Whether you make jewellery, are a designer or a re-seller, at some point you will have to think about selling your jewellery online and that is why I created this guide to help get you started.
To give you a bit of background on me and why I created this guide. I started and ran my own online jewellery business between 2012 and 2019 so everything in this guide comes from first hand experience.
Over the years, I would always check online for advice on how I could improve my business and always founds most of the guides unhelpful as it was evident that the people who wrote them had never actually done it themselves.
So I sat down and wrote this guide and included all the information I wish I had had available when I was starting out. So I hope you enjoy reading this guide and it provides you with some valuable help and guidance.
- 1. Branding
- 2. Choosing a Jewellery Niche
- 3. Creating an Ecommerce Website
- 4. Alternative Sales Channels
The base of all your branding is your business name and you want it to be something people will remember so that they can easily find you when they are thinking of buying. You also want your business name to have longevity so generally avoid names that are on trend at the moment but could look quite silly in a few years.
Another thing I often see is names that are a unique way of spelling a word, while this might seem a bit edgy the likelihood is that most people will forget how to spell it and probably won’t put the effort in to find you!
Ideally you want people to build your jewellery business as a brand, because you are more likely to build a repeat customer base if you are a brand rather than just a jeweller. That is why getting your brand identity right is an important step in building a successful jewellery business.
Your Business Name
Instead keep your name short and easy to remember and you see this trend with nearly all of the big names in the industry. While it might seem a bit old fashioned, using your name is still one of the best choices.
Once you have decided on a brand name, you want to make sure that the matching domain name and social media accounts are available, my favourite tool for this is namecheckr.com. If they are available then it is best to get them as soon as you can and with domain names you really want to get the .com and your national one such as .co.uk or .com.au.
When it comes to choosing a domain name, there are a few best practices to try and stick to so that your domain name is easier to remember and they are:
- Ideally not longer than 20 characters
- Not more than 3 words, ideally 1 or 2
- Don’t hyphenate – people always forget the hyphen!
- Avoid obscure suffixes such as .london, .business or .online – 99% of people will type .com or their national suffix
Effectively, point 3 and 4 just increase the chances of people visiting your site and not someone else’s. If your desired domain name is not available, then try slight alternatives such as instead of paulhaywoodjewellery.com, I could try phjewellery or phaywoodjewellery.
You also want your domain name and social media accounts to all have the same name as it just aids brand continuity.
Creating a Logo
The next step is to create a logo for your business and as with your business name, you want to keep it simple and memorable.
For many jewellery businesses, it is often the case of choosing the right font and possibly a small symbol. Having a fancy logo is great but if it doesn’t communicate your business name very well, then it is not really doing what you want it to.
The two tools I have found to be the best for creating a business logo are Adobe Photoshop and Canva.
The next thing to look at is your packaging and this is a really important point as your packaging the first thing your customer is going to see once they receive their item. There are two elements to your packaging and want both of them working for your business.
You want your gift packaging to reflect your brand because this is the first thing that the recipient of your jewellery is going to see. If you sell high end luxury jewellery, is a £1 cardboard gift box really the right choice? Or is a hinged wooden box in a nice gift bag the better way to go?
Fortunately there are plenty of jewellery packaging suppliers out there who can provide high quality gift boxes and bags to suit all price ranges. You can also customise your packaging to include your brands logo or you can opt for bespoke packaging that incorporates your brands colours and logo.
As an online business, you want to make sure your jewellery gets to the customer unscathed and for that you need to have good postal packaging. You can also add your brands logo to your packaging but something that is becoming more popular is environmentally friendly packaging.
It looks a lot better to your customer is you can say that all your packaging is recyclable. In many ways eco-friendly packaging also looks far nicer, for example compostable cornstarch pellets looks way better than bubble wrap. It is also not much more expensive and it goes down really well with customers!
2. Choosing a Jewellery Niche
You probably have a good idea as to the type of jewellery you want to sell but you want to pick a niche to really focus on, especially when you are just getting started.
This is because it makes it much easier to build out a product range and then start marketing your business as you will have a good idea as to who your target market is.
Many people think that jewellery in itself is a niche but it isn’t really as jewellery encompasses a large amount of different niches under one banner.
Some of the most successful new jewellery businesses I know are successful because they are specialists in one area and have captured that one particular market, rather than trying to attract everyone.
There are many different niches within the jewellery trade and here are a few examples:
- Fashion Jewellery
- Men’s Jewellery
- Bridal and Wedding Jewellery
- Sterling Silver Jewellery
- Vintage Jewellery
- Gold Jewellery
- Diamond Jewellery
- Gem Set Jewellery
Honestly I could go on and on and even in these niches there are sub-niches that are more specialised.
