It’s very easy to imagine that starting an online version of a jewellers – if you haven’t already – is an insurmountable task. The attendant strategy, costs, development time and ongoing maintenance workload can look like an effort that would outweigh the reward.
That is unless you have seen the recent stats from research firm Ipsos. They carried out a study, commissioned by PayPal, which found that the UK is the third most popular country for cross-border retail purchases online. In simple terms, apart the US and China, people around the world buy more online from UK companies than they do from anywhere else.
Coming third to the US and China is, frankly, an unbelievable achievement. It means that the world over, people see the UK has making and selling highly desirable goods. Another interesting stat revealed by the study was that in the US, jewellery is the third most popular category after clothes and footwear, and cosmetics and beauty. OK, so they didn’t give a figure for where it ranks in the UK, but given our reputation for making the finest jewellery in the world, it is not a stretch to imagine that it might be a significant export here, too.
All of this serves to drive home one point: all jewellers absolutely must have a go at launching an e-commerce platform. True, not everyone is going to be a winner: there’s a limit to how many independent jewellers can have stellar success if they treble in number in the coming years. But while the global market is hot for buying from the UK and jewellery has been singled out as one of the most popular categories of purchase, all jewellers should surely be minded to muscle in and take a piece of the pie.
Rarely does the mantra ‘nothing ventured, nothing gained’ apply more readily than it does to jewellers and the export market. For the sake of setting up a website and throwing a few hundred pounds at a Google Adwords campaign overseas, you may land a hitherto non-existent revenue stream, however modest. And functionally, you’ve had to do very little. No additional staff, no additional rented or leased space, not even any additional stock bought in, if you don’t want to.
There is a vast pool of design talent in the British jewellery industry, and bringing some of it to light via an export market may just get you in the online game where you never thought it possible.