The Australian jewellery industry is lagging behind most other industries in “maximising the online retail opportunity”, according to Stuart Duff, the multichannel general manager for Bevilles Jewellers.
Duff, a speaker at this month’s Online Retailer Conference & E-Commerce Expo in Sydney, believes that the high price of fine jewellery is no impediment to online retail success.
“Every product and industry has its own barriers standing in front of online sales success, but very rarely can those barriers not be dealt with,” he says.
“Ten years ago nobody believed that you could successfully sell shoes online due to sizing challenges and people wanting to see what the shoes looked like on them.
“Then www.zappos.com came along and made the process of buying shoes online a very simple and low risk one for their consumers which in turn removed all the barriers to selling shoes online.
“Within 10 years Zappos had built up a turnover in excess of $1 billion per annum.”
While acknowledging that selling jewellery online “may be different” to selling other products online, Duff stresses that “all the perceived conversion barriers around selling jewellery online are surmountable”.
Duff, who has only been in his role at Bevilles for six months, is planning to relaunch the company’s website early next year.
He says that although Bevilles’ current online sales are not yet as high as the company would like “the percentage is climbing at a strong pace” and the relaunch of the website will lead to a “substantial” increase in sales.
“It will be a much more convenient experience for our customers. It will give them more choice and reasons to visit our web-site and stores more often.”
Duff concludes that online retailing is almost inevitable for most retailers.
“It is hard to imagine that there is a retailer in Australia at the moment who is not currently feeling some level of pressure to improve their online offering. You would expect that most key Australian jewellery retailers will be investing heavily in the online space over the next two to three years”.
Duff is one of around 100 speakers due to speak at the Online Retailer Conference & E-Commerce Expo in Sydney from September 26-29.