Fine jewelry has always been a symbol of wealth and prosperity. The jewelry market is forecast to expand from almost $300 billion to $645 billion by 2035. With the advent of digital technology, starting an online jewelry store is easier than ever before. Getting it off the ground and making steady profits, though, takes hard work.
TL;DR (Too Long; Didn't Read)
Starting an online jewelry store is similar to launching a traditional business. You need to research the market and your competitors, define your target audience, come up with a business plan, and get creative with your marketing strategy.
Why Sell Jewelry Online?
Many established jewelry brands have moved online to expand their presence and reach more customers. Richline Group, Tiffany & Co., Blue Nile and other online jewelers generate millions each year. Online jewelry sales grew 14.2% in 2018, which is significantly more than in other markets. Small retailers can now leverage the power of e-commerce to build trust in an industry dominated by famous brands.
From greater exposure to lower advertising costs, there are plenty of reasons to launch an online jewelry store. Retailers and manufacturers alike can use digital media to raise brand awareness, shape brand identity and reach a global audience. The internet makes it easy to connect with prospective clients and deliver personalized customer experiences. Furthermore, it costs less than traditional advertising channels.
Starting an online jewelry store is as easy as setting up a website and showcasing your products. You don't even need a website if you opt to sell on eBay, Amazon, Etsy or another e-commerce platform. The hard part is building lasting customer relationships and differentiating yourself from competitors. In this digital era, it's vital to embrace customer-centricity and get creative with your marketing strategies.
Conduct Market Research
The first step to a successful online jewelry business is to research the market. Study the latest industry trends and choose a profitable niche. Also, keep an eye on your competitors. Analyze the top performers to see what they do well and what could be improved.
Gold, for example, held the largest market share in 2018, and it's particularly popular in China and India. The increase in disposable income fuels the demand for diamonds because customers perceive these precious stones as a status symbol. Steel, silver and copper jewelry is widely used in the fashion industry and comes at a lower price than gold and platinum.
Decide the types of jewelry you want to sell online. Consider the materials, styles and pricing. Rings, for example, held a 28.9% of the market share in 2018. Customer demand for necklaces, earrings and bracelets is on the rise as well.
Choose Your Niche
Without a specific niche, it's difficult to stand out from the crowd and reach your audience. The jewelry market is dominated by established vendors like Swarovski, Pandora, Chopard and others. As a startup, you don't have the budget and resources to beat these competitors. That's why it's essential to find your niche and expand your offerings as your business grows.
Potential customers who visit your online store are looking for specific items, such as gold earrings or fashion jewelry. They're unlikely to browse through hundreds of products to find what they need. For example, if your jewelry store appeals to young women in their early 20s, you may have a hard time selling diamond rings or heirloom pieces. These products come with a high price tag, so your customers might not be able to afford them.
Conduct research with your target audience in mind and then choose a niche that meets your customers' needs and budget. Consider age, education, income, buying behavior and personal style. When you focus on a specific niche, you have less competition and more flexibility on pricing. Depending on your preferences, you may offer:
- Wedding jewelry
- Body jewelry
- Birthstone jewelry
- Heirloom pieces
- Diamond jewelry
- Fashion jewelry
- Religious jewelry
- Handmade jewelry
- Pearl and gemstone jewelry
Find Suppliers or Dropshippers
Next, determine where you're going to source your products. You may create your own pieces, buy wholesale jewelry, use dropshipping, or reach out to local manufacturers. Each option has its pros and cons.
Purchasing wholesale jewelry involves lower costs than buying from local manufacturers. The downside is that you need to order large volumes and might be stuck with unsold merchandise. Additionally, you may end up paying a small fortune on shipping and storage. Another disadvantage is that you won't be able to offer unique or limited-edition pieces.
If you decide to go with dropshipping, the supplier handles all the aspects, including product storage, packaging and delivery. Your only job is to maintain and promote your online jewelry store. With this option, you may lose control over the shipping process and product quality. If your customers are unsatisfied with their purchase or don't receive their orders on time, they’ll blame you, not the supplier, which may affect your reputation.
Develop a Business Plan
After you find your niche and the right suppliers, make a business plan. Cover all aspects of starting an online jewelry store and reaching your business goals. This document should include a detailed description of your company and its mission statement. State the products you plan to sell and their competitive advantages, outline your ideal customer, and define your strategy and how you will implement it.
Your business plan should also cover the legal and financial aspects of running an online jewelry store. You need to choose a name and legal structure for your business, apply for licenses and permits, register with the IRS and open a bank account.
Furthermore, it's important to assess the costs involved and determine whether you need financing. Include these aspects in your business plan and use it as a road map for how to structure and manage your jewelry store.
