The way in which people shop is changing. Less and less of us are venturing out to shopping centres. Why? For a number of reasons. The internet is literally open all hours, and we have gravitated toward the shopping experience that promotes convenience. Products are available to buy at any hour of the day, from anywhere in the world, and the average shopper is benefitting from it.
Research has shown that online shopping sees a 30% rise between midnight and 6 am. Online channels are skyrocketing because of their accessibility, and they continue to grow year on year. Technology has revolutionised the retail realm, and jewellery designers, distributors and sellers have remodelled their stance too in order to remain competitive. But, how has the jewellery industry changed? And where will it be in 10 years time?
Technological advancements in the industry
The virtual shopping experience has embraced the positivity that social platforms bring to the retail arena. The average time people tend to spend on social media and messaging apps daily is around 2 and a half hours. That’s a significant amount of time, and this figure doesn’t even include the time spent online outside of social channels.
It is arguable that technology has given us the ability to exist in many places concurrently. We are on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, JewelStreet, Youtube, Pinterest and the list goes on. People are able to attend important life events without the stress of taking time out of their schedule to travel to the nearest available shop… to purchase an item that may or may not be available to them when they get there.
The jewellery industry is adapting and evolving. Behavioral analytics, 3D printing, 360-degree image capturing, geotargeting, computer-aided design and intelligent bots are becoming industry standard. Research has shown that 92% of shoppers say visuals influence their buying decision the most. Shoppers want more engaging visuals, and the jewellery industry is serving style and trendy aesthetics with some of the best product and lifestyle imagery around.
Investing in Artificial Intelligence means that the shopping experience is as personalised as it can be. Jewellers now cater their online platforms toward a bespoke shopping experience. This is an experience that prioritises products that align with shoppers browsing history, age, demographics, likes and dislikes. It makes shopping easy and efficient, personal and meaningful.
Online stores have the capacity to hold many more products than you would be able to see in the store in real life. Why go to the shops, when you could have hundreds, if not thousands of more options available to you online?
What can we expect the future of retail to look like?
The answer to this is variable. It’s hard to predict how technology will grow, extend and innovate the jewellery industry in the coming years. However, what we do know is that augmented reality will be rising to the forefront of online jewellery shopping.
We’ve all seen the recent assimilation of the snapshot dog filter seep into our culture. We’ve all seen the VR headsets enter the gaming world. We’ve all downloaded an app at some point that lets you virtually change your hair colour. It would be naive to ignore the growing importance and unquestionable need, of virtual reality in online shopping. It would allow shoppers to have a try-before-you-buy option, and would largely reduce return rates for retailers.
Speech activation is also a growing technology used for online searches. If you’ve spoken to Alexa more than a lot of your friends, then you’ll understand the ease and enjoyment of using voice activation. This is a technology that we predict will be more heavily incorporated within online shopping in the next 10 years or so.
For those of you who grew up in a generation where a Tweet meant the sound a bird made, then you may be feeling a little lost in the current technoscape. But the advancements in technology offer an easier pathway toward shopping, and you don’t necessarily have to be tech-savvy to benefit from them.