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how much is a GOOD website worth?

danfitz36

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 12, 2011
Messages
25
I've been searching the web for an engagement ring and wedding band for the past month or so and i've come across hundreds of different websites. Many of them (WF, JA, GOG) seem to be working relatively well and with very few flaws. But the vast majority are just horrible to deal with. Search functions don't work properly, photos are non-existant, too small, or poorly done; and then there's the ooooold sites that are almost completely useless with browser incompatibility and formatting issues.

I'm wondering how much these companies with great websites really benefit and what would need to happen for the rest of the industry to catch up a little. I'm a web designer myself so i have a rooting interest in upgrades, but i'm wondering what non-designers think of the issue. i feel like service and quality obviously have to come first for a company, but there's no way GOG would be doing as well as they are without the huge web presence that they have. why aren't other jewelers trying to capitalize on a potentially giant, worldwide market?
 

ImpatientOne

Brilliant_Rock
Joined
Oct 19, 2006
Messages
1,394
In this day and age, most people tend to research big-ticket items online before purchasing. As a software designer by trade, I have to agree with you regarding the benefits of a well-designed Website. I often come across Website that have such crappy user interfaces that I wonder WTH the company is even thinking. IMHO, you're better off to have NO Website than a bad one that either doesn't work or is difficult to navigate!
 

rhr75

Rough_Rock
Joined
Jan 25, 2011
Messages
26
Probably because jewelers can make decent money selling EGL diamonds for "50% off" at the mall. Seriously, when dealing with internet shoppers 9 times out of 10 I bet they have to put up with people squeezing them on price, on top of the fact that margins don't seem to be terribly high. It's probably far easier and on average more profitable to deal with relatively uninformed consumers.

The websites that don't have pics is because they don't have the diamonds! They're just listing virtual inventory that you roll the dice if it's available. The great thing about JA, GOG, etc. is that they have in stock what they list. I was impressed, just putting a diamond in your shopping bag makes it unavailable on the JA site, their inventory control is that tight.

Now, the smart thing I see places like JA and GOG doing is leveraging the fact that they provide more information on a diamond (idealscope, hearts and arrows, etc) to be able to add a premium on diamonds. All things being equal, I'm quite sure people don't mind paying a few hundred more at their stores to get absolute certainty on performance and the "cost" for them to do this is fairly minimal once they've made the investment in inventory and equipment.
 

danfitz36

Rough_Rock
Joined
Apr 12, 2011
Messages
25
that's a good point about the mall jewelers keeping their customers uninformed. I'd really love to know what volume a site like JA gets vs a normal store in the diamond buildings (i'm in boston). i would think it would be worth some sort of investment for most of these B&Ms to have a decent web presence.

i realize stores can't have pictures for diamonds they don't own, but take a look at this ( http://www.billericajewelers.com/ ) for example (i hate to give these guys any traffic at all, but i can't imagine someone would want to buy after seeing that atrocity). why would anyone want to go into a store after seeing that?
 

denverappraiser

Ideal_Rock
Trade
Joined
Jul 21, 2004
Messages
8,792
Blue Nile reporteed $332M in gross revenue on their year ended 1/2/11. They're the biggest jewelry e-tailer by quite a bit. I mention them only because they are easy to get data about, not really as a typical example. The ones you've listed as good examples are ALL big operations with staffs of people who can do the upkeep. Obviously their sales figures are proprietary. A first class website is a huge chore, and that's the problem. In theory, there are no significant costs to being an Internet merchant and it's just all free information passing through the ether. In practice, the costs can be considerable both in direct terms and in the amount of labor required to keep everything running smoothly, to take all of those pictures, to respond to all of that email, etc. BN reports 191 employees and I would venture to guess that nearly all of those are in the area of direct support for the website (and most of the PS folks aren't especially impressed with them in terms of information support).

In the storefront world, a $5M store is doing pretty darned well and a $1M/year store is above average. A typical mall type store is in the $1-3M range.

Not everyone wants to be an e-tailer, nor would everyone be good at it. Google up 'discount certified diamonds' and you get something like 400,000 hits. Chances are good that you've heard of less than a dozen of them and those dozen work VERY hard at being on that list. There are some risks and some skills associated with it that are substantially different from the skillsets of most jewelers. On the other hand, a website these days is more important than the yellow pages as a way of getting customers so they HAVE to put one up or perish for lack of customers. That's just the reality of 2011.
 
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