February 14, 2000The E-Commerce Question
A Web site is a must; e-commerce not so much
Selling jewelry over the Internet isn't the only reason to have a Web site and maybe not even the best reason. Instead, say the executives of two jewelry industry Web portals, use a Web site to build in-store business by:
"But that doesn't mean e-commerce is the way to go," he said. Such a strategy pits local jewelers against the economies of scale available to the Big Boys of jewelry e-tailing. In such a contest, local jewelers invariably lose.
Instead, play to your strengths. "Put up a photo of your store," recommended Jacques Voorhees, president/CEO of Polygon.net. "It's a simple but savvy way to compare yourself to a dot.com whose office is what? Probably a garret someplace that's not much to look at."
Other "musts" include contact information (phone, address), a map and software that automatically sends reminders of anniversaries or other occasions to customers who have entered their relevant dates. And don't forget, said Voorhees, to put your Web address on all store materials, including business cards and Yellow Pages ads.
Still want to do e-commerce? Voorhees recommended a limited selection of stock items, perhaps packaged under a heading such as, "Need a Gift in a Hurry?" "You can offer next-day delivery by FedEx," he said. "And if that's not fast enough, tell them they can stop by the store and pick it up already gift-wrapped. No dot.com can match that."
- by Mark E. Dixon