There is one kind of accessory that never goes out of fashion—jewelry. Since the dawn of time, human beings have used different elements to adorn themselves. If you enjoy making or sourcing jewelry, getting into the jewelry business is a good idea.
With jewelry, you have a product that is guaranteed to sell to a dedicated consumer base. As we know, be it precious stones or gold, there is almost nothing that people won’t gladly have as an accessory. If you can provide such items to these clients, why not sell them? Here’s what you need to know about starting a jewelry business.
Starting a Jewelry Business
You may already have access to a sizeable inventory of jewelry, but selling it is a different matter entirely. You do have the option of telling your friends and family about it and relying on word of mouth publicity. You get to pocket the cash at the end of the day without much effort. But if you want to grow, this method will not work for you.
What you need to do if you want to sell jewelry is to own your own store. Outline a business plan with a proposal maker and you will have taken the first step towards starting your jewelry business.
The first thing you need to look at is where you want to open your business. You have two options in this department:
- A brick and mortar store
- E-Commerce store
We will look at each of these in detail below.
Brick and Mortar Store
While brick and mortar stores were popular choices a few years ago, they require too much capital and maintenance to run. You will need to find a place to rent, to house your inventory, pay for overheads such as electricity and water, as well as handle a variety of different kinds of payments, from cash to card.
In the Internet-powered world that we live in today, a brick and mortar store isn’t a viable option for someone starting up.
E-Commerce Jewelry Store
On the other hand, the popularity of e-commerce has made it much easier for entrepreneurs to start up their own businesses, for jewelry or otherwise. You can sell your products from anywhere in the world through the Internet, reaching clients you couldn’t have accessed in a brick and mortar setup.
With an e-commerce store, the business owner has to concern themselves only with the production of items and shipping it to the customers.
There are essentially two kinds of e-commerce systems that you can use to start your jewelry business:
- Online Marketplaces
- E-Commerce Websites
We will look at each below and discuss their advantages and disadvantages.
One of the ways to open a jewelry business is to sign up with an online marketplace. These websites allow numerous entrepreneurs and merchants to sell their wares openly to any and all customers who visit their website.
Think of an online marketplace as a web version of a shopping mall—it’s an entity on its own, but it also houses several other stores within.
Some of the most popular online marketplaces include:
The exciting thing about online marketplaces is that they often focus on a niche segment, like Etsy, which focuses solely on hand-crafted or vintage products. So, if you are creating your own jewelry, Etsy would be a good place for you to sell your items.
Amazon, Craigslist, and eBay are more multi-purpose, so customers have to narrow down their search on these platforms if they are to find you.
For someone starting up their jewelry enterprise, here’s what you need to know about online marketplaces.
Advantages of Selling Jewelry on Online Marketplaces
An online marketplace that already has an established following can be a good place to start selling your wares—the more established a marketplace, the greater the trust it earns from consumers.
Customers know that once they make a purchase, their money will be processed correctly, and the item will be delivered to them. They will automatically want to use the service more, which increases your chances of being seen during the customer lifecycle.
That is why it isn’t surprising that the digital footprint of these platforms is very high. They are assured high web traffic, which means that your brand is more likely to be seen by your customers without you having to do too much legwork.
Online marketplaces also give you access to important analytics about your customers, as well as additional tools to manage your inventory, advertising, packing and shipping.
Though it all sounds positive, there are some drawbacks you need to be aware of.
Disadvantages of Using Online Marketplaces
One of the biggest draws of e-commerce marketplaces is also its greatest negative. There are millions of products being sold on these sites, and you are but one retailer among them. The newer you are, and the longer you take to become established, the more likely it is that the site’s algorithms will prioritize more profitable sellers over you.
If you want to turn a profit with your jewelry enterprise, you will have to join multiple platforms. Managing your inventory across so many sites can be a massive problem, especially if a few late shipments lead to you getting bad reviews.
Additionally, you don’t get to have a brand presence on these sites. You can have a store name but customers will only see your products in a list or grid of similar products they are searching for. There is no incentive for them to search for you, or even notice your business.
