In categories like flowers, gifts or jewelry, consumers don’t just want to make a purchase, they want to be wowed by the overall shopping experience. That’s why the retailers that make up the Internet Retailer Hot 100 list leverage the power of the web to allow consumers to craft their own jewelry, customize invitations, or simply engage with the brand where they’re already looking.
Online jewelry retailer James Allen seeks to capture the experience of working with a custom jeweler by allowing consumers to pick a diamond by weight, shape, color, clarity. Consumers can even use a virtual jeweler’s loupe to see the jewel’s fine details. The site also presents high-resolution 3-D images that enable the consumer to gauge what the item will look like in person.
WeddingPaperDivas similarly takes a virtual hands-on approach to helping consumers pick out and customize a wedding invitation. The site features a video that explains the design and purchasing process, as well as live chat. Brides-to-be can cull through the site’s options by color, theme or printing method. And they can even create a wedding web site that matches their invitation.
Another retailer taking the extra step is Hallmark Cards Inc. Not only does the site allow shoppers to customize and purchase birth announcements, invitations, or greeting cards, it also will place a stamp on the cards and drop them in the mail. And because many buyers of Hallmark greeting cards are not frequent visitors to the manufacturer’s web site, but do regularly visit Facebook, the greeting cards retailer sells directly on the social networking site.
By taking the extra step, these retailers stand out among flowers, gift and jewelry e-retailers.
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