Valentine’s Day looks a little different this year. Restaurants remain closed or only partially opened for dine-in services around the world. Movie-going is still largely restricted to drive-in theaters and streaming from home. That hasn’t stopped couples from looking forward to their annual celebration of love.
“There remains a special significance around Valentine’s Day, and consumers are committed to celebrating friends and loved ones, even if that means having to alter those traditional holiday celebrations,” says National Retail Federation CEO Matthew Shay.
Over half of U.S. adults plan to celebrate Valentine’s Day this year and nearly three-quarters of consumers feel it is important to do so given the state of the pandemic. eCommerce is expected to be the most popular Valentine’s Day shopping destination, with a sharp rise in consumer interest across local small businesses and specialty stores.
Ahead of an unusual yet especially noteworthy Valentine’s Day, we take a look at the strategies jewelry brands are leveraging to help online shoppers find the perfect gift.
1. Shine bright like a diamond—from every angle
The beautiful intricacy of jewelry has to be seen to be believed. Websites often fall short of highlighting the spectacular details of precious stones and metals—it’s what makes window shopping on Rodeo Drive, Bond Street, or Via del Corso so alluring.
Today’s most innovative jewelry brands are leaping over this hurdle once and for all, adding virtual shopping to their eCommerce toolkit to give online shoppers the IRL experience. For Annoushka, that means showcasing the finest details from every angle through photo and video.
“Jewelry is very difficult to explain, particularly on a static website. Hero enables us to take the reverence out of jewelry—off the page and onto a real person,” explains Annoushka Ducas, Founder, Annoushka.
For gift-givers this Valentine’s Day, every angle of any piece of jewelry can be seen up close as if they were in-store.
2. An elevated shopping experience from discovery to checkout
Buying the right jewelry gift often comes down to the expertise of store teams. Simply put, a helpful and informative product expert can be the difference between buying an heirloom and a souvenir.
Annoushka takes the guesswork out of the gift-giving journey by placing product experts at the very beginning of the online shopping experience.
Front and center on the Annoushka homepage sits a banner that invites visitors to connect with a shopping assistant virtually. During store hours, online shoppers can speak to the team live. Online shoppers browsing outside of store hours receive a call back at a time that suits them best.
Once connected, store teams can personally recommend items that fit a customer’s taste and budget, sending photos and videos of how pieces look when worn. Customers looking for an even more personalized shopping journey can tap into live 1-on-1 video, ensuring a seamless experience from discovery to checkout.
Since launch, online customers have initiated thousands of virtual shopping sessions with Annoushka jewelry experts. There’s no doubt in the run up to this Valentine’s Day, even more will tap into the power of virtual shopping for professional gift guidance.
3. Curation meets education
Curation makes the process of finding the right gift that much easier. Education on top of curation takes it to the next level. Lightbox is taking this exact approach, pairing together a curated Valentine’s Day gift guide with in-store jewelry experts to answer any questions through text, chat, and video.
With Hero’s virtual shopping tools, Lightbox store teams provide insight on everything from color and clarity to carat weight and shape. In addition to addressing concerns about any watches featured in a curated gift guide, jewelry experts can suggest additional pieces off the back of items shoppers express interest in.
Balinese jewelry brand John Hardy has felt the impact of educating customers and tailoring product recommendations first hand. Customers shopping on the John Hardy website shop through Hero are up to 10x more likely to follow through with a purchase and spend approximately 44% more.
Beyond personalized recommendations, store teams can also let customers of any promotions or special deals running through the duration of Valentine’s Day, empowering shoppers to find the right gift at the best price.
4. From URL to IRL
Many customers start their shopping journey online before moving on to a boutique to complete the purchase. With the convenience of virtual shopping, in-store jewelry experts can help clients arrange a physical store visit at a time that suits them best.
“We’re delighted to see how many customers come in store after a conversation on Hero. Sometimes they come in to say ‘hi’ to the team member they spoke to and developed a relationship with,” comments Annoushka.
The result is a comprehensive shopping experience that transitions without interruption from URL to IRL, guided through the entire process by the same jewelry expert that fielded the first chat.
For customers that wish to give the purchase a bit more thought—or perhaps check in with their significant other—built-in clienteling allows store teams to keep the conversation going through text, email, and WhatsApp.
Whether the transaction is completed online or offline, innovative jewelry brands are leaning on robust virtual shopping tools to help shoppers find the perfect gift this Valentine’s Day.