You may be a student beading bracelets in your spare time. Or a fashion-lover obsessed with the latest Vogue trends. Or a pragmatic businessperson who has nothing to do with jewelry but is looking for a product category to invest in.
Whatever your reason to start selling jewelry online, you may have chosen the right venture for investment.
The global jewelry market generates revenues equaling to the GDP of some countries like South Africa. The US share of these global figures is significant: according to the 2018 Digital Commerce 360 report, online jewelry sales increased by 14.2% ($5 billion) in 2018. The trend went expanding all through 2019 and 2020 and is expected to reach a global value of $291.7 billion by 2025.
If these figures impress you and you’d like to get your share of a pie in jewelry ecommerce, you’ve landed on the right page. In this article, you’ll see how to start a jewelry business online and give you some creative insights on how to promote your gems online.
The online jewelry market is quite saturated, so you may find it challenging to introduce a new product at first. Find what makes you tick, track jewelry trends using ecommerce analytics tools like Google Trends, and define your perfect customer – all to narrow down the broad category of jewelry to a single product.
Fine jewelry is made with precious metals, like gold, silver, and platinum, and gemstones such as diamonds, rubies, or emeralds, and is meant to last through generations. This niche might attract your attention for its scope: despite a median average order value (AOV) of $274, fine jewelry represents 85% of the whole jewelry industry. High AOV defines the target audience: well-off, special-occasion customers who can afford to pay more for jewels that last.
It is important that you communicate the value of your jewelry if you decide to play exclusively on the high end of the market. Take Harry Winston, for instance; the brand is very clear about its expensive gemstones, saying that a lower-priced offering would be dissonant with its image. In 80 years of operating business, it remains one of the top diamond brands, whose revenues hardly ever dropped.
Fashion (or costume) jewelry is made with simulated stones and base metals like brass, bronze, and copper and is meant for everyday use. It is less costly in production and is an affordable alternative to fine jewels, given that the prices for costume jewelry range anywhere between $1 to $100.
According to the Allied Market Research report, the costume jewelry market was valued at $32.9 billion in 2019 and is estimated to reach $59.7 billion by 2027. The reason for such fast growth is simple: this category is more penetrated by ecommerce. Despite its inexpensive materials, lower quality, and higher rates of repeat purchase, fashion jewelry customers are not as picky as those buying fine jewels. As a result, online purchases are booming in this niche.
Entering this market sector may seem tempting for its online sales; yet, get ready to face some fierce competition. You might need to change jewelry styles and address the growing fashion consciousness among consumers if you want to win the attention of the crowd.
While fine jewelry and fashion jewelry markets are the biggest, there are many other market sectors you can enter based on your inspiration ideas:
…and many more! These jewelry market niches are all different in size and customer demand. But with the right spirit and marketing message, you can create a one-of-a-kind brand that will conquer your target audience.
To start a jewelry business, you’ll need to register your entity with DBA, LLC or Corp. This standard procedure is carried out by a Secretary of State office, who also checks whether the name you’re claiming has already been taken by another business entity. You’ll also have to register with your state’s Department of Revenue Sales Tax Division to buy supplies in bulk without extra tax. Take out business insurance to further protect yourself in case of any legal issues.
Some other countries, like India or the UK, require all precious metals to be hallmarked before selling and a respective license to be obtained for those working with fine jewelry. On the contrary, such transactions are not necessary in the US, and no specific license is required to sell jewelry online.
How much does it cost to start a jewelry business? It largely depends on what niche you’re trying to enter (see Step 1 above). You can start with $500 paying basic raw materials to make low-end jewelry or $10,000+ for precious metals and gemstones.
If you’re making jewelry yourself, consider the prices for tools like grinders, hammers and mallets, metal forming tools, etc. If you outsource your jewelry manufacturing, you’ll also need to cover the cost of labor as well as purchase jewelry-specific design software. In return, you can expect to earn $10,000 to $250,000 per year, depending on the number of pieces you churn out.