Starting an Online Jewelry Store
Determine whether you want to launch your own website, sell jewelry on social media, or use e-commerce platforms like Amazon and eBay. Setting up a website involves higher costs, but you have full control over the sales and marketing process. You can choose how each product is displayed, place advertisements, incorporate a blog and offer multiple payment options. To start an online jewelry store:
- Choose a domain name and hosting plan.
- Create your website from scratch or choose and customize a ready-made template.
- Set up a Home page, About page, Contact page, product pages, terms and conditions pages, and FAQ pages.
- Add content to each page. Consider setting up a blog to increase traffic and rank for the targeted keywords.
- Optimize your website for search engines.
- Set up a payment system.
- Promote your online store.
If you're on a tight budget, use a template rather than hiring a web designer. WordPress, Wix, Squarespace, Shopify, WooCommerce, BigCommerce and other e-commerce platforms all provide templates that can be customized according to your needs. You choose the desired colors, fonts, layouts and other key features. Most platforms have built-in payment and checkout systems, which simplifies the process.
Another option is to set up an online jewelry store on eBay, Etsy or Amazon. EBay, for example, requires sellers to sign up for an account, purchase a store package, choose a type of store, and then find a name for it. When these steps are complete, you list your products and brand yourself. As a seller, you enjoy a number of perks, such as free listings, custom store layouts, optimization tools and dedicated customer support. The downside is that you pay insertion fees and final value fees on each product sold.
Promote Your Jewelry Business
Think about how you plan to promote your online business. Set up social media pages for your jewelry store and post content regularly. Ask customers to leave reviews and testimonials on your site and business directories, such as Yelp and Squarespace. Launch advertising campaigns on Facebook, Google and other online platforms to gain visibility and traffic. Tailor your ads to your target audience.
Organize contests and giveaways, reach out to influencers, and create a loyalty program for your customers. Keep your prospects and existing clients engaged by sending out newsletters and sharing quality content on social networks. Encourage your fans and followers to leave comments, ask questions and interact with your brand.
Team up with local businesses and engage in cross-marketing. If you sell wedding rings, partner up with an online bridal store and promote each other's products, or set up an affiliate program for wedding bloggers and influencers. Take advantage of the latest e-commerce trends, such as augmented reality and 360-degree product videos, to make your jewelry pieces stand out and expand your reach.
- Statista: Global Jewelry Market - Statistics & Facts
- Digital Commerce 360: Online Jewelry Sales Grow 14.2% in 2018
- Forbes: As Fine Jewelry Moves Online, the Market Sparkles
- U.S. Small Business Administration: Write Your Business Plan
- Intuit Quickbooks: How to Write a Business Plan (Template): 10 Steps, 5 Tips, and Examples to Guide You
- BigCommerce: Choose the Right Ecommerce Platform
- eBay: Open an eBay Store
- Shopify: 17 Social Media Marketing Strategies to Grow Your Online Sales
- Grand View Research: Jewelry Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report by Product
- McKinsey & Company: A Multifaceted Future: The Jewelry Industry in 2020
- A.M. Best Assigns Credit Ratings to JM Specialty Insurance Company. Accessed October 20, 2020.
- AM Best. AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Chubb Limited and its Subsidiaries. Accessed October 20, 2020.
- A.M. Best. A.M. Best Places Provident Mutual’s Financial Strength Ratings Under Review Pending its Sponsored Demutualization by Nationwide. Accessed October 20, 2020.
- HubSpot: The 4 Most Important Pages on Your Website (& How to Optimize Them)
- Picup Media: 6 Trends That Will Shape the Jewelry E-Commerce Industry in 2019
- eBay: Selling Fees
- eBay: What Is an eBay Store?
- SBA.gov: Business Guide
- Website Builder Expert: How to Sell Jewelry Online: 10 Simple Steps to Creating a Successful Online Jewelry Store
- Mordor Intelligence: Gems and Jewelry Market - Segmented by Product (Rings, Necklaces, Earrings, Bracelets, Chains and Pendants, and Other), Distribution Channel (Offline Retail Stores and Online Retail Stores), and Geography - Growth, Trends and Forecasts (2019 - 2024)
- Try selling your products on eBay to test the waters of the market and bolster your reputation.
Andra Picincu is a digital marketing consultant with over 10 years of experience. She works closely with small businesses and large organizations alike to help them grow and increase brand awareness. She holds a BA in Marketing and International Business and a BA in Psychology. Over the past decade, she has turned her passion for marketing and writing into a successful business with an international audience. Current and former clients include The HOTH, Bisnode Sverige, Nutracelle, CLICK - The Coffee Lover's Protein Drink, InstaCuppa, Marketgoo, GoHarvey, Internet Brands, and more. In her daily life, Ms. Picincu provides digital marketing consulting and copywriting services. Her goal is to help businesses understand and reach their target audience in new, creative ways.