starting from scratch or expanding an existing one.
It is essential to leave a lasting impression on each shopper's mind. More than simply putting your products online is required – every digital touchpoint should convey a compelling, memorable, and engaging story that inspires and uplifts people.
Jewelry is more than just a purchase; it holds sentimental value beyond the item's cost. People wear necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and other pieces to feel good about themselves and express their personality.
Follow these steps to establish the groundwork for an unforgettable digital experience:
Step 1 : Find Inspiration from Online Jewelry Stores
When it comes to e-commerce experiences, creativity is vital. However, starting from scratch is unnecessary as there are already many successful players in the industry to draw inspiration.
Before creating your online store, it's wise to examine the tactics used by key players in the industry. By doing so, you can gain valuable insights and ideas to implement in your brand.
As you review other websites, pay close attention to how they emphasize the following attributes:
- User-friendly design
- Shopping cart functionality
- Mobile optimization
- Promotional campaign management
- Seasonal collections
- Product descriptions and details
- Virtual try-on features
- Seamless checkout
By combining key attributes, online jewelry stores can create a customer journey that fosters a sense of empathy with their buyers. These successful stores strive to make their shoppers feel special and provide a delightful browsing experience.
The Icing on the Ring, a fine jewelry retailer with over 50 years of experience, is an excellent example. It began as a custom jewelry store, but after transitioning online, it developed an inventory of more readily available products that customers can easily purchase using a credit card or PayPal.
Visitors can appreciate the Icing on the Ring website's showroom-like ambiance and compelling narrative. The website offers high-quality products while also providing an educational experience. For instance, Icing on the Ring shares educational resources about its gemstones and materials.
Social media also plays a critical role in Icing on the Ring's website experience. Customers can shop for products that interest them on Instagram and explore posts from other customers for inspiration.
Step 2: Building Your Feature Wishlist
After completing Step 1, you should have a solid understanding of creating an engaging brand experience for your online jewelry store. The next step is to create two lists: “must-haves” and “nice-to-haves,” based on your observations.
Consider what website features would enhance the brand experience and appeal to shoppers. Suppose you are part of a larger e-commerce team. In that case, forming a cross-functional group that includes marketing, revenue, and technical professionals may be beneficial to compile a comprehensive list that encompasses everyone's valuable perspectives.
Here are some examples of “must-haves”:
- Integrations with social media platforms like Twitter and Instagram.
- Prominent reviews.
- 1-click checkout.
- High quality photography with multiple views.
- Mobile optimization.
Here are some potential “nice-to-haves”:
- Seasonal collections.
- Advanced payment options such as financing.
- Live chat for instant customer support.
- Video or augmented reality content.
It's important to understand that the lists you create at this stage will be partial. Instead, they will serve as a starting point to identify your short-term, medium-term, and long-term priorities.
For inspiration, look at Lisi Lerch, a fashion accessories designer specializing in statement pieces and a satisfied customer of BigCommerce. The website supports its core business lines, such as e-commerce sales, custom bags, and partnerships with resellers. A cohesive and integrated brand experience is created by a single website for multiple lines of business.
Your website will evolve as your business grows, and you'll gradually incorporate more features into your online store. At this beginning stage of building your wishlist, however, your goal is to establish a foundation for your front-end and back-end operations.
Step 3: Determine the Need to Expand Your Development Team
Now that you have a clear idea of what you want to achieve with your e-commerce presence, it's time to consider how to turn your ideas into reality.
The crucial question at this stage is whether you have the resources and expertise in-house to handle the project. If you have an e-commerce team with skilled developers, you can manage it independently. On the other hand, if you're a small business owner looking to sell your products on established marketplaces like Etsy, eBay, or Amazon, you may not require any development and engineering resources.
However, if you want to create something more complex and custom than a simple design, you should enlist the help of experienced e-commerce strategists and technologists. Even if you have the expertise in-house, working with consultants can be beneficial, as they can anticipate potential problems before they occur.
Collaborating with a team of consultants, especially in the early stages, can help you reduce uncertainties and costs associated with bringing your vision to the market.
