Future of Retail Jewelry: How Technology is Changing the Sector
Tiffany & Co has achieved one of the highest ethical and responsible sourcing rankings. It is boosting its brand image and endearing it to eco-conscious jewelry consumers. That means they will come first in the minds of potential consumers that care about business ethics.
The company indicates the geographical origin of the diamonds it sells. Also, it is committed to avoiding diamonds without ethical sourcing. Other brands have taken a more in-depth approach through blockchain provenance systems. For example, Everledger is offering commercial diamond supply chain transparency.
Consumers are concerned if your jewelry production affects workers’ rights and the plane. It means provenance systems will become common to convince customers that you’re ethical.
But ethical sourcing is just one of the aspects of the jewelry retail sector being disrupted by technology. Others include:
- Jewelry origin tracking systems
- Augmented Reality (AR) try-ons
- Advanced customization at scale using 3D printing
- Social media marketing
Let’s dive in.
1. Sustainable Jewelry Production
Industrial mining for jewelry minerals like gold, diamond, etc., affects the environment. Some of the effects include:
- Land erosion
- Leakages of harmful chemicals used in processing the minerals. The chemicals leak into water bodies around the mining communities.
- The digging and moving of large chunks of soil to get some of the minerals involves heavy machinery that uses fossil fuels adding to carbon emission
In short, industrial mining affects virtually every aspect of the process’s ecosystem.
New production methods in the diamond sector offer sustainable alternatives. The crystal vapor deposition (CVD) method creates high-quality lab-grown diamonds. It mimics the natural diamond-making process in the lab.
The process produces diamonds like natural diamonds. They are hard to differentiate using naked eyes. The result is high-quality loose lab grown diamonds customizable to your preferred jewelry design. And the cost is relatively cheaper per carat than natural diamonds. Also, it uses less energy and water and hence has a little environmental impact.
There are efforts to replicate the same for gold and some significant minerals. But, so far, diamond is the leading innovative lab-production technique to offer sustainable jewelry production.
2. Jewelry Origin Tracking System Using Blockchain for Ethical Sourcing
Apart from the environmental concerns, industrial jewelry mining is tarnished by human rights abuse in mining camps and child labor. Conflicts are also a longstanding concern in major mining communities like DR Congo, Venezuela, Sierra Leone, and others.
So, on top of environmental impact, the jewelry supply chain is opaque. The opaqueness means that whatever you buy may indirectly contribute to child labor, inhuman working conditions, or deadly conflicts in rebel-controlled mines.
Most firms resort to blockchain-based source tracking systems to enhance supply chain transparency. Consumers can therefore get a complete history of a jewelry product, from raw materials to the final product, to ensure they’re buying ethical products.
Everledger is one of the leading blockchain provenance systems. Debeers has also launched its Tracr platform, which offers tamper-proof assurance documentation at scale for jewelry products. The technology will get more recognition and adoption as more retail firms embrace it, even in the FMCG sector.
3. AR Try-On for Better Customer Experience Before Purchases
Augmented reality (AR) empowering try-on service allows customers to test products virtually to determine the look, feel, and fit before making a purchase. Most luxury brands like Sephora and Gucci use AR try-on service as part of their customer experience strategy.
As augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) technology advances, more adoption will increase in the future. In the jewelry sector, one needs to ensure what they are buying is appealing and fits their fingers, wrist, or wherever they will rock them on.
If you own an online jewelry store, consider using AR try-on service to enhance the customer experience. You can try MirrAR and other AR try-on providers to check the best fit for your store.
4. Advanced Jewelry Customization Using 3D and CAD
Initially, manufacturing products, including jewelry, depended on hand-crafted techniques or 2D templates. It made customization tedious and a true luxury to a few.
Now, there is 3D printing combined with a computer-aided design (CAD) that allows you to check various options of the virtual product before production. So, a customer can try multiple designs and styles and decide on the perfect one for them before allowing your jeweler to make it.
That means large-scale customization is possible at scale, and luxury will become a norm. As a jeweler, you will have to collaborate with the customer at every stage of the process to ensure the finished jewelry piece you offer is what they need and desire.
5. Social Media and Online Marketing
The shift to online from physical is not stopping any time soon. In fact, it is going towards mobile as there are more than 4.5 billion social media users, and more than half of internet traffic comes from mobile devices.
The best customer service should move where the customer is. That is why the omnichannel marketing strategy is gaining traction. Most importantly, social media is an excellent goldmine for raising brand awareness, marketing, and conducting business intelligence.
For example, you can create viral content on TikTok or Instant Reels to expand your reach and brand awareness. Similarly, post any sales offers and discounts, like during holidays. Whatever campaigns you run on your social media, try to attract traffic to your website to help nurture them into leads.
So, online marketing is here to stay as our lives become more dependent on the internet. So, use it to your advantage and leverage your jewelry brand.
Get Ready for Disruption and Stay Ahead
Technology is changing retail jewelry, and you better get ready before you’re disrupted or get left behind. Most emerging technology aims to improve sustainability, customer experience, and enhance supply chain transparency, brand awareness, and sales.
The technologies highlighted above show you where you should focus as a jeweler. It will help endear your brand to potential customers and think of you first whenever they want to buy a piece of jewelry. Most importantly, it will help you from being disrupted negatively by technology.