By Brecken Branstrator
Jewelers of America's inaugural national convention took place in New York City July 28-29.
New York—In today’s competitive retail market, many jewelers set themselves apart from online players through their in-store service and expertise.

But as more consumers start their path to purchase with online research, it’s important for retail jewelers to use their website and other digital platforms to not only find shoppers but drive them into their stores.

Emmanuel Raheb, the CEO of Smart Age Solutions and a regular columnist for National Jeweler, spoke to the subject in an education session at the recent Jewelers of America National Convention in New York City.

Raheb noted that, according to Google, 45 percent of purchases are prompted by something seen online.

There also has been a 37 percent growth in the last two years for “where to shop/buy” mobile searches, as well as incremental growth in “near me” searches, which, according to Google, leads to about 76 percent of those searching to end up in a store the same day.

This means, whether or not a store’s website is e-commerce capable, it’s imperative the site makes it as easy as possible to navigate and reach out to the store.

According to Raheb, there are several common website blind spots that could prevent a sale or the customer from coming into the store: a lack of customer touch points, poor quality customer touch points, using the wrong website platform for a store’s needs and not understanding how to measure success.

Here are nine initiatives he said stores should focus on to ensure their websites are up to par. 

1. A website chat feature

This is a fundamental feature of a retailer’s website, according to Raheb.

“If you don’t have a chat feature on your website, why do you even have a website?”

Some retailers who don’t think their site gets much traffic are shocked by how many people reach out via the chat feature, he added.

Get one and find a way to make sure all customer interactions on it are handled.  

2. Posting the store’s phone number

Keep it always in sight on the website to make it easier for customers to reach out whenever they need it. The more they have to hunt for it, the less likely you are to hear from them.

Multiple store locations? Post one number and find a process for routing calls. You won’t regret it, Raheb said.

3. A text feature

Adding a function that allows customers to sign up for communication via text message is the best function you can have on your website, Raheb said.

Millennials today would rather have communication with the store via text, especially when it comes to appointment reminders, sales that pertain to them and delivery notifications.

“It’s on their time, and it’s on your time, so it’s a little less cumbersome to you and your customers.”

4. A “book appointment” button

There’s no better or more direct way to get a shopper from the website into the store than offering them a simple button to do it.

A few factors are important here, the first being the wording—Raheb said there’s no need to try to get fancy with it. Don’t use “request a quote,” “concierge,” or anything else confusing. They’ve tested a lot of vocabulary, and “book appointment” is what works, he said.

Color also plays a factor, not surprisingly. Raheb said one thing he’s seen: no one pushes a red button.

Keep the look of it simple—a button will do. It’s “function over beauty” when it comes to this aspect.

5. Multiple calls to action

When looking at your website, are there multiple ways for an interested customer to reach out to or interact with the business?

Raheb referred to a client he had worked with who had seven different calls to action available when a customer was on a product page: the store’s phone number and a “book appointment” button at the top, an “add to cart” button near the product info, a live chat and another “book appointment” button along the side of the page, yet another “schedule an appointment” button at the bottom of the product information, and a box at the bottom right of the page to send the store a message.

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6. Focus on response time

“The longer the response time, the colder a lead gets,” Raheb said.

A lead that goes longer than 5 minutes—starting at the point of interacting with the store—without being responded to is as good as a cold call.

7. Displaying reviews on site

If you have good reviews, your customers should be seeing those on the site. If they have to hunt for them elsewhere, it risks them leaving the website and not coming back.

“Amazon built their business on reviews because they know that when people see positive reviews, their conversion rate skyrockets. Why not use the same fundamentals on your site?”

In a plug for his company, Raheb talked about the “review beacon” that Smart Age developed, which provides a feature that appears as a small box on the website and, when people hover over it, expands to show the five-star reviews past customers have left.

8. Use social media comments

Consumers commenting on a store’s social channels are real, interested buyers already, so it’s a missed opportunity to not invite them into the store.

Are they interested in a product? Invite them to the store to try it on.

Are they asking questions about services? Tell them you’d love for them to come into the store to talk to a specialist.

9. Utilize email marketing

Don’t neglect how your email list can be used to drive people into the store.

“Email is still the highest ROI channel in all of marketing,” Raheb said.

Use them to drive people in with events, sales, deals and more.

Raheb also spoke about the different types of web platforms available to jewelers and which might be best, based on certain needs. This topic can be explored in a National Jeweler column he penned last fall. 

He emphasized that once a store’s website has applied the aforementioned initiatives, it’s time to measure the success of the site.

Do that by tracking website visitors and where they’re coming from; paying attention to conversion rates and how many people are using the touch points established, such as the “book appointment” button; and tracking in-store visits to see if there’s a correlation between an increase in website visitors and increase in-store visitors.

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