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January 2000

Managing: Technology

Internet Solution helps retailers offer bread-and-butter jewelry on-line

Many of the new Internet jewelry retailers have resources beyond compare. Often backed by venture capital to build the perfect, expensive mousetraps, they are forming Web partnerships, launching exclusive jewelry collections and buying banner ads on coveted sites such as Yahoo! For small independent jewelers who've barely begun with the Web, competing on these e-tailers' level seems an insurmountable feat.

Several companies have introduced services to help small businesses introduce e-commerce on their sites without shelling out thousands for the "back end," which includes the programming work, secure server space and equipment needed to process orders via the Internet. Now a jewelry company has added inventory to such services.

The Web sites that designs for its retail jeweler "affiliates" connect directly to a catalog of nearly 25,000 jewelry items. The catalog is actually the inventory of Quality Gold, Cincinnati, OH, which owns Ejewelry. Once a consumer orders an item through the retailer's Web site, Ejewelry processes the order and ships the jewelry by FedEx for next-day delivery. Retailers set margins for products in each of 25 categories, then receive that profit for each piece sold.

The service is an especially useful solution for custom or high-end jewelers who aren't interested in selling bread-and-butter items in their stores or on-line but don't want customers to go elsewhere, says Patrick Brown, director of marketing for Ejewelry. "One jeweler shows his own designs on his home page and bread-and-butter items through the Quality Gold connection," he says. "He doesn't want to sell chains on his home page, but if he doesn't make them available, he risks losing customers to QVC."

Match Game

In the consumer's eyes, all business is transacted with the retail jeweler. While the Internet often causes a problem with geographical exclusivity, Ejewelry's directory points consumers to an affiliate close to their ZIP code.

The service recently took a step to make itself even more attractive to retail jewelers trying to get noticed in the competitive world of on-line business. became part of the Premier Partnership program with, an on-line shopping service that queries sellers about requested products and returns e-mails to consumers about the availability of the products they seek.
The only jewelry company in such a partnership with, Ejewelry will respond to all consumer requests for jewelry by matching an Ejewelry retailer to the customer's ZIP code and putting the retailer in touch with that customer.

"Promoting the Web site and the Ejewelry catalog as an extension of my business has been very valuable for me," says Jeffrey Dunnington of Designs in Gold, Houston, TX. Dunnington was already building his Web site,, to promote his popular charm jewelry for firefighters, emergency service personnel and Web surfers. Ejewelry was a way to make a few extra sales on-line. He also plans to launch a new Web site (called directly related to his retail store to serve the 3,000 active customers from his physical store. He says Ejewelry will be an extension of that business too.

Statistics for the site show 75% of visitors enter the Ejewelry catalog, Dunnington says. Of those, about one-third register as shoppers and about one-third of registered visitors make a purchase – numbers that coincide exactly with national averages for e-commerce patterns. "For the small annual fee, once you make a couple of sales a year, it's paid for itself," he says. membership costs $240 per year with a one-time setup fee of $50.

  • Ejewelry, Fairfield, OH, (800) 354-9833, fax (513) 632-1101.

by Stacey King

Copyright © 1999 by Bond Communications.


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