Step 4: Choose a Third-Party E-commerce Platform
Your e-commerce platform is the heart of your business operations, serving as a central hub that manages various aspects of your online business, such as your website, inventory, shipping, marketing, security, and compliance practices.
As your business grows, the use of e-commerce platforms becomes indispensable. These multidimensional technologies integrate different components, which are essential because you can't manage a scalable e-commerce operation without them.
One significant advantage of third-party e-commerce solutions is that you can rely on better, more trustworthy, and more reliable software. On the other hand, building an e-commerce software in-house puts you in charge of maintaining and managing everything, from security to compliance updates.
Third-party e-commerce platforms have dedicated teams working tirelessly behind the scenes to ensure their solutions are secure, up-to-date, and user-friendly. Because these technology providers serve different types of businesses, you will often find the features you need to run your store in their core offerings.
Choosing the right e-commerce platform involves identifying the critical backend and frontend technical components to enhance your unique jewelry business and customer experience. Some major e-commerce platforms available in the market include BigCommerce, Magento, Shopify, and WooCommerce.
Ultimately, the ideal e-commerce platform should:
- Support your core site functionalities.
- Support the required number of API calls for daily business operations.
- Support compliance requirements in the regions where you sell.
- Offer innovative solutions to address complexities in your business.
- Allow integration of necessary plugins such as search engine optimization and social media to successfully run your online jewelry store.
- Integrate with your existing technology stack, including your customer relationship management (CRM) software.
Choosing the right e-commerce platform is crucial for your business as it can have long-term consequences. It's essential to make an informed judgment call in the beginning stages.
This guide can assist you in selecting the best e-commerce platform that aligns with your jewelry business goals. It's worth noting that there is no one-size-fits-all solution, as every business is unique and requires a tailored approach.
Step 5: Create an integration ecosystem for your ecommerce platform
Once you have set up your core e-commerce platform, the next crucial step is consolidating different systems into a unified technology. For most jewelry stores, it is essential to have multiple software pieces in place to ensure smooth operation. Your technology stack enables your backend and frontend systems to work seamlessly together.
Below are some of the components that you should consider integrating:
- Please choose a payment processor compliant with the regions where you plan to do business, with built-in systems for verifying buyers, protecting their data, and preventing fraud. Some examples include Stripe, PayPal, and Square. BigCommerce offers pre-integrated payment processors to choose from.
- Use order management and fulfillment software to maintain a real-time view of your inventory, efficiently fulfill orders, and anticipate when you need to restock. BigCommerce supports various order management and fulfillment apps in its integration ecosystem.
- Implement marketing automation and customer relationship management (CRM) software to organize customer data, build tailored marketing programs, and connect marketing activities to purchase patterns. These include personalization, email marketing, social media, and loyalty program software. BigCommerce has various marketing automation apps in its integration ecosystem.
- Use address verification software to smooth checkout, especially for shipping and fulfillment. This software can verify shipping details in real-time, preventing delays or returned orders due to typos.
For jewelry businesses, the software is essential to manage the various aspects of the shopping experience. Companies must track their inventory and provide transparency to shoppers regarding their purchases. A reliable and efficient technology stack is necessary to ensure a sustainable business that can scale.
Step 6: Establishing Your Customer Service Foundation
A jewelry business's success relies heavily on customer service, much like in the physical world. Customers may have queries beyond the information in your product details, especially regarding size, materials, and store policies.
By implementing efficient customer service procedures, you can empower customers to make informed decisions before finalizing their purchases. This proactive approach to customer service can help safeguard your profit margins by reducing expenses incurred due to high return rates and restocking items.
Investing in customer service is a smart move for your jewelry business, and you can leverage various tools to create a successful strategy. Some examples of such tools include:
- Live chat software.
- Messaging centers.
- Knowledge hubs with answers to frequently asked questions.
- Access to a personal shopping assistant.
The extent to which you can offer customer support is contingent on the scale and intricacy of your enterprise. However, irrespective of the service level, being transparent with your customers regarding the response time is crucial.
If you're seeking guidance on devising a customer support strategy on BigCommerce, refer to this comprehensive article that provides actionable tips and software recommendations.