How do you decide on a niche? A lot of that comes down to you, is there any area you have worked with before or know a lot about? When I started out, I focused on gold jewellery as I had previously worked as a gold buyer so I knew a lot about what I was selling.
Being knowledgeable about your products will be a huge benefit to your business, you will be able to write far better content for your website in terms of product descriptions and blog posts as well as being able to provide informative answers to any customer enquiries.
Even though it can work, focusing too heavily on a very specialised niche can cause you problems. For example just focusing on Sterling Silver Wolf rings has a very small target audience, who you might struggle to reach and the potential for future growth is quite limited. Instead doing Sterling Silver animal themed rings gives you are far wider audience while still being in a niche.
Once you have decided which niche you are going to choose, you then need to decide what price points you are going to be aiming for as the approach to selling a £100 ring is completely different to trying to sell a £10,000 ring.
Generally it falls into three main categories:
- Low End – usually under £500
- Mid Range – usually between £500 and £5,000
- High End – upwards of £5,000
Deciding which one to go for very much depends on you, your business and your budget as if you only have £1000 to start with, you won’t realistically be able to sell high end goods to start with.
Building a Jewellery Range
You know the niche, you know which price point you are aiming for, now you can start building out a range of jewellery.
When you start doing this, it can be really easy to fall in to the trap of just stocking things that you like and this can often lead to you having a stock that you can’t shift.
To avoid this, you want to do some research and there are some great tools out there. Things like Google Keywords Planner will give you rough volumes of what people are searching for. You can also use Google predictive search tool (just start typing into Google’s search bar) as this will indicate if people are actively searching for these products.
Checking on your competitors websites can also yield some really useful information. For example, I was planning to introduce a range of pendants similar to some that some of competition had but going on their sites and seeing that all of them had them discounted showed me that they obviously weren’t selling very well!
TIP – Before spending all of your money of stock, you need to establish if there are buyers for your jewellery. In my experience, the best thing to do is buy small quantities but aim for a large variety and see what sells.
You can then use this information, website reports and analytics to use along with the research to start refining your product range so that you increase the chances of stocking jewellery that will sell.
Finding Manufacturers and Suppliers
Now you need to find manufacturers and suppliers who can help you build out your range and it doesn’t matter whether you are a designer and/or maker or a re-seller, you need to develop a good network of suppliers, manufacturers and tradespeople.
Obviously it depends on your products as to what kind of suppliers you need but the two best ways to find them are using search engines such as google and Facebook groups.
I like Facebook groups as you can get recommendations from people within the trade as to who to use, good ones for any UK based businesses are The Society of British Jewellers Facebook Page and Guild of Jewellery Designers Facebook Page.
If you are just starting out then you want to develop good relationships with your suppliers as they can pay dividends in the future. Never mess a supplier about as it is a pretty small world within the trade and you don’t want your name getting tarnished!
3. Creating an Ecommerce Website
Now you have your branding sorted and you know what you are going to sell, it is time to start building your website as this is going to act as the central hub for your online jewellery business.
Choosing an Ecommerce Platform
When it comes to building a ecommerce site, you have two main options and they are fully hosted or self hosted platforms.
For anyone just starting a website, I highly recommend using a fully hosted ecommerce platform such as Shopify, EKM or ShopWired as they make it much easier to launch an online store than using a self-hosted solution such as Woocommerce.
The reason why I recommend using these types of platforms are:
- You don’t have to worry about any of the technical aspects of running a website. All your hosting, performance and security is taken care of by the platform.
- This means that you can focus on the more important parts such as sales and marketing.
- They are usually loaded with all the features that you need to run a successful online store.
- The initial costs are much cheaper than having a custom website built as you pay a monthly fee that start from around about £30/m.
- They are much quicker to set up, even a complete novice can get an ecommerce store up and running in a few days.
Now I could go into a lot of information about ecommerce platforms and how to set your ecommerce store up properly but I have already covered that in two of my other posts which I have linked below.
Once you have got your online store set up, you need a way to get paid and it is always advisable to have more than one payment method. There are two main reasons for this:
- The more payments options you have, the more likely you are to convert your websites visitors into buyers. This is because some visitors will have preferred payment methods such as PayPal or credit card.
- If you run into issues with one of your payment processors, then you still have a way of getting paid.
If you are just starting out then going with a payment processor such as WorldPay or SagePay is probably not the best idea as they have long contracts with monthly fees attached. Instead it is better to go with pay as you go solutions and in my opinion the best combination is PayPal and Stripe as you are covering the two most popular payment methods.
