Why Not Every Retailer Should Go Online Only

Head of Financial Partnerships, Xero Americas
min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

While I’m generally an advocate of moving brick and mortar businesses and services online, there are certain industries that can’t yet consider an online-only model. The jewelry business is one of those industries. Instead of selling solely online, I would recommend also having a physical presence or at least in-person consultations.

First, only about 6 percent of all US retail sales occur online. The market has come a long way, but still most buyers prefer to purchase in person. Second, the jewelry business requires that the seller educates the buyer. This is very difficult to do via phone or email. You’ll need to explain the product and how great it is in person for the buyer to understand the value. Third, due to the expensive nature of diamonds, buyers will want to see and feel it before they spend thousands of dollars.

Related: Choosing a Retail Location: 3 Priorities You Might Be Forgetting

In terms of your online strategy, Facebook & YouTube may not be sufficient. While I understand you’d like to keep overhead low, I don’t think it’s in your best interest to rely solely on a Facebook page and YouTube video to support your online presence. A professional site builds trust in your customer base, essential for people spending thousands of dollars on your product. It’s really not that expensive at all to create an online presence with just a website that has limited functionality. There are many low fee turnkey web platforms such as Wordpress that can be very easy and cost-effective. Eventually, if you do intend to sell your product online, you’ll need to create an e-commerce site anyway.

Related: From Facebook to Foot Traffic: Building a Bakery's Social Network
 

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