Step 7: Building the Human Element of Your Business Operations
espite implementing top-notch technology, ensuring that human resources adequately support your e-commerce business operations is imperative.
As your online jewelry business expands, it's essential to ensure that you have a team of individuals with the necessary skill sets to oversee various aspects. Referring to the list above, you'll require individuals capable of closely monitoring the following:
- Customer success.
- Online operations.
In the initial stages of your e-commerce business, one individual may assume the role of a “general manager” and oversee all functions. The person holding this position could be “e-commerce manager” or “head of revenue management.”
However, as your business grows and functions become more complex, you should anticipate the need for specialized personnel.
This employee will collaborate closely with your physical business operations team to ensure a consistent and cohesive brand experience.
Creating a Marketing Strategy with a Significant Impact
Your e-commerce store can be considered the central hub of your jewelry brand. It serves as a destination for your audience to explore. Similar to physical locations, you must assist shoppers in discovering what your brand has to offer. This involves creating an online presence that spans various platforms.
In marketing terms, the representation of your brand through its online presence is referred to as an “omnichannel marketing strategy.” In addition to directing traffic to your online storefront, your online presence can assist in gathering personalization data to create a more relevant, personalized, and enjoyable brand experience.
To assist you in developing a significant online presence, here's a template to follow:
1. Establishing a Strong Social Media Presence for Your Business
Having an Instagram presence for your jewelry store is essential. In addition, platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and YouTube may be worth considering.
You don't have to establish a presence on every social media platform. Instead, choose a few and concentrate on building each one, one at a time.
One excellent example is Icing on the Ring's Instagram feed, which showcases practical product photography. Audiences can effortlessly discover and explore the items sold by Icing on the Ring.
The brand combines static images and dynamic videos to create an interactive experience. The icing on the Ring encourages customers to share their photos using the hashtag #icingonthering.
Customers can participate in Icing on the Ring's social media campaigns by submitting original photographs through a form on the e-commerce website.
2. Developing Customer Loyalty Programs for Your Business
As the jewelry is frequently a high-value item, consumers typically give considerable thought to their purchasing decisions. This is particularly true for fine jewelry retailers, as it may take several months of browsing before a shopper is ready to purchase.
Because jewelry is a high-value item, consumers may be more inclined to compare prices and products across various brands. A rewards or loyalty program can provide a compelling reason for customers to choose your brand for their purchase.
3. Launch a newsletter
Sometimes, individuals may not be prepared to interact with your brand in a way that results in a purchase. An email newsletter can be an effective marketing tool for maintaining shoppers' interest in your jewelry brand and offerings during these times.
A well-crafted newsletter should be enjoyable to read beyond simply promoting your products. Therefore, it is critical to articulate a clear benefit for subscribing in order to provide added value to your audience.
4. Develop a Strategy for Content Marketing and Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
In today's media-driven world, people often research items before purchasing. To capture attention, content marketing has become a widespread practice. It involves creating branded education through articles, videos, and images. Coupled with content marketing is search engine optimization (SEO), which helps content to be visible on Google based on keywords.
To succeed with SEO, your marketing team must identify relevant keywords and develop content accordingly. For instance, Icing on the Ring's education center is an excellent example of a content strategy. It allows audiences to learn more about buying jewelry, with articles such as the one describing the brand's ethical sourcing practices.
Another example of content marketing is Icing on the Ring's blog, featuring exciting articles. Measuring the success of content marketing is crucial. For instance, tracking whether a shopper has engaged with content before purchasing can provide valuable insights.
5. Create Effective Paid Advertising Campaigns to Increase Brand Awareness and Drive Sales
Once your jewelry brand has established its presence, it's time to consider using paid media advertising to build awareness and drive sales. The goal is to participate in the digital advertising ecosystem to create brand awareness and re-engage audiences during decision-making.
Platforms such as Facebook (which owns Instagram), Google (which owns YouTube), and Twitter provide options to purchase advertising spots. You can also directly approach publications and blogs to see if they have advertising spots available.
