Richemont, the Cartier maker, made a 30% profit during the pandemic – a significant margin from online sales. That indicates that most retailers who adopted technology- especially online jewelry retail during the pandemic, maintained better operating margins. But, technology adoption in jewelry retail has existed in various forms even before the pandemic. It should however be acknowledged that the pandemic accelerated it for the better. From ethical lab-grown diamonds to augmented reality for trying the best fitting jewelry online, technology is changing jewelry retail.
The article covers these main technology advancements reshaping the sector:
- Advanced lab diamond production
- Augmented reality (AR)
- Artificial intelligence (AI)
- Advanced jewelry design and 3D printing
- Convenient online payments, including through cryptocurrencies
Let’s dive in.
Lab Grown Diamond Increasing Demand for Ethical Diamonds
The first lab-grown diamond was produced 50 years ago through the pioneering high-pressure, high-temperature (HPHT) process. Now, the more advanced crystal vapor deposition (CVD) method that uses less energy is preferable.
The CVD diamonds have high-quality similar to their naturally mined diamonds. Also, they retail at half the price of natural diamonds. They use less energy and have less carbon-foot print. So, you can buy lab grown diamonds if you want an eco-friendly alternative to natural diamonds.
But most importantly, they solve in-human child labor and conflicts associated with natural mining. The gruesome conflicts have made blood diamonds a painful menace in the global industry. Since the blood diamonds could be smuggled from Africa and sold in other countries like Belgium as legit, buying one makes you feel conflicted and under moral pressure.
Now, Millenials and Gen Z, a group that aggressively advocates for a sustainable environment and justice, are driving demand for luxury goods. That also increases the need for ethical diamonds from the lab.
Shift to Online Jewelry Retail
Although physical stores have their appeal, most jewelry retail is moving online. Major jewelry brands in the US like Tiffany & Co and Clean Origin are selling jewelry directly from their websites. Other brands choose digital marketplaces like Etsy. You can get virtually any type of jewelry online nowadays, including, but not limited to:
- Wedding sets and bands
- Necklace diamond pendants
Online jewelry sales grew by 14%, with the US significantly contributing over 40%. The push to online platforms during the pandemic and subsequent use of omnichannel marketing strategies drives the growth. By 2024, the online jewelry market is expected to increase by $20 billion.
So, ramp up your website, turn it into a store, and use digital marketing to drive your store’s growth. Most importantly, ensure your website is mobile-friendly because many will access it through their smartphones.
Augmented Reality for Customers to Try Jewelry Before Buying Online Augmented reality (AR) allows online store visitors to experience your service and test your products virtually before making purchase decisions. Luxury jewelry emphasizes design, details, and measurements, especially for rings.
So, the shift to online jewelry sales needs AR for product testing and trying to influence buying decisions. Several luxury brands use AR services to help their visitors try their products:
- Tiffany & Co
The AR systems are either a separate try-app service or embedded on the native app or the store’s website. AR try-on service aims to improve customer experience and make your store the ultimate choice when the visitor makes a buying decision.
You can use several AR platforms to elevate your jewelry store’s customer experience too:
The AR try-on service can set you apart from the rest and help influence visitors to buy from you.
AI-Chatbots to Match Jewelry Suggestions to Online Shopper’s Preferences
Chatbots are common among e-commerce stores as they help visitors get what they want faster. Now, AI-powered chatbots can do more for t direct customers with what they are looking for. They can offer product suggestions based on visitors’ preferences and tastes, like diamond styles and designs that suit visitors’ needs.
So, if the visitor is searching for a diamond ring, they can get a perfect combination of diamond studs or bracelets that complement the ring. This improves your store’s ability to upsell more jewelry products. Besides, AI-chatbot can track orders, make sales, track shipments, and many more. So, you have more than digital customer service support when using an AI chatbot on your website or online jewelry store.
Exceptional Design Customization Through 3D Printing and Computer-Aided Design (CAD)
3D printing is an excellent part of mass manufacturing that will allow everyone to print most of their products in the future. But at the moment, it is empowering exceptional customized designs at scale for each jewelry buyer. For example, you can map a rough diamond and cut it precisely to the desired shape and design of the customer. With computer-aided design (CAD), you can preview the virtual diamond and ensure you adjust the measurements for a perfect cut and shape before printing.
Israel firms are leading in this area of expertise, e.g., Sarine Technologies provides advanced rough diamond planning and cutting. So, CAD and 3D printing allows you to get customers their preferred styles and designs.
Secure Online Purchases and Payments Through Cryptocurrencies
Online payments are also changing the way jewelry retail is done online. Shopping online was hardly an option for luxury jewelry and other luxury goods because of the large amount of cash involved.
Online payments have made it easier to pay for luxury goods without walking with a large amount of cash. However, online payments also have security challenges. Hackers can compromise your store and customer details and bank account. Worse still, they can expose the identity of your customer.
Cryptocurrencies are making online payments safer, secure, and private, even anonymous if your customer wishes. Last year, a mystery customer bought a 101-carat diamond worth over $12 million using cryptocurrency. So, have different but secure online payment options for your store.
There are significant technologies disrupting jewelry retail for the better. Most of the technology revolves around the shift from physical to online stores. So, from production like lab-grown diamonds to online sales and payments through cryptos, jewelry retail is changing.
You will need to adapt to keep up and attract the growing share of online consumers. The best way to do that is by embracing these technologies we’ve discussed and looking out for any new developments.
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