web development

DEVELOPING A WEBSITE FOR AN INDEPENDENT JEWELER – THE STEPS

As we enter the second decade of the 21st Century, the importance of a state of the art, highly interactive website to the independent jeweler cannot be overstated. The years of jewelers creating a website as an afterthought to their Brick and Mortar business have come to an end. Jewelers have realized that they must now be a Brick and Mortar and Click! Business if they expect to continue to be successful in the years to come.

Do you realize that your website has already become the single most important marketing channel for your store? In the past, Print, Radio and in some cases television were your main avenues of marketing. The internet has now become the replacement for all three of those traditional mediums (Yes, people are now getting their television online too!). Everyone is now at least looking at you online, they may not be buying online, but they are most certainly looking and shopping on your site and all of the rest of the websites in at least your local market if not even further out. If your current website is not the most important marketing tool you utilize in your business, then now is the time to change that!

For over sixteen years now GemFind has provided state of the art technology solutions to independent jewelers like you. GemFind is a technology company, but we only work with independent jewelers and jewelry manufacturers. Unlike other internet solutions out there that are either part of a large jewelry manufacturer or not focused on the jewelry industry alone, we at GemFind have only your best interests at heart. We understand the needs of the independent jeweler and the retail jewelry customer better than anyone else out there.

Developing a successful website and internet presence can be a complicated and lengthy process. It has to be well planned and executed because a bad website can actually hurt your business rather than help it.

Below are summarized the basic steps in designing and implementing a successful website for an independent jeweler. Rest assured that GemFind will be there to guide you at every point along this path to ensure that the web experience we create together will be the best possible reflection of your store, its image and reputation that you have worked so hard to build in your community.

1. The Analysis

The old saying goes that a journey of a thousand miles begins with that first step (or something close to that!). This first step is the key in determining the overall success of the final product. First you need to determine how much of your overall marketing budget you are going to spend on this, the most important piece, of your marketing plan. How much do you have to spend, and what goals can you achieve with that budget in mind. Next, who is your target customer? Are you a primarily bridal store? Are watches a big part of your overall business. Your website needs to be a reflection of your existing business strengths in order to enhance and improve on what you are already doing. If you sell bridal the most, then your website should reflect that, you should be showing a searchable loose diamond inventory. Do you sell and promote a house brand diamond first a foremost? Then you should include your house brand as part of your site. If you sell a large selection of watches in the store, then you should have a watch selection online as well. Next, what is your stores image in your community? Are you the Luxury destination? Then you will need to provide that same luxury experience online. If you are the Value leader in your area, then similarly, you can focus on that type of experience online. Now you should look at what types of online experiences your competitors are providing. You need to at least keep up with what the guy down the street is doing, and hopefully blow him or her away. Other decisions that need to be considered are: ecommerce, do you want to just show product online, or provide the ability to purchase online as well. Vendor managed inventories and your own inventory: do you want to show only a selection of the brands that you carry, with the data managed by the vendors themselves, or do you want to highlight your own “in stock” inventories or the “house brand”. These are all questions that need to be addressed in conjunction with your marketing firm and your technology provider (hopefully GemFind!) Meetings with the marketing firm or in house team. Research in the local market. Discussions with GemFind. Comparable Example sites, Model sites / etc.

Input

Interviews with the clients, mails and supporting docs by the client, Discussions Notes, Online chat, Model sites / applications etc.

Output

  1. Work plan
  2. Cost involved,
  3. Team requirements
  4. Supporting documents and
  5. the approval.

2. The Specification

A Preliminary specification is drawn based on the requirements analysis. The type of website to be developed: ecommerce or non-ecommerce, templated or custom. The specific modules to be included in the site are specified: Diamond Link, Bridal Link, Watch Link, Vendor Managed Inventories, in house inventories, and whatever else can be included based on the wish list and the budget. After reviewing and approving the preliminary specification document, a written proposal is prepared, outlining the scope of the project including responsibilities, timelines and costs.

Input

Reports from the analysis team.

Output

Complete requirement specifications to the individuals and the customer/customer’s representative.

3. Design and Development

Working from the completed project specification, work on the web site is begun. The layouts and navigation will be designed as a prototype. A website index is developed, showing each page of the site, and the navigation paths between those pages. Product categories are identified and created. Brand pages are developed for existing brands and integrated into the brands allowed online strategy. Some brands may use an imbedded site, others may allow you to create any experience you like. All of these pieces need to be worked out and an overall layout of the complete site is developed.

