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Jewellery trade in the digital era

12 September 2018

Kevin Metz of Stuller

Annual jewellery retail sales (In US$ billion)
• Total annual US jewellery retail sales in 2016 were US$84.9 billion

• A 5.5 percent growth in 2016 over 2015
Source: US Department of Commerce

Research shows that personalised content can increase average order size by
>20 percent

Traditional independent jewellers are estimated to generate just over one-third of total market revenue (Source: US Economic Census)


Despite a strong foundation, the jewellery industry is not entirely immune to challenges brought about by today’s digital age. Kevin Metz, chief marketing officer of world-renowned jewellery manufacturer Stuller, shared with JNA his insights into jewellery industry trends and changes in consumer behaviour in the digital era.

Digital trends

The impact of digital technology in the jewellery space is undeniable, particularly in the retail sector. According to Kevin Metz of Stuller, consumers are always looking for a great online shopping experience. What are consumers’ expectations when shopping online? A recent survey suggests imagery and content are the most important, followed by functionality, which includes checkout, search and navigation.

What are the next trends, innovations and tactics that will contribute to digital disruption? According to Metz, these are seven concepts and developments to watch out for in the digital and jewellery industries.

1. Data-driven decision-making

o Access to consumer and market trends, data and insights for making informed decisions

o Fast fashion, rapidly shifting trends mean consumers regularly buy new items, regardless of the season

o Jewellery retailers must become more agile and flexible to rapidly adapt to changing market trends and consumer demands

o Real-time analytical capabilities: With the right technology in place, brands can view and evaluate the real-time insights required to guide design, merchandising and inventory allocation

2. Customisation

o Consumers want something unique that no one else has. They want to be involved in the process of creating that unique thing

o Many retailers are developing and providing online digital experiences that enable consumers to create or configure something that is perceived as unique – their own jewellery creation

o Those that are able to provide an easy-to-use experience that allows the consumer to see or visualise the final product will excel

3. Omnichannel

o Provide a seamless customer experience, regardless of the platforms – desktop, mobile, telephone or bricks and mortar

o Promotions should be easy to see over multiple channels, saving time on calling around and spending time comparing different platforms

o The more efficient and clearer you relay information to your potential customers, the more likely they are to purchase from you and form relationships in the long run

o Only 54 percent of watch and jewellery brands have a buy online feature; 15 percent offering in-store pickups; 9 percent integrating live inventory availability on their sites. (Source: L2 Digital Intelligence)

4. Personalisation

o More retailers are looking at personalisation as a way to enhance shopping experience

o While brand loyalty is fleeting in the new consumer-centric economy, superior service and personalisation will differentiate the winners from the rest of the pack

o A unified view of the customer allows brands to leverage buying patterns, behavioural data and contextual insights for a truly personalised experience

5. Content & content marketing

o Providing consumers with the necessary information (or content) needed for decision-making in the right place at the right time

o The basics: Detailed product descriptions, clear product imagery with multiple views, and product attributes with ability to select options

o But consumers are now expecting more: Ratings and reviews, video, Q&A capability, user-generated content, testimonials, storytelling – blogs

6. CAD, CAM and 3D printing

o While many jewellers continue to utilise traditional manufacturing techniques, we’ve seen an increased proliferation of digital techniques including CAD software and 3D printing for manufacturing

7. New business models leveraging digital tools & venues

o Entrepreneurs are finding NEW approaches to starting jewellery businesses beyond the traditional brick-and-mortar storefront

Digital Success Checklist:

1. Know your customer

2. Know your competition

3. Know who you want to be – define your brand

4. Get the right talent in the right place at the right time

5. Deploy the appropriate technology to meet your needs

6. Promote yourself through digital advertising

7. Provide the ultimate customer experience