Why direct-to-consumer jewelry brands are opening stores

The traditional image of a jewelry store may be that of Cartier on the Champs-Élysées in Paris or Tiffany on 5th Avenue in New York, but today direct selling brands are reinventing jewelry. There has been an influx of jewelry brands aiming to provide traditional jeweler quality products, like real gold and diamonds, but at a more affordable price and with sustainable practices. And as a result, their stores are less traditional and more omnichannel-focused.

Despite the influx of e-commerce, physical jewelry store sales in the United States totaled $33.2 billion in 2020, according to the United States Census Bureau, up 25% over the last decade. And while 2021 sales are not yet available, they were up in the first two months of 2021, up 24% from the first two months of 2020. Additionally, in a 2021 McKinsey report, State of Fashion: Watches and Jewelry, the company estimated that global sales would grow from 13% to $280 billion to 18% to 21% to $340 to $360 billion of the total global market by 2025, about 80% of these sales still coming from stores. Therefore, the data indicates a continued strong physical presence for the sector.

An omnichannel strategy is key to the success of DTC jewelers

Brilliant Earth, an ethically-sourced jeweler that even sells lab-grown diamonds, went public last year for $12 a share and a market cap of more than $1 billion. It currently has 15 locations nationwide, with more on the way. He’s a strong proponent of omnichannel strategy, with Kathryn Money, senior vice president of merchandising and retail expansion, saying, “We know our e-commerce and retail showrooms retail complement each other. This consistent and powerful synergy between our stores and e-commerce reinforces our belief in our omnichannel strategy.”

Mejuri, a Canadian-based brand built around the idea of ​​”fine jewelry for myself”, has grown over the years and now has eight locations in the United States and Canada. Gorjana, a similar US-based jeweler, has over 25 locations across the United States. And most recently, Aurate, a New York-based sustainable jewelry brand, re-entered physical retail in partnership with third-party retailer Leap, introducing two new storefronts on New York’s Upper East Side and San Francisco.

Unlike other DTC brands and jewelers, Aurate opened a store when it launched in 2013. foreseeable future,” shared co-CEOs Sophie Kahn and Bouchra Ezzahraoui.

Store design shapes customer experience and brand relationship

Customer interactions with jewelry vary widely from garment to garment, justifying a different store layout and design. “We’ve come a long way since our first ‘store’ where we displayed our pieces on a folding table during our pop-up in SoHo in 2013. When it comes to design, it’s important for us to have interesting ways to showcase jewelry that catches the eye and makes the pieces stand out while being careful not to overpower any of the pieces, especially some of our more delicate collections,” Kahn and Ezzahraoui said. “Our stores are more like a sort of art gallery and truly tell the story of the brand, from sustainable sourcing, to craftsmanship, to our customers wearing it IRL in real life.” Aurate has created stores that move away of standard design and fit his brand’s “mantra” as a jeweler disrupting the traditional fine jewelry industry.

Meanwhile, Brilliant Earth’s latest stores, also known as showrooms, including Seattle and Austin, have been designed with an expanded browsing and retail area for walk-in customers. Additionally, the company focuses on one-on-one interaction with customers, offering one-on-one consultations and education on types of metals, stones, and styles.

Many DTC brands have sought to redefine the in-store experience. For example, Bonobos, a menswear company, reinvented the clothing store experience by calling them guides, a sort of showroom where customers can find their fit and have products shipped to them. their door. Similarly, Everlane has designed its stores sustainably to align with its brand values. And one of the most memorable reinventions was Apple’s store, which revolutionized the electronics shopping experience with a focus on customer experience.

It’s clear that the future of DTC is omnichannel, and the jewelry industry is no different. Some would say it’s even more relevant. The ability of customers to interact with jewelry, a product that for the most part has value beyond its price, is critical to a brand’s longevity. And thoughtfully designed stores are the perfect way to deliver that experience.