There can be a lot of suggestions and changes from you, the customer, at this point. All the changes to the basic navigation and category structure need to be finalized before moving into the coding phase.

Also during the design phase, the customer will develop the necessary data and images to incorporate their in house inventory and loose diamonds on the site, If this is part of the overall plan. This will also include providing access to the vendors that are going to supply product to your site. We will work with them to incorporate them into the GemFind exclusive vendor managed inventory system and make their products available to your site with no effort on your part what so ever.

Input

Reports from the analysis team.

Output

Complete requirement specifications to the individuals and the customer/customer’s representative.

4. Content Writing

This phase is where the customer will provide the content for the informational pages on the site. These will include the “About us” , “Contact Us”, any staff pages and other company stories/visions/histories that are to be included in the site. The customer will also provide any images of the store or staff that are to be used as well. In addition to the Company information, This is also where and education and industry content sections are to be developed. There are professional content developers who can write industry specific and relevant content for the site. While Content writing occurs at this point in the project, Content is also a critical component to the ongoing maintenance and updating of the site in step 8. Not only do staff changes and special holiday hours need to be updated on continuing basis, but industry content needs to be updated frequently to keep the site fresh as well. Your site needs to reflect each and every holiday and special in-store event as well. ongoing

Input

Designed template.

Output

Site with formatted content.

5. Coding

Now we take the site design with the formatted content and actually build it as a working website. Domains are created and moved. Databases are created and populated with vendor data and your in house data. The site is hosted. A fully functional website is created on a private domain that can then be test and configured in the next phase before going “Live” and replacing your existing site.

Input

The site with forms and the requirement specification.

Output

Database driven functions with the site, Coding documents.

6. Testing and Configuration

Websites need extensive testing, especially as the level of customization increases. Link testing, load testing, browser compatibility and integration with third party systems, whether they be merchant accounts or brand micro sites. These things are all tested at this point. This is also the point where the customer will configure all aspects of their site. These include creating users on the back-end, choosing vendors and selection products to be displayed. Setting pricing and minimum qualities of loose diamonds. The Configuration phase is where the customer really has to jump back in and take responsibly for getting their system ready to go LIVE.

After doing all the testing the site goes live by basically changing the private domain to the actual customer’s domain.  Then you are up!

Input

The site, Requirement specifications, supporting documents, technical specifications and technical documents.

Output

Completed application/site, testing reports, error logs, frequent interaction with the developers and designers.

7. Promotion and Marketing

These next two steps are really ongoing and should never really be thought of as completed. There is another famous saying out there, that says: “If you build it, they will come!” While that may hold true for corn field baseball parks, it is definitely not the case for websites. Building a fantastic website is only the beginning. Now you have to market it! This is really where the bulk of the money you invest in this area of marketing will go. There are many ways to promote your website and drive traffic to it, and then ultimately to your store. These include SEO, Cross marketing with other sites in your market, Banner ads and so on. The explanation of these methods is beyond the scope of this document. Luckily, GemFind is an expert in all of these things and many more. We will work closely with you to track your sites performance and apply the proper marketing tools to make it phenomenally successful!

Input

Site with content, Client mails mentioning the competitors.

Output

Site submission with necessary meta tag preparation

8. Maintenance & Updating

Web sites will need frequent updates to keep them fresh and timely. Your site should prominently reflect every major holiday and in store promotion that you have. A site that has frequent content updates not only tracks higher on search engines, but naturally attracts customers back to the site because they know they are going to experience something different the next time. You also need to start thinking of your web presence as an ongoing, evolving tool. Your site needs to grow in functionality over time in the same way that you need to offer your customers new and exciting styles of jewelry every year. Don’t just build it and leave it sit there to get stale. Build your site and constantly change and improve your site and you will see the rewards very quickly.

Input

Site/Application, content/functions to be updated, re-Analysis reports.

Output

Updated application, supporting documents to other life cycle steps and teams.

GemFind with over 16 years of experience with online marketing tools can help you along the way to create a successful site and help you to promote it. For more information about designing a new website, enhancing your current one, or incorporating some of the GemFind online tools, contact us using the button below.

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