Is the digital world transforming the jewellery sector?
You can’t deny that the advancements in technology is having a profound impact on every industry around the world. From how we buy to what we wear, advances in the digital world have transformed the consumer market — but how have they affected the jewellery industry specifically?
These digital changes are influencing both businesses and the consumer — creating new opportunities for both. Here, we’ll explore the most prevalent and look into how digitalisation is transforming the traditions of the jewellery industry.
A focus on real-time analytics and the IoT
As more jewellery stores make their way online with e-commerce websites, business owners are now able to take advantage of analytics and understand their audience in a way that was once impossible. In the first quarter of 2018, digital revenues of UK retailers grew by 10%, and jewellery brands are taking notice of the benefit that the online shopping world offers.
However, having an e-commerce site is just one way to make use of a digital audience. Advances in real-time analytics have helped jewellery brands discover key information about their audience as soon as they occur, rather than waiting for the data until it’s too late. Real-time data delivers instant information, such as: when the company has been mentioned online (by a blogger or publication, for instance), the route taken by a user to reach a brand’s site (which can suggest alternative advertising platforms) and which pages and PPC campaigns are performing well or poorly (allowing brands to react more efficiently to underperforming marketing strategies and content).
Through real-time analytics, businesses can become more reactive and proactive around new trends that are occurring throughout the sector while boosting sales and acquiring new customers.
Is your business looking at omni-channel strategies?
A tradition that has lasted for generations, most jewellery stores have a physical location and jewellers tend to deal with their customers in person. However, the growing authority of omni-channel strategies is opening opportunities for brands across the industry. For example, Hong-Kong-based jeweller, Chow Sang Sang, is currently gravitating towards an omni-channel process, while other brands across the globe have seen rises in sales by offering omni-channel services as simple as letting customers reserve jewellery online before viewing the item in-store.
Rather than simply selling jewellery in-store and promoting offers via print media, omni-channel is allowing jewellery brands to merge online and offline, offering more opportunity for advertising and conversions, as well as a less disjointed experience that consumers will enjoy. So much so, Google states that omni-channel processes ensure that “retailer marketing strategies are geared toward enabling customers to convert on any channel”.
The introduction of SMART jewellery
Everything is ‘SMART’ nowadays, and jewellery is no exception. Rather than choosing jewellery solely for aesthetic reasons, consumers are now jumping on the trend for a unison of fashion and technology.
SMART stands for self-monitoring analysis and reporting technology. In the most recent years, we’ve witnessed the introduction of smart phones to smart watches — allowing our devices to become multifunctional and more relevant to the users daily life; whether this is scheduling appointments or completing last-minute research online.
Advances in digitalisation are creating a new niche in the market. So, expect more attractive wearable technology that’s designed with an equal focus on style and usability. As well as this, research suggests that sales for fitness bracelets and smart watches in the UK hit four million in 2017 — which increased by 18% on 2016.
A look at CAD 3D printing
In a bid to reduce the time spent making the product, CAD (computer-aided drawing) has allowed jewellers to become more productive with their time and better the manufacturing process which will likely increase sales across the business.
Before investing time and finances into materials for the product, jewellers will be able to properly see the design of their product digitally before the manufacturing process even begins. Similarly, with 3D printing, building real objects from digital files is a revolution that has been capitalised on by the jewellery industry. When creating a piece of jewellery, a 3D printer takes a software blueprint and physically builds it layer by layer, allowing the manufacturer to create a final product with a smooth finish and cutting the production time significantly.
You may be familiar with CAD technology, but now that it can be used with 3D-printing shows that the jewellery industry is heading in a new direction that only looks prosperous in terms of the product creation and sales process.
As well as this, any customers that are looking for bespoke products will be able to view the prototypes of pieces before they are even made! What’s more, the jeweller can interchange stones and metals using CAD with ease to show the customer variations on their design, potentially improving the customer experience and increasing the chances of a conversion.
The help of social media
At one point in time, antique silver and other jewellery pieces were made for only a certain calibre of consumer. However, the growth of social media has led to a rise in visibility among jewellery brands — especially on platforms like Instagram. Instead of engaging with customers in-store or promoting via print advertising, jewellery companies now capture a new, typically younger audience to offer a different experience via the digital world — making jewellery more interactive and accessible.
“Instagram allows you to be personal and it’s important because jewellery is personal. My clients use the app to connect with me to see who is designing the jewels and how I wear them. It creates a level of trust” commented London-based jewellery designer, Jessica McCormack.
If you’re looking to capture the UK market, it’s probably worth considering using Instagram as it has 16.7 million monthly active users in Britain alone. Using Instagram’s popular shopping platform, jewellery brands have the chance to broaden their marketing reach and create more opportunity for conversions by selling directly to a new demographic without that consumer having to actually visit their online or offline stores.
The use of laser technology
Believe it or not, more jewellers are beginning to use lasers during the manufacturing stage of their products. Once used mainly for cutting and welding, the procedure is now commonly employed to decorate and engrave — throwing open the doors of opportunity for customised jewellery and a more personal consumer experience.
Through such technology, jewellers are able to design pieces at a quicker rate and begin to mass produce any designs that are worthwhile to ensure greater sales results for the business. Of course, the jewellery sector has adopted many pieces of technology over the years — but the future is now looking brighter than ever before.