Even though the fees with PayPal are quite high, starting at 2.9% + 30p transaction fee. It is a very popular payment method and as you only pay when you use it. Stripe offers a similar pay as you go option but just for credit and debit cards and the fees are lower than PayPal, starting at 1.4% + 20p transaction fee.
In the branding section, I talked about postage packaging so you should have a good idea about how you are going to package your jewellery up.
The next step on from that is figuring out what delivery methods you are going to use and you want to balance three things up:
This can be a bit of a challenge as it does depend on the type of jewellery that you are selling. If you are sending expensive, high end jewellery then you may need to buy additional insurance and this may need to be bought from a third party insurer. If possible, you do want to use a service that offers tracking as it just makes life easier.
The image above is a quick demo product page that I created to show you the important elements on your product listing page. The combination of these elements is going to be a big contributing factor as to whether your visitor is going to buy from you or not.
- Product Title – This is probably what convinced someone to click on your page. So you want to make sure that the title is accurate and fits with the product and information that it on the rest of the page. I cover how to come up with the keywords for your product title in my Marketing your Online Jewellery Business post.
- Product Images – One of the most important parts of your page as this is the visual representation of your product. You always want to use high quality images that accurately depict your product. It is best to keep your backgrounds simple and complimentary as you want the piece to be the main focus of the image.
- Product Description – This is your sales pitch, so make it count! On some platforms you will have a short and long description but if you only have one like the image above, then you want a 1 – 2 sentence paragraph and up to 5 bullet points that concisely give your visitor all the information they need about the product.
- Add to Cart Button – The terminology may differ from website to website but the premise is the same. You want your Add to Cart button to have a colour that complements your overall designs but also stands out from the rest of the page, so that it draws your visitors eye to it.
When it comes to adding content to your site, you want to add some informational pages. Some of these are purely to inform your customers of your business and your policies but some are legal requirements.
- Terms and Conditions – this is a page that can cover a multitude of different things, from use of your website to the terms and conditions of sale. Basically anything that involves using your website in some way, needs to be covered in your T&C’s in addition to all of your businesses legal information.
- Hallmarking Information – if you sell precious metals, then you need to display hallmarking information on your website. You can download a dealers notice directly from the Birmingham Assay Office Website.
- Contact Page – this gives your customers a single page of reference when it comes to contacting you. This should at minimum include a contact form but ideally should include a phone number and email address. If you have a physical location, then you can also include this here.
- About Me/Us Page – people like to learn a little about the business and the people behind it so create an about me or about us page and give some info about you and the history of your business.
- Returns Policy – many businesses bury this in their terms and conditions but it really is better to be open and transparent about your returns policy. Having a good returns page and policy can increase the amount of sales you get.
- Delivery Information – as with the returns policy, being open and transparent about your delivery policy and prices can be good for your business and can cut down the amount of abandoned carts you get due to delivery charges.
4. Alternative Sales Channels
As I mentioned above, your website is going to be the hub of your online jewellery business but it is going to take some time and investment until you start generating any kind of meaningful traffic to your site.
That is where you want to add some alternative sales channels to your business, so that you can start generating some sales but also potentially growing your audience and there are a couple of options for this.
Number 1: Online Marketplaces
Online marketplaces can get your products in front of an audience that you may not be able to otherwise. This is because they not only have hundreds to potentially millions of organic visitors a day to their sites but also have a dedicated audience that you go directly to their sites to look for a product.
Below is a selection of online marketplaces that range from huge multi-national corporations to smaller, more niche orientated marketplaces. If you want to check out any of these, then just click on their logo:
While these are a great way of potentially generating sales, there are some downsides to using marketplaces, such as:
- Transaction fees
- Monthly shop fees
- Limited control over your site and branding
- Marketplaces often side with buyers in disputes
But when you are getting started, there is not many other methods for getting your products in front of they eyes of potential buyers.
Number 2: Social Media
Lots of ecommerce platforms now offer integrations with social media platforms such as Facebook and Instagram, which makes it much easier for people to buy from you.
This is a great way of converting your audience from followers to paying customers and it can also lead to more exposure if you encourage your customers to tag you in their posts about your jewellery.
Well that brings me to the end of this post and I hope you have found some useful bits of information in here and I do believe that if you follow the steps I have listed above, that you will have laid the foundations of a successful online jewellery business.
The next step after building your site is start Marketing your new Jewellery Business, so that you can start getting traffic to the site and generating some sales.