I’ve been a retail jeweler for many years and I own a brick and mortar jewelry store in Williamsville, NY. My store focuses mainly bridal jewelry sales of engagement rings, custom jewelry design engagement rings, and wedding bands. The retail store has been amazingly successful, my customers are loyal, and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it, though the last 5 years have challenging. Recent consolidation of the retail trade by the majors and increased price competition by internet jewelry sites have make things difficult for the typical store owner. When you surf the internet you’ll find hundreds if not thousands of website selling diamonds, engagement rings, wedding rings, custom jewelry design, you name the jewelry and you can bet someone is selling it. Many traditional retailer jewelers would become discouraged by these sites; I on the other hand saw an opportunity to take back market that I’ve lost to these online competitors.
So I decided to take a shot at the online diamond business by creating a website that would compete with the best of them. Now the trouble was that I knew nothing about online diamond sales or internet technology. What I did have going for me was an understanding of what it took to make an amazing engagement and how to help customers choose one that was right for them. These are the basic principles of any successful business and I felt with right knowledge of web development I could marry the two skill sets nicely. And so I set out to learn as much as I could about the successful jewelry websites and also determine what each one had in common.
What I determined was that most successful jewelry and diamond websites were providing their customers with tons of information. These sites poured every ounce of useful information about the 4C’s and diamond education into their sites possible. They looked at the consumers point of view figured out a way to provide them a helpful and useful solution to their needs. This is what good retail jewelers do every day; the only difference is that successful online stores do it in a virtual way.
The misconception that most people have is that the “cool” sites are the better websites. You know the sites with all the jazzy flash animation and streaming video. Truth be known, the world’s most successful sites can be quite simple in design and yet very useful at the same time. Consider Google, it couldn’t be more simple in its design; but hundreds of millions of people use it every day.
So I learned early on that the key to my website was going to be usefulness and simplicity. The next thing I had to decide was what kind of jewelry website I wanted to create and as you may not suspect, there are many types of jewelry sites that you can build. Some sites focus on custom jewelry while others focus on wrist watches, you can find many that sell silver jewelry.
My focus has always been bridal jewelry and custom design and so this is the type of site that I built, www.rokstok.com is a website that’s purpose was inspired by its customer’s needs. I set out to provide an engagement ring and certified diamond information center that would provide consumers with more educational material than any other website on the net. Every day I sit down in front of the computer and think about my years in the jewelry business and how I can share it with my customers. I try to find new and creative ways to provide them with this information and hope that they’ll reward me with a purchase. If I don’t sell them a diamond or jewelry well that’s just fine with me because I have a responsibility to give back to a society that has give me so much.
This article will be the first of a 4 or 5 part series on how to build jewelry websites. Look for the second part of the article to be posted soon, in it I will tell you how I built a world class website for a fraction of what most sites cost.