The thing that will secure you a place in a jewelry ecommerce market is the strong aesthetics and unique design of your brand. Here are some tips on choosing a
It is often difficult to sell something to your customers without actually showing it. Especially if that “something” is a diamond ring worth a couple of thousand dollars. Marketing is fundamental in the online jewelry business, and there are quite a few creative strategies for you to attract and retain your customers.
Make your customers forget that they are shopping online by providing an excellent visual experience. According to MDG Advertising, 67% of online shoppers want products to be presented with clear images followed by product-specific information with 63%.
Don’t skimp on high-resolution photography for your jewelry e-store. Take shots of your product from different angles. Make sure the lighting highlights the craftsmanship of your gemstones. Provide multiple images of the product both on its own and as part of an outfit. Unless you’re tight on a budget, invest in jewelry turntables, like GemLightbox, providing a 360-degree view of your ornament on the clean background and with a clear focus.
Even if you’re running your jewelry business on the website, you’ll need social media to establish personal relationships with your customers and promote your product. Apart from setting up a social media page and hiring an SMM manager (if your budget allows it), collaborate with influencers and share your customers’ posts wearing your jewels on your personal account. People love to be a part of something bigger than themselves, so such details as sharing their posts in your Insta-stories will get your audience to participate in the creation of your brand.
Spiegel reports that the conversion rate increases by 380% when higher-priced items display reviews. So apart from striving to contribute to other websites, you’d better take into account your customer feedback about your products. Considering your customer reviews builds trust with your target audience and establishes brand awareness.
You may go even farther than that: integrate customer feedback in your other marketing campaigns. The Canadian-based e-commerce fine jewelry brand, Mejuri, has been masterfully using customer reviews in their video ads, thus, making their customers contributors to their online business.
As a jeweler, you have various alternatives to consider while building an online store. Here is a list of available options.
Online marketplaces are a perfect option for jewelry newbies who want to show their products to a large customer base fast. For a small fee per listing or monthly subscription, you’ll get a ready-made ecommerce platform (ideal for no-tech lovers) and a marketing strategy developed for you (after all, marketplace operators are as much interested in your business as you are). But mind that there’s much more competition, and you’ll most likely lack unique branding even if you start a small jewelry business from home.
Some of the most popular marketplaces include but are not limited to:
Jewelry sales on social media are gaining momentum ever since Facebook and Instagram introduced built-in marketplace features. They are free, easy to use, and effective in targeting specific groups of users. They are also a great way to experiment with marketing strategies; for instance, in-app analytic tools will give you valuable insights about your audience and promote your posts in paid ads.
Social media suits best hobbyists selling a small range of products, limiting the options for those who want to scale their business in the future. It doesn’t mean that you won’t succeed in fine jewelry business on social media, though. For example, j.hannah brand started off on Instagram and now sells custom-made, 14-karat gold pieces directly to consumers. Entering the handmade, personalized jewelry market, you might still make a private chic atelier of your social media account.
Building your own ecommerce website is a perfect option for those who want to start selling jewelry professionally and scale their business in the future. Free yourself from annoying social media restrictions, customize your website layout, and implement distinct aesthetics. You might need to work a bit harder on the marketing side and still set up social media accounts to bring traffic to your website; however, it’s worth it if you want to be your own boss.
You might take advantage of Shopify or Zepo platforms who offer ready-made website templates for your e-store. However, if you’re after uniqueness and credibility in your personal brand, you will need to build your website from scratch.
Magento eCommerce provides all the necessary tools to personalize your jewelry website features. It also offers many extensions to post content and track your customers’ data for target marketing. Some of the world-known brands, like Catbird NYC, Bulgari, and Hannoush, have their jewelry e-store on Magento, and their visual appearance is stunning.
Online jewelry business can be a real gem for those who know how to play “big” in the market. With the right visual communication strategy and a properly planned budget, you will reap more than you sow in this market segment.
Choose the platform to build your jewelry e-store depending on your business wants and needs. And if you decide to entrust your business to experts, we at Elogic will do our best to build a Magento e-store for you that will shine bright like a diamond.