Purchasing jewelry online is nothing new. As with most industries, adapting the trade to the Internet came about with the launch of ecommerce. Many companies have adapted from physical locations to the online marketplace, while some have sprung up as new companies wanting to earn your business online. One of the earliest reported increase in online jewelry sales came in 2002 by way of The New York Times. At that time, it was reported that the industry sales increased to $80 million for November 2002. While that does not seem like a large number, it was a 70% increase from the year prior, signaling consumer’s willingness to go online to buy something traditionally purchased in a physical store.
Buying jewelry online can be difficult as buying jewelry is similar to buying a car. You need to actually see the merchandise before you purchase it. That being said, many websites have implements features to help sort through the difficult process of “sight unseen” shopping. According to Internet Retailer, growth in online shopping for jewelry has increased thanks to tools such as zoom, color swatching, and configurators. People are able to see the product closer and get a better feeling for what they are actually purchasing.
Online shopping has also opened the doors to international jewelry sales. Etsy has been the front runner for do-it-yourself jewelry and as such is dominant in the Indian jewelry marketing. The growth of DIY jewelry in India has exploded in recent years, allowing people to take part in the growth on an international scale thanks to sites such as Etsy. No longer is there a need to go to your local jeweler when you can go online from home and pick out that perfect piece of handmade jewelry to accent your wardrobe.
Trust is very important in jewelry sales and as such it has been difficult for some to adapt. One wholesaler, The Pearl Source, has found a way to earn shoppers trust online by use of third-party websites. The company is the largest wholesaler of loose pearls in the United States, first opening its doors in California in 1991. In addition to loose pearls, it has become focused on creating necklaces, bracelets, pendants, and earrings, making it a one-stop shop for pearl jewelry. Its online presence has increased thanks to sending customers to third party review sites to see what real customers say about their product. This may seem like a dangerous thing to do for a company; however, based on the reviews from its customers, they shouldn’t have a worry about obtaining repeat business.
Purchasing jewelry online is outgrowing in-store purchases. According to the United States Retail Jewelry Industry Update from 2013, online sales in 2012 had a larger growth than retail stores. While the jewelry industry overall saw a 5.9% growth rate, online sales saw a 17% increase. This trend shows that people are becoming more comfortable with purchasing jewelry online, a trend that is likely to continue for many years.