The lack of individuality on online marketplaces is major disadvantage in setting up your e-commerce store. You don’t want to be another brick in the wall, after all.
E-Commerce Platforms for Selling Jewelry
Unlike online marketplaces, where you are one seller among many, e-commerce platforms are online tools that allow you to create your own online store. This is achieved either through a platform’s content management system (CMS), or through plugins.
With an e-commerce CMS, you create an account with a website and set up your store. It tends to follow a very similar process to setting up a website on WordPress or Wix. You can choose a theme that matches your brand identity and simply follow the instructions to create your e-commerce store.
Plugins work slightly differently. You have to have set up a website already before you can access a plugin. Once you download the plugin, you can customize and create your e-commerce store.
Some of the most popular e-commerce platforms and plugins include:
As with online marketplaces, there are a number of advantages and disadvantages to creating your store on e-commerce platforms. Here are a few.
Advantages of Your Own E-Commerce Store
E-Commerce platforms allow you plenty of opportunities for personalization. Because you are building the store, instead of simply being hosted on another site, you can stamp your brand identity on the store and your product pages.
You also get access to numerous online tools from these platforms. There are several Shopify apps that will make the process of promoting, selling, taking care of inventory, and connecting with customers much easier and smoother.
Additionally, these platforms give you 24/7 customer service. Similarly to popular CMS platforms, you can chat with the site team and have your problems solved quickly and efficiently.
Despite these advantages, there are a couple of negatives you need to be aware of when setting up your jewelry business on an e-commerce platform.
Disadvantages of E-Commerce Platforms
A drawback of these platforms is that you need to pay a monthly charge to create your store. Additionally, any apps or third party software you need will also require you to pay. Of course, once you become profitable, these charges can be quickly absorbed.
You will also be responsible for the bulk of the promotion. That means creating social media posts, advertising, and other promotional activities. The e-commerce platform acts as your host, unless you enlist their apps and plugins for help.
Because you will be doing most of the promotion, you will need to have a handy amount of knowledge about search engine optimization (SEO). Great SEO tactics make it easier for your store to rank on Google, and for customers to find you, all without advertising. That is a new skill you will have to learn.
Online Marketplaces vs E-Commerce Platforms
So, which one is right for you: online marketplaces or e-commerce platforms? They both have their advantages and disadvantages, but it depends on what you want to do with your jewelry enterprise in the long run.
If you are selling jewelry as a hobby, the online marketplace is perfect for you. There’s little work involved—you can put your products on the marketplace and let people find them when and if they can. If you make a sale, it’s a bonus. If you don’t, you aren’t hugely disadvantaged.
But if you want to establish a long-standing business, you need to be thinking more broadly. For one, you want to establish your brand—brand loyalty has been found to be worth 10 times more than a single purchase, according to the latest branding statistics. Not having branding is not an option for a business.
Though it can be challenging to get the word out about your product, e-commerce platforms put promotion in your hands, where it is safest. You know what your store is about, and the people you want to reach, and you can tailor your advertising accordingly. With an online marketplace, your product is going to be buried in a generic advertisement for the mega website.
Additionally, learning SEO may seem disconcerting, but it is important to learn new skills, and SEO is something that you can apply to various areas of your online life. SEO will help you build your brand the way you want to.
And, even though there is an added fee that you will incur with e-commerce platforms, nothing beats the service that they offer you. Plus, the tools you will have access to will help you grow your business over time.
It may be harder work to build your e-commerce store on a platform rather than selling your products on a marketplace, but that is the best option for you to eventually make a profit and become sustainable.
Start Your E-Commerce Store Today
The e-commerce environment has made it much easier for entrepreneurs to set up their businesses. With jewelry continuing to be a competitive field in the retail world, you need to think about how you want to place your business. Do you want to be a seller, or a business owner?
If it is the latter, you should look into starting your own e-commerce store using a platform that allows you to highlight your brand and gives you the autonomy you need to sell your products. With an ample number of choices available, you are sure to find one that suits you best. And before long, you will have a thriving jewelry business of your own.