When you have a passion for crafting, designing, and selling jewelry, starting your unique brand makes for an excellent business venture. But with the state of the industry today, are you best served by setting up a traditional retail store or going digital? Of course, doing both would be ideal, but not all startups can afford to work both ways; here are some perspectives to help you decide.
The business end
One of the most significant factors to consider from a business perspective is cost, and this is where an ecommerce setup tends to have a considerable edge. Unless you’re willing to learn the ropes of setting up a website, some back-end coding and front-end design, and develop digital marketing strategies to reach a wide range of potential customers, you’ll need to hire several professionals to fill those roles. And still, the costs of creating an online store for your jewelry business will probably be much lower than the cost of renting a commercial space in a good location.
Costs for physical retail stores can be prohibitive, but in the right areas – such as central business districts or trendy downtown shopping malls – you’ll be able to take advantage of high foot traffic which generally matches your target customer profile and the exposure your brand gains from establishing premises in an accessible location.
The customer’s perspective
When you weigh the options of setting up operations in a physical store or in the virtual realm, seeing things from the customer’s point of view could give you a better understanding of which option might work best for your business. Many customers continue to visit and purchase from retail stores, particularly when it comes to fashion and accessories. Being able to touch and see jewelry up close, and check out how well it matches with a particular outfit, can help bring customers across the finish line and ultimately decide to purchase your product.
Online stores can’t match this sort of customer experience, but they provide instant access to your entire selection of products – something that can be limited by the available display size or floor space in a physical store. With professional bulk jewelry retouching services, you can easily upload true-to-life, high-quality images of all your products from various angles. And the accessibility of a website also lets you convert more customers who value this sort of convenience in making purchases.
Questions of cost versus profit margins, or customer experience versus reach, and lead generation, are often the main focus when it comes to deciding how and where you’ll operate your jewelry store. But there are also a few intangibles which may come into play.
For instance, the average price point of your product can be more influential than you’d expect; with expensive jewelry, clear policies on shipping and reverse logistics can work to your advantage if you have a trusted partner in this area, but it can just as easily break your attempt to be successful online. Or, if you want to distinguish your business by highlighting your ethical and sustainable sourcing practices, it may be easier to spread the word by focusing on an online store and its associated digital marketing campaigns and mailing lists, compared to a brick-and-mortar venue.
It may not be easy to decide which option works better for your startup jewelry business – ecommerce or physical retail store? But identifying the key factors and perspectives, and how they align with your brand’s objectives and ideal customer, will help make the decision easier for you.