How does a small business move from a traditional, brick-and-mortar store front to become a successful online retailer? The owners of a small jewelry store in Ohio were faced with exactly this question. They knew that their products appealed to a broad spectrum of women across the country, but their retail market was limited to the area immediately surrounding their store… as is the case for nearly all traditional retail outlets. So, they knew they needed to take their business online. But while they had an understanding of their current customer base, was this reflective of the larger market they wanted to attract? How do people shop for jewelry online? Clearly, it is different from the in-store experience, but in what important ways? What were the website features that attracted new customers, and made them want to return? There are many other online jewelry retailers out there… but what are they failing to deliver to their customers, and how can that shopping experience be improved?
These are the questions that Paradigm2 set out to answer, in a three-phase research program. First, we investigated syndicated research reports to gain a thorough understanding of the jewelry retail market, both online and through traditional storefronts. These insights were used to make informed hypotheses about market size and structure, shopper characteristics, pricing, and competitor positions. Then, we began an online survey, targeting the potential customer base for the new site. We learned about what features of existing sites were most valued, and where improvements needed to be made. With a thorough understanding of the unmet needs of this audience, Paradigm2 worked with the professionals at Adept Marketing to test a site design, name, logo, and website content. In a series of mini-groups conducted with a cross-section of the target market, we collected detailed feedback about everything from the color of the text on the website to the high-level benefits of shopping at a favorite site.
Armed with a thorough understanding of how their new, expanded customer base makes shopping and purchase decisions, a small jewelry business was now prepared to go global.