The season of love is around the corner, and Valentine’s Day shoppers are eager to find the *perfect* gifts. But with stores still closed, they’ll need thoughtful online shopping experiences to guide them to the right items — and that’s especially true for jewelry shoppers, who are purchasing high-ticket items with fine details that are tough to discern through a screen.
Historical data from the National Retail Federation shows that consumers consistently spend the most on jewelry ahead of Valentine’s Day, with spending reaching as much as $5.8 billion in 2020. But what can we expect this year, in the wake of COVID-19?
According to Rakuten, “retail need not panic,” as 54% of consumers worldwide say that “there will be no change to their spend for key shopping dates in the first half of 2021,” including Valentine’s Day. The same survey revealed that this year, consumers will be shopping more online and on mobile in particular.
15 Online Jewelry Shopping Experiences That Will Engage Customers
Whether it’s a last-minute surprise or something that’s been planned for months (looking at you, engagement rings), shopping for exclusive items, like jewelry, online can be a challenge. In addition to the price point, jewelry is also a very personal gift and most often an emotionally driven purchase, making selecting the right piece even more complicated.
As a result, jewelry brands have to work extra hard to showcase the right products, nurture trust to encourage purchases, and create premium experiences worth coming back for. With that said, here are examples of 15 online shopping experiences that jewelry brands can implement to delight their customers and make the most of Valentine’s Day spending.
Elevate the Research Process
Jewelry shoppers often conduct extensive research before purchasing. It can take hours, days, or even several weeks before they zero in on exactly what they’re looking for. The bottom line is, they want to get it right—from the cut of the stone down to the fit of the band. Because of this, jewelry shopping can be an overwhelming journey for most consumers. The brands that carefully consider how to guide buyers through the research phase are likely to win their trust — and their business — down the road.
1. Educational hubs and gift guides
Targeted on-site education funnels help shoppers understand what they want while establishing your brand as an expert in the industry and your website as a trusted source of information. This can be done with everything from a blog post about selecting the right gemstone to an interactive quiz. For example, Bvlgari offers a guided gift discovery experience based on a questionnaire. By empowering shoppers with the knowledge to understand their options, you’re setting them up for a successful purchase down the line.
2. Style galleries
Oftentimes, shoppers need some help to better understand how a new piece of jewelry will fit in with their loved one’s existing favorites. A styling inspiration gallery zooms out, allowing shoppers to see the bigger picture of how an item can be worn and helping them determine which piece would be a good fit. Missoma offers a variety of style guides to help shoppers better envision what the jewelry will look like in day-to-day life. Since their guides show several items together, they may even inspire shoppers to consider additional items to offer a complete look as a gift.
Engage Shoppers With Innovative Product Discovery Journeys
As shoppers start exploring your site for potential Valentine’s gifts, you need to ensure that it’s optimized for product discovery. This means it should have the tools to make finding the perfect piece of jewelry—one that reflects the unique tastes and preferences of your customers or the person they’re buying it for—fast, easy, and seamless.
3. Visual navigation
In addition to giving shoppers a better understanding of the products you have in your catalog, visual navigation helps them recognize different designs, materials, and colors that they may not have been able to put into words.
James Allen has a robust and detailed icon-based menu that encourages shoppers to browse according to a variety of styles, so they can easily identify what it is they’re looking for.
4. Smart, flexible filtering
Shoppers have varying motivations and requirements when buying jewelry. Some are more driven by style, while others are limited by price. In any case, providing buyers the option to surface the most relevant and appropriate products for their individual intent is paramount to a frictionless jewelry shopping experience.
Kay Jewelers offers Pinterest-inspired navigation that enables shoppers to uncover similar items to any piece that catches their eye, and to then filter by price, similarity, and gender. Other attributes that can help jewelry shoppers narrow down their options include carat weight and clarity.
5. Product close-ups
In physical stores, shoppers have the opportunity to view each piece and inspect each stone up close. This interaction is a critical part of building trust in your products. To replicate the experience online, James Allen has a 360-degree display and a diamond magnification technology to allow buyers to truly see the beauty and quality of its jewelry.
6. Building anticipation on the homepage
For many shoppers, product discovery begins on your homepage. As the online version of your store window, it must not only showcase your catalog and brand but also provide highly relevant starting points for exploring the rest of your website. A great way to do this is by creating collections based on themes (for example, a gift guide of top picks for Valentine’s Day) and product characteristics (new items or specific styles). David Yurman does a great job of this with “Gifts” and “Wedding” collections in the top menu as well as a full-page display to introduce new designs.
In addition to introducing key collections, the homepage is also an important place to enable shoppers to search, via text and with an image search feature, so if they enter your site with a specific goal, they can easily surface the most relevant items, whether or not they have the words to describe them.
