November 21, 2009, 12:00 AM

Flowers / Gifts / Jewelry

Three retailers wow shoppers into buying


Flowers and gifts have been staples of e-commerce. They’re perfect products for online browsing and buying. Jewelry wasn’t at first considered to be an ideal candidate for selling online, but innovative e-retailers have found ways to make consumers comfortable with buying big-ticket jewels online.

To succeed in this category, a retailer has to present products in a very appealing fashion-these aren’t books or lawn chairs, but items that a buyer wants to wow recipients with. redesigned its site this year to pack even more wow in than they’ve had before. Larger images are driving more click-throughs and easier navigation is making shopping more intuitive, says Kevin Ranford, director of web marketing. also enhanced a tool this year called Find A Gift Fast. Shoppers enter the recipient’s ZIP code, select the occasion, select the date it should arrive, and click Go. The site presents a couple of pages of ideas, along with ways to narrow the choices. is smaller than giant, but it thinks big. It’s jumped into mobile commerce, blogging, video, RSS feeds, customer reviews, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, widgets-all with the goal of dazzling shoppers in a way that gets them to buy.

And online jeweler Goldspeed is pushing the envelope of a new trend: buying gold from consumers. The online jewelry retailer provides consumers with assurance that they’re being fairly treated by using Internet video to show Goldspeed staff opening a customer’s package of gold and weighing the contents., Delight and Goldspeed are three retailers that shine among flowers, gifts and jewelry retailers.
Flowers fast

The popular gifts retailer makes it easy to find the right gift quickly using a tool on the home page called Find A Gift Fast. All a shopper need do is enter the ZIP code to which the gift is going, select the occasion, select the date it should arrive, and click Go. The site presents a couple of pages of ideas, along with ways to narrow the choices by price, color, type of flower and other parameters. Enhancing this tool was just one part of a major site redesign this year. Larger images are driving more click-throughs, easier navigation is making shopping more intuitive, and simpler site search displays more relevant results, says Kevin Ranford, director of web marketing. And the retailer grew its business, launching sister site, which features gift baskets and other gift items.
How delightful is a smaller retailer ($1 million a year in sales) that thinks big. You name it, it’s got it: mobile commerce, a blog, video, RSS feed, customer reviews, Facebook page, Twitter presence, YouTube channel, widgets. And as of October, a sister site; well, actually a brother site: Why do so much? Because it pays off in customer engagement and sales. For example: “We’ve seen more sales coming directly from our Facebook fan page and our Twitter page, which cost us nada, than from ads we’ve run on Facebook,” says Lynda Keeler, president and co-founder. “As a retailer with big ambitions and a tiny budget, we are able to take advantage of our nimbleness and quickly use new ways and technsologies to introduce Delight to new customers and reconnect with current ones.”
Going for the gold

Gold, a Hot 100 pick last year for its photography and detailed product descriptions, is back this year because of an innovative add-on to its business: a gold-buying service that uses online video to assure sellers they’re getting a fair shake. Someone who wants to sell gold items, often jewelry, registers at and is sent a prepaid envelope. The consumer sends back the items in the envelope, which is insured and trackable. Goldspeed videos the package being opened, and the items being spread out and weighed. Goldspeed sends a check based on that day’s gold price. “We’ve made it as close as possible to actually being there,” says CEO Neil Kugelman. He says the e-retailer has handled millions of dollars worth of gold in the past year and licensed the process to other jewelers.

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