Remember that different advertising products are available for different types of businesses. As a jewelry brand, it's important to choose advertising solutions that support your revenue goals to maximize the impact of your paid media investment.
For more information about paid media, check out this comprehensive article breakdown.
6. Collaborate with Influencers to Establish Brand Awareness and Credibility
Collaborating with influencers can be an effective way to build brand awareness and establish trust with potential customers. Influencers have a social media presence and can influence people's purchasing decisions. Their perceived authority and authenticity make them trustworthy sources of information.
According to Paris Marineau from Wired, the value of an influencer's content comes from their perceived authority and authenticity. Influencers are often open to brand partnerships, but ensuring that the campaign aligns with their values and goes beyond just selling products is essential.
To create a successful influencer marketing strategy, BigCommerce has published a comprehensive guide that can be accessed here.
7. Establish Collaborative Relationships with Resellers and Distribution Partners
Partnering with resellers and distribution partners can be a valuable way to increase brand awareness and sales, mainly if you manufacture your products. A successful example is Lisi Lerch, who sells products on the brand's website and retail platforms like QVC.
This type of distribution relationship helps Lisi Lerch expand its reach and gain new customers. Shoppers discovering the brand on QVC are led to the Lisi Lerch website, increasing brand recognition and sales.
However, it is important to choose partners carefully and ensure that your company can still profit from sales. It's also recommended to involve a lawyer to advise on usage rights and includes terms and conditions in your strategic plan.
8. Integrate customer reviews into your marketing strategy
Product reviews and testimonials are crucial elements of your jewelry marketing strategy as they significantly impact consumers' buying decisions. People tend to trust the opinions of their peers, making it essential to showcase positive reviews and testimonials to potential customers.
A study revealed that when presented with two similar products, customers are likelier to choose the one with more reviews, even if the other product is of higher quality but has fewer reviews.
Reviews play a crucial role in instilling customer confidence for high-consideration purchases like jewelry. Reviews are a valuable source of information that helps buyers make informed decisions and feel more secure about their purchases.
Integrating reviews into your marketing strategy can be done in various ways:
- Featured on your website.
- Part of a social media hashtag campaign.
- Included in ad copy.
- Incorporated into a buyer’s guide.
- Highlighted in an email marketing campaign.
The most impactful reviews are those that include meaningful stories which are relatable and enjoyable to read. It is the brand's role to facilitate peer-to-peer discussions.
The Final Word
The world of online jewelry is expanding rapidly, offering opportunities for both new and established brands. Your e-commerce store can serve as the heart of your brand, attracting audiences and building trust with shoppers.
Successfully selling online requires a delicate balance of technology, marketing strategy, and human operations. Your virtual storefront should bring people together in the same way as a physical store does.
The right technology and processes are essential for creating a positive customer experience and ensuring long-term engagement.
It is crucial to prioritize building a solid foundation and not take any shortcuts, as this will set the course for the digital future of your brand.
What Kinds of Jewelry Can You Offer in Your Online Store?
You can sell any jewelry online, whether handcrafted, wholesale, customizable, necklaces, rings, or silver or gold. With the help of a suitable e-commerce platform, you can efficiently manage various product categories and expand your offerings without limits.
Should I create my own website or utilize online marketplaces such as Etsy, Amazon or eBay for selling my products?
When it comes to selling jewelry online, there are advantages to having your website instead of using a jewelry or other online marketplace. One significant benefit is that you don't have to compete with other sellers on the same platform.
Additionally, having your website allows you to design a user experience that aligns with your brand, offer direct customer service support, and have more control over promotional campaigns.
Is it possible to use dropshipping for selling jewelry online?
You can dropship jewelry, but it requires caution. Dropshipping can be an efficient and cost-effective method for shipping and fulfilling orders for your business.
However, relying solely on dropshipping as your shipping fulfillment method may not be sustainable in the long run due to the low-profit margins typically associated with it.
Tips for verifying the authenticity of dropshipped jewelry
Conduct thorough research before selecting a wholesale supplier to ensure your products are genuine. After selecting your supplier, request product samples to assess quality and pricing.
To maintain product quality, it is recommended to repeat this evaluation process every quarter.
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