A new site, which will officially launch next year, aims to connect the UK’s independent jewellery sector with online shoppers who are actively looking to purchase jewellery.
Called JewelClub, the site acts as a club for members of the public to sign up to, and will bring together independent retailers as a collective and connect them with these customers, most of whom already shop for jewellery online on other sites.
The site has been developed by Tim Lord, who has a background in e-commerce development in the sports industry and is also a former general manager of Sussex-based independent retailer Pressleys.
Explaining how he came up with the concept, Lord said: “I was fascinated by why so many independent jewellers struggle to sell online so I started to identify the reasons for this and see if I could come up with a solution.I also looked at who is buying jewellery online, how they buy, what they search for and where they buy from.
“During the course of my research it quickly became very clear that independent jewellery retailers cannot compete with the multiple outlets who dominate page one results on search engines.”
JewelClub aims to get round this issue by bringing independent retailers together and giving them the power of collective Search Engine Optimisation (SEO).
Lord also explained that his research showed that the most popular search term in relation to jewellery in both the UK and the USA is “vouchers” so JewelClub will operate a voucher system giving independent retailers a vehicle to shift overstock.
“Together as a collective, independent jewellery retailers have the biggest selection of brands and products plus the widest geographical coverage spanning the entirety of the UK,” said Lord.
“This collective is far bigger than anything offered by any of the major multiple sites and it is all linked together by the biggest single search term used in online jewellery sales which is vouchers.”
JewelClub works by each independent retailer signing up and creating their own page on the site, enabling customers to find them by brands sold, location or store name.
However, the homepage of the site will be solely about voucher listings. Independent retailers that are signed up to JewelClub can list vouchers which can either link to their own website, JewelClub listing or that can be printed off and used in store thus also helping to drive in-store footfall.
“The premise is simple, the more vouchers an independent lists on JewelClub, the more exposure they get to JewelClub members which means there are bigger opportunities to find new customers,” added Lord.
“The ideal use for vouchers is as a means to shift overstock which is a problem which I would imagine most, if not all, independent retailers have.”
Unlike some of the other sites retailers might use to clear overstock, JewelClub does not operate on a commission basis and will not take a percentage for every sale. Instead, it will run on an annual membership fee of £500 per year per retailer.
However, for a limited time prior to launch, JewelClub is offering any Retail Jeweller subscriber a 50% reduction in the sign-up fee if they sign up before October 31, 2016.
To take up this offer or to find out more about JewelClub, independent retailers are asked to visit www.jewelclub.uk/contact and fill in a basic information form.
“There are also other added benefits by signing up early,” said Lord. “For example we will promote all retailers who join up pre-launch to our existing database of customers via the site, the JewelClub blog and in social media posts.”