Digital technology dramatically improves the economics and capabilities of every business, finds Forrester, market research and advisory firm, in a 2018 report. The message imparted, reinvent your business with technology at its core, or fade to black.
The white paper titled, “Digital Rewrites The Rules Of Business,” by Nigel Fenwick and Ted Schadler, cites that using hardware, software, algorithms, and the Internet is 10 times cheaper and faster to engage customers, create offerings, harness partners, and operate your business.
The report makes the case that every company must become a digital innovator, with the goal of delivering easy, effective and emotional customer experiences; focusing operations on the things customers value; and building platforms and partnerships to accelerate and scale. The report warns companies that do not continuously reinvent their business with evolving technology will lose customers.
Thought leaders expect extreme competition as companies scramble to satisfy consumers appetite for instant gratification. The research and consultancy firm, Ovum finds consumers demand a seamless online shopping experience across all of their connected devices, and without compromising quality, convenience and immediacy.
Key sales tools trending for jewelers include Augmented Reality (AR), 360 Product View Videos and 3D Photos, and Social and Mobile Commerce.
Ovum predicts Augmented Reality will be a strong driver for e-commerce, particularly for the jewelry industry. Fans cheer the technology as a tool to help reduce product returns and improve the online and in-store shopping experience.
Tools like a window display that allows customers to try on 3D models of products; try-on applications; and the ability to animate AR objects in advertisements using your mobile device are just some of the cool technology available. See It, Try It, Buy It/Store Locator, the AR technology greatly increases online and in-store sales.
Featured at the JCK Show in The Plumb Club Pavilion’s new Retail Innovation and Education Center, companies like Augmentes showcased augmented reality applications, including an online and in-store platform that allows customers to virtually “try on” jewelry.
Neil Shah of Shah Luxury New York lauded virtual-try as widely used and important in engaging consumers and removing the element of fear in the customization process. His company introduced a CAD hologram display, which allows consumers to visualize a design in 3D. In-store and mobile versions are available. “It has proven to increase the sales conversion rate, and is especially popular for couples getting married.” Moreover, the company is using social and mobile media and a number of website customization/personalization tools.
Among the pioneers in integrating technology in the jewelry industry is well-known diamond and jewelry supplier, WR Cobb. The East Providence, Rhode Island based company bridges the gap between traditional supplier and innovative technology provider, offering since 2003 a full suite of digital, inventory and marketing solutions to jewelry retailers. The company was recognized with a 2012 American Graphic Design Award for its e-book, “Social Media 101 – How Jewelers Can Engage and Interact More Effectively Online.”
Important are sales tools like 3D visuals and 360-degree view product videos mimic the in-store experience online, while the online experience can be infused in store using tablet kiosk for information, virtual inventory, and custom design options. All of these sales tools help consumers make their purchase decisions.
The opportunities to engage consumers in a meaningful and more immersive and interactive way are endless. Another great example, among WR Cobb’s offerings, is the new LearLite system that gives shoppers the ability to capture catalog style photos of the items they like, that can be sent to them via email. This win-win scenario provides a clear, quality product image they can share with family and friends for feedback, while capturing their valuable contact data.
Social & Mobile Commerce
The expansion of the e-commerce industry to include social commerce is a fast moving trend. The social commerce revolution is happening. Consumers like shopping on social media platforms. In fact, Instagram reported that since its launch of shoppable posts (a feature that allows consumers to purchase products directly from a post), traffic on the platform has increased by 44 percent.
Social commerce offers a compelling way of targeting impulse buyers, unlike consumers on big e-commerce platforms who are there with a carefully crafted vision in mind of what product or designs they want.
The industry is changing, and companies like WR Cobb advocate jewelry retailers provide consumers with the reasons why they should buy from them. Important to consumers are convenience, timeliness, reputation, ease-of-purchase, service, and education.
WR Cobb advocates jewelers ensure their websites are optimized for mobile shopping. The research firm Ovum believes that a mobile-centric shopping experience will dominate the coming year. The shift will be driven by the increase in sales volumes of smart phones, in addition to phone screens getting bigger, which is improving the quality of the mobile shopping experience. Through mobile, consumers must be able to do a product search and compare, talk to product assistant, or make payments.
As mobile commerce increases, tools like GeoFencing are presenting exciting opportunities. At The Plumb Club’s Retail Innovation and Education Center during the JCK Show in June, the digital marketing firm, GemFind showcased the technology, which creates a virtual/invisible boundary around a business using GPS on mobile devices and RFID technology.