Tell me about the history of the business?
We started the very first UK jewellery presence on the Internet, launching a ‘net based B2B service in the text based black hole that was the Internet before the World Wide Web, we are talking late 1980’s, way too early, we must have had maybe 3 users. The World Wide Web is not synonymous with the Internet, which pre-existed the Web in some form by over two decades and upon whose technologies the Web is built. English scientist Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989. When the World Wide Web reached the public eye in 1994, there it was, GemNet, our B2B specialist jewellery and diamond service ready for business.
My goodness the Internet was a lonely place in those far off days. I saw us as Internet evangelists, however, I think the industry regarded us as Internet bores. The truth is much of the Industry saw the ‘net as a fad and most wished it would simply go away, some still do. However we did get to exercise our new found skills, we designed and developed the original National Association of Goldsmiths website, DeBeers’ diamonds.biz and the first website of the Birmingham Assay office. We also created the first web sites for many independent and multiple jewellers.
This was way before drag-and-drop sites like WordPress, Wix and Shopify. All the scripts, every single line of code had to be written line-by-line. Then in 1999, the begining of dot-boom and before crowd funding we attracted a little venture capital, £1.5 million, too little on reflection, however we launched 247K.com. 247K.com was a sales channel and community for jewellers, the first dedicated platform where individual jewellers sold directly to the consumer, promoted via a group advertising and PR campaign.
Remember these are the days when Amazon only sold books, eBay was taking its first bids and Google was just 3 months old. The retailer’s were not ready for this quantum leap, the consumer was not ready, the shopping culture change had not happened. It certainly was exciting and definitely ideational, but absolutely way-too-early.com. We have continued to make our business entirely web based, divided equally between industry specific software services, our pure play etailer brand ComparetheDiamond.com and our dedicated B2B lab-grown diamond service labgrownB2B.com.
Give me an overview of your offering?
jbuyer.online is a specialist plug-in for jewellers using the Shopify ecommerce solution.
Taking software and services that we have developed over the last 20 years we have designed and developed a specialist plug-in, so much more than an app, that extends and empowers leading ecommerce sites, like Shopify, Wix, BigCommerce, 3DCart, WooCommerce, Magento and more. The plug-in is called jbuyer.online. Our first roll-out is with Shopify and that starts on the 29th September.
How does it work?
It all starts with the supplier, using our API, think restaurant menu, they provide a feed to populate the JBUYER HUB. It’s a live feed which covers price movements, bullion and exchange rates and suplier’s stock levels. Navigating through typical collections, think virtual trade show or virtual buying group, the retailer simply clicks a liked product to include it instantly in their store. They can personalise the wording and play with their margins – if they choose. That extra work is certainly not essential, images, product specification, detail and RRP are all provided.
The sales transaction is done within the ‘Shopify Cart’ between store holder and consumer. Now for the smart thinking, the purchase order is delivered from Shopify directly to the supplier via the API in a given format to work with their systems. The supplier is instantly and automatically paid and they fulfil the order, either to the store holder or by drop shipping directly to the consumer. Store holders can claim exclusivity on certain product lines for specified periods. A unique algorithm ensures that no product code is the same in any Shopify store to prevent the sharp shopper Googling a product code to find out who is the cheapest.
The store holders and the suppliers’ jbuyer control panel shows lots of valuable live data, number of sales, value of sales, missed sales, number of site visitors, live visitors, what’s selling, order tracking and so much more.
We are inviting suppliers to ‘audition’ at this time, that may sound a little pompous, but not only must suppliers have great product and service but must be able to meet very high quality demands re product image quality, optional video content and product description and detail. The software automatically manages a lot of that and we are on hand if further help and assistance is required. Suppliers of jewellery, watch, gift and related products are invited to apply for the beta application at no charge.
What makes your company stand out from the rest?
jbuyer.online makes us stand out from the rest, it is the net result of 30+ years developing applications for the ‘net. jbuyer.online makes it easy for retailers and suppliers to manage their online business. jbuyer.online is a problem solver.
How have you been coping during Covid-19?
Our B2C internet service, comparethediamond.com has been enjoying record and growing business during Covid-19, the traditional retailer really needs that second barrel in their shot gun, the consumer is changing its shopping habits and has no issues buying fine jewellery online. labgrownB2B.com has been meeting the trade demand for certificated lab-grown diamonds and jewellery set with lab-grown diamonds and that demand is exceptional as the millenial and Generation Z consider the planet in these times of a man-made plague. Ironically I am still delivering the same message as I was delivering 25 years ago, the Internet is the future, make it easy, make it affordable, make it yours with Shopify and jbuyer.online.
What are your goals for 2021?
We have representatives from 531 jewellery stores in the UK, South Africa, Australia and the U.S already interested in jbuyer.online and we have regular Zoom presentations with them keeping them in the loop. There are 136,000 jewellers using the top 3 ecommerce solutions, globally, our goal is 2,000 retail users of jbuyer.online and 200 suppliers within 12 months.
We are currently inviting retailers and potential suppliers to join the beta group at no charge.
Go to https://www.jbuyer.online