This is one of the most frequent questions that we get from potential customers and customers that have been online for a few years. Usually, it's a case-by-case business. If you have this question, we're going to respond with some questions of our own:
• Do you want a quick fix?
For some people, eCommerce is a no-brainer because
a. everyone else is doing it (more on that in a minute)
b. you need to sell online to compete with other stores
c. your customers demand it
d. you are desperately looking for new revenue that your store is not providing
Not everyone is selling online, and the personal buying experience is still a valuable sales tool. You want, however, the person to be able to shop on your site, so they can come in not feeling insecure about your business or product. You have customers who come in, convinced from the internet, that they know all. And yes, that is frustrating and altogether rarely accurate. But if you put out there what you know to be true about your business and your product, then you can stand by your convictions and reputation when they come in, having learned about who you are.
As for the "quick fix," no--it's not. It costs money every month, requires vast security measures, and basically is like opening a brand new store with the one staff you have. Getting your inventory up on the site, with prices that vary so frequently due to metal and stone costs, should not be a make-it-or-break-it decision in your store. You should instead feature the products that are selling well, the products that aren't selling well enough, and the items that are freshly available--especially if you're the only game in town.
Online stores are no guarantee and no website company can (or should) say otherwise. If you spend the money and time on an eComm site, there is no way to ensure that you will even get someone to go there. We know it is far better to put the efforts towards the store information and product information that your customers will be able to pick up and then visit you.
• Do you have someone who can dedicate their own fulltime efforts into the site?
Too often we have seen jewelry stores think they must sell online, buy the ability, and then realize there's no time, there's no staff, and there's no way to full embrace the eComm possibilities. Don't get us wrong; we put together a great eComm site, but the reality is we do not want you to bite off more than you can chew and learn to resent a perfectly viable advertising tool, like the internet.
• Do you buy online yourself?
Think about the types of things you buy online. Very likely you aren't buying within your own industry (although you might be!), and realize that for every Amazon.com or OverStock.com, there are thousands of would-be great idea-driven sites that go absolutely nowhere. Amazon, OverStock, and so many others that are profiting at this time (and be certain that their own numbers fluctuate in the market not unlike a brick-and-mortar) don't have physical stores to worry about, and are creative start-ups that spend millions of dollars on advertising, have exceptional word of mouth business, and are essentially so well-known that people don't have to search or even bookmark the address; they come that easily to the mind and to the fingers.
Some physical businesses (Wallmart, Target, Costco) are doing very well online (sometimes better than their locations), but almost all of them very big corporate business and they're no fools: they have sections in their stores dedicated to your type (while not the same quality or personal experience) of merchandise. We would love to say that you can compete with them, but we know it is better to put your energy towards a web presence that tells your existing and potential customers why they should trust you and visit you in person. The selection that you have that may or may not be exclusive--but you provide the very best in customer service to help them find what they are after.
• Are you willing to put your full force behind the project like we will?
If yes, then fantastic--you probably have weighed your options, figured out your budget and needs, and are ready to go. We aren't here to convince you that you will lose your store, family, and citizenship if you get an online store! Instead, we will work together to get the very best site together with you. We ask you to call us for a quote based on your very specific needs and we will provide you with a proposal on the matter.
Our contact form is here.