September 26, 2000
Dicker & Dicker
Dicker & Dicker Jewelers, Beachwood, OH, makes online auctions work, despite the competition from big-name auction sites like eBay. Dicker's success even made headlines in its local newspaper. In an article August 8 in The Plain Dealer, the company told reporters it sold 80% of the 723 pieces up for bid in the auction that closed at the end of July. Dicker's site focuses on auctions, but it also includes galleries of estate jewelry and specific designers' jewelry as well.
The auction section is the main focus of the site. Customers can browse through the items up for auction by category or item number, or they can search by keyword or item number. Unfortunately, the keyword search isn't very accurate. A search for silver earrings brought back no results, but a search for silver brought back 11 products including at least 3 pairs of silver earrings. Whether browsing or searching, products are presented on a page with a medium-sized image, item number, short description, opening bid, current winning bid and auction status for each item. Clicking on an item brings up a page with a larger image and information on how to bid.
The estate jewelry section provides customers with information about what estate jewelry is and allows them to search through the estate collection. For those interested in various estate jewelry periods, there are links to short descriptions of the Victorian period, the Edwardian period, Art Nouveau, Art Deco and retro designs. If a customer is shopping for estate jewelry, the navigation on the left allows them to browse the collection by classification (example "ladies necklace") and price range. Some of the categories, however, have few or no pieces, so many searches return no results. When there are results, the search returns a medium-sized image, item number, short description and Internet price for each item. Customers are not able to order the products online, and there is no information on how to order.
The designer gallery gives users information on some designers and allows them to search through products by classification, designer and price range. Results come back in the same format as in the estate section.
The other two sections of the site are "About Us" and "Tips and Terms." The about us section includes the history of the company, an explanation of what services Dicker provides, an update on what's new and articles written about the company. In addition there is a page called "The Lighter Side," which features a bunch of questions and answers titled "Ask Molly the Maven." The tips section is home to an educational guide about buying jewelry, a quick primer on the 4Cs called "Diamond Basics" and a page about Dicker's appraisal services.
Overall, the site is organized well and easy to navigate. Customers looking to buy something not in the auction section could be confused about how to do so since that information isn't provided on the site. There is, however, a "contact us" page where customers can leave a message for Dicker, but no specific e-mail address or store address is listed on the site.
- by Julia M. Duncan