Nathaniel Bendayan, Director of NB Diamonds, asks what the rise of e-commerce will mean for the jewelry industry where sales and experience are so important in the business. We can say that the shift to online jewelry retailing has been going on for years, if not decades. We have found, one at a time, that all retail sectors are giving up major investments in the street to increase their offerings and online reach.
But nothing has done the radical shift in movement more than the pandemic. We’ve seen three nationwide bans in the past year that put trading on hold. But what does that mean for the jewelry industry?
As a market supplier, we know that trading in diamond jewelry is more than just selling. Diamonds are an investment, a commodity and a small tangible taste of exquisite luxury. For the consumer, jewelry is old fashioned. It’s a flash of the imagination. Envy and lust, sales experience, company prestige – all of these are integral parts of buying top quality luxury products.
It’s not just about owning the item, it’s also about how the customer feels when it’s time to buy it. It’s hard to imagine that an online transaction can be compared with a single click. We have seen many passionate retailers maintain their strong position in the jewelry market by diving in depth. Organization of new or expanded websites that attempt to provide the consumer with the same online experience as the business. For many, not only have they stayed afloat for the past 12 months, but they’ve seen a surge in sales. The new medium means they don’t rely on local engagement or loyal customers, but rather on an endless group of buyers.
Similar to the retail jewelry industry, everyone at NB Diamonds has recognized the benefits of expanding the online platform by building a powerful website. People are taking advantage of quieter times to expand the social media presence and reach out to new and existing customers. While many industries have exploded with the rise of online retailing, with the high-end market of all industries including diamond jewelry we have to ask ourselves, is there anything else here? Is the online demand due to store closings or is it a trend that is continuing?
It is clear that when stores open after each block, first in the spring of 2020 and then again before Christmas, the deprivation of the personal shopping experience has only resulted in increased thirst. As they say, “Absence makes the heart more loving.” The retail resurgence has shown that nothing is better than the moment you are shown a brilliant and sensational piece of diamond. Many of those who missed the opportunity to celebrate important birthday events, weddings, and celebrations over the past year have provided the occasion with a gift that will last for a lifetime and beyond.
Caring for loved ones and wanting to flaunt them with a precious gift that will preserve its longevity has lifted diamond jewelry into the hearts of many people. The year of the pandemic may have ended what we call “the personal touch” by replacing it with a masked, gloved and sanitized experience. But even when socially distant, people are social beings. An online platform today isn’t just about a website. And in that shift we saw an unmistakable seismic shift.
What does all of this mean for the next few seasons?
As we noted in previous bans, we expect the end of the current restrictions to coincide with a boom in retail frequency, especially in the diamond jewelry industry. Over the past year, market changes due to the pandemic and Brexit have had an impact on supply chains. It is imperative that the customers take full advantage of current offerings and make the right purchases in the months to come.
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