With Covid-19 shutting down the high street, many jewellery businesses have turned to online retail to survive. Even as shops begin to open their doors, social distancing measures mean that footfall is unlikely to be on the level it was pre-pandemic.
But since two thirds of consumers begin their online product search on Amazon, selling on the ecommerce website should be considered not a short-term fix, but a long-term benefit for brands hoping to grow their business. After all, as jewellery retailers will know, diamonds are made under pressure.
The digitalising of the high-street has been a growing trend for years but Covid-19 has undoubtedly accelerated both consumers and brands to push into the realm of online retail. Our research suggests that an estimated 3.2 million Amazon shoppers purchased accessories including jewellery for the first-time during lockdown and nearly all (97%) plan to maintain this trend. In fact, 15% will shun the high street in favour of ecommerce.
As Millennials and Gen-Zs earn an increasing disposable income, it is even more crucial that brands selling luxury goods like jewellery have a strong online presence to capture this audience who are often more comfortable purchasing online than in store.
Many businesses may have been reluctant pre-Covid-19 to even consider Amazon, with online retail having posed a threat to their precious high street for decades. The e-commerce site has been criticised for casting brands into shadow by their own name.
But it is undeniable that Amazon’s large customer base, vast logistics network and customer service make the leap to selling on the ecommerce platform an attractive proposition, and with the right strategy, Amazon can drive the success of brands in this difficult time.
Amazon is far from a monster who snatches away potential customers and cannibalises on and offline sales. Since 90% of consumers search Amazon even if their desired product can be found elsewhere, the e-commerce website should be seen as a useful tool not only for pushing sales, but also for brand-awareness.
Amazon’s customer base is very different to that of a brand’s own website which may have a very specific audience. Sales and visibility to this new customer base on Amazon may result in increased traffic on a brand’s existing website, and even in store, as shops begin to reopen.
This effect can be further enhanced by Amazon’s display advertising, which allows brands to run their own media campaign with high visibility and reach and engage shoppers on and off the site.
But how can an e-commerce giant like Amazon align itself with the luxury often associated with jewellery?
Historically, Amazon has had its greatest success in convenience-led segments and low price points. But the platform is evolving to branch into the luxury sector, with brands such as Swarovski, Thomas Sabo and Michael Kors already benefiting from an Amazon relationship.
To ensure they are a reputable platform to buy and sell jewellery, Amazon has a brand portfolio limited to high-quality brands, and all products must meet Amazon’s jewellery quality assurance standards.
Alongside this, Amazon’s Brand Registry and “Project Zero” help to promote genuine brands and track down any counterfeits to maintain the highest quality of products, provide support for brands and maintain consumer trust.
Brands, too, have a responsibility to ensure their products are represented well on the site. High quality images, available stock and concise keywords are a must. With the correct Amazon strategy, brands will receive positive reviews and sales, which win the trust of Amazon, and will likely see the brand placed higher on the search results lists.
It is the underlying network of trust between Amazon, retailers and consumers, which builds the foundations of the trade on the site. This is what makes the site a valuable friend to the jewellery sector, where high-ticket prices and the potential emotional weight of jewellery purchased as meaningful gifts mean that trust is vital.
As lockdown begins to lift, consumers will reach a crossroads. Some will tentatively venture back onto the high street, but others will resolutely remain online shoppers, at least for the foreseeable future. Online retail will continue to be favoured more than ever before.
With a shiny new “store window” on Amazon to complement traditional bricks and mortar, jewellery brands can continue to capture the attention and imagination of consumers on divergent shopping paths in the strange post-Covid-19 retail climate and beyond.
By Louise Evans is Head of Fashion at Molzi, Europe’s leading Amazon agency