Nurture a Strong Connection With Customers
According to digital psychologist, Dr. Liraz Margalit, in the COVID-19 era, “what matters is not the product itself, but the value and actual experience.” To extend the value you provide beyond your products, you need to create on-site experiences that form an emotional bond with shoppers by demonstrating that you understand their needs and that your brand aligns with their lifestyle.
7. Community and forum
Building an on-site community or forum enables your customers to interact with one another and discuss topics that matter to them. It also brings the conversation and engagement that might normally happen on social media to your site, where they can easily continue to purchase. Kay Jewelers has a bridal community on its website, serving as a unique way to boost engagement, offer shoppers inspiration, enable them to interact with fellow jewelry buyers as well as share happy moments related to the jewelry they bought, all of which strengthen shopper bonds with the brand.
8. Brand values and practices
Allowing customers to understand how you work behind the scenes is another way to build a deeper connection with your brand. For example, Chopard shares an intimate look at their sustainability commitment and ethical practices on their website. With conscious consumers on the rise, highlighting these details helps shoppers understand that your brand values align with their own, boosting brand affinity.
9. User-generated content
Putting your customers front and center provides social proof that encourages spending, but it also nurtures customer relationships post-purchase, increasing brand loyalty. James Allen does a great job of this with an on-site engagement gallery, connecting with past customers while inspiring new ones who may be shopping for the perfect ring and dreaming of their own upcoming engagement.
Remember That Shoppers Aren’t ‘One-Size-Fits-All’
In today’s eCommerce landscape, you can’t build successful online shopping experiences without personalization. From product recommendations to customer service interactions, and more, you need to provide bespoke digital experiences for every type of customer.
10. Customized products
Customization is not only limited to engagement and wedding rings. There are plenty of opportunities to turn your customers into co-designers of your products, making them feel more ownership and affiliation with your brand. For example, David Yurman enables shoppers to design their own jewelry sets, such as necklaces for layering and custom earring or bracelet stacks. Another popular customization option for jewelry is enabling shoppers to engrave a personal message on an item.
11. Chatbots and virtual appointments
In any jewelry store, shoppers are used to having knowledgeable sales associates show them relevant pieces, especially when it comes to considered purchases at a higher price point. Fortunately, brands can bring the same white-glove service online with chatbots for support and virtual appointments for more in-depth consultations. Monica Vinader gives users the option to send a quick message or book a live appointment with an associate trained to help with gifting, fit, and general styling questions.
Sometimes gift-givers need more help than a virtual assistant can provide. They need some insight directly from their partner or loved one for whom they’re buying the jewelry. Tiffany & Co. created an elegant and straightforward way to “drop a hint” about any given item, to help the gifter in your life understand exactly what you want.
13. Fit reference
For seasoned jewelry shoppers, fit may not be a concern, but for first-time or infrequent purchasers, the guidance of a fit finder is an important part of a supportive on-site journey. To ensure a perfect fit, James Allen offers a virtual ring sizer that can suit any shopper’s needs, with four different ways to measure.
Be Where Your Shoppers Are
In our recent report, we found that jewelry shoppers prefer to browse (77%) and buy (57.8%) on mobile. However, close to 25% of sessions still occur on desktop, where shoppers also tend to spend more. This demonstrates the importance of prioritizing omnichannel retail and delighting customers with a consistent and flawless experience across channels and devices.
Wishlists are a great way for shoppers to scope out the ideal Valentine’s Day gifts and keep a running tally of relevant items. However, with today’s shoppers finding items on social, on your app, your website, and even in your store, keeping a consolidated wishlist is a challenge. Kay Jewelers makes it easy for shoppers to link in-store wishlists and online items saved for later across all devices. Customers only have to make an account to access the wishlist on any device, anywhere, any time.
15. Better mobile experiences
With so many jewelry shoppers browsing on mobile, your desktop site can’t be the only place where they encounter thoughtful and innovative customer experiences. James Allen and Van Cleef & Arpels guide shoppers on mobile, offering tips for how to fully experience the visual content available. Another example is gorjana, which modifies its layout to ensure that even on a smaller screen, shoppers can see the discount link and chatbot while they browse. When a customer chooses a specific product, the brand also displays the add to cart button, payment options, and product variants above the fold on the product detail page, increasing shopper confidence and encouraging purchases.
As more and more consumers move online, where competition is fierce, they’ve become more discerning about the brands they buy from. In a research-intensive, personal, and high-ticket vertical like jewelry, providing value throughout the shopping journey—beyond price and product—is the right approach for winning over shoppers in the long-term. The 15 online shopping experiences shared above are a great place to start, not just for standing out ahead of Valentine’s Day, but for developing a brand that resonates with today’s shoppers.