• AR
  • Augmented Reality
  • Fashion
  • Jewelry
  • Mixed Reality
  • Virtual Reality

How to Reduce Returns in Jewelry E-commerce with Disruptive Technologies

Vahan Zakaryan
19 May 2022
6 min
How to Reduce Returns in Jewelry E-commerce with Disruptive Technologies

Product returns cause pain to any business whether we’re talking fashion retail or an online jewelry store. Although brands mostly incorporate this factor into their business operating models, losses linked to returns can be high, especially when customers experience an uncertainty about a product bought online.

This is why it’s important for businesses, including in the jewelry market, to think about how to handle returns in e-commerce and eventually reduce them. This is where technology-driven experiences and solutions enabled by augmented and virtual reality (AR and VR) come into play. 

Offering online shoppers digital tools such as virtual try-on or virtual ring sizing is set to revolutionize the jewelry e-commerce market through keeping customers both entertained and more confident about the product they choose.

In this blog post, I’ll share some of my thoughts about how to reduce returns in jewelry e-commerce by leveraging the power of disruptive technologies.

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    The problem with returns in the jewelry business

    The share of online jewelry sales in the global jewelry market is expected to increase by $19.88 bn from 2019 to 2024, progressing at a CAGR of over 15%, according to a market research report. 

    The general shift toward e-commerce after COVID-19 hit in 2019, as brick and mortar stores started shutting down across the globe, has coupled with the convenience of online shopping, and it’s safe to say that the global jewelry e-commerce market will keep growing.

    How to Reduce Returns in Jewelry E-commerce with Disruptive Technologies - photo 1

    However, higher online sales do entail some risks for jewelry brands. One of which is the high rate of returns. 

    Shopping online for a diamond ring or a bracelet can be a challenge, especially when the quality of the visuals of jewelry pieces on the website is poor or you are not sure about the ring finger size. 

    According to a jewelry market insider, businesses selling jewelry online have 15% of their rings returned for resizing. It’s a high margin, especially given that some rings can’t be resized. One in five rings sent for resizing needs to be redesigned. For instance, eternity rings with a continuous band of gemstones. Resizing such rings can damage the gemstones, so the returned ring must either be redesigned or a new ring made.

    How to Reduce Returns in Jewelry E-commerce with Disruptive Technologies - photo 2

    This is a common problem for jewelry brands growing online sales. However, resizing is not the only reason customers choose to return jewelry bought online.

    Key reasons driving jewelry e-commerce returns                                   

    Let’s take a look at a few of the main concerns that customers experience when shopping for jewelry online which can lead to product returns.

    Poor fit 

    As mentioned above, concerns about a perfect fit, especially when it’s a ring, are some of the most common. Have I measured my ring size correctly? Will it be a loose or a tight fit? What if the ring is too small/too big? These are typical questions that online shoppers ask when looking for jewelry online.

    Faults and imperfections

    Evaluating the quality of a jewelry piece when shopping online can also be a challenge. The delivered jewelry piece can have faults, such as cracks in the metal or gemstones that couldn’t be seen on the website visuals.

    Reality and online mismatch

    This factor is closely related to the previous one, as it mostly depends on the quality of the 3D renders of jewelry pieces available on the website or any other visuals that customers see during their online shopping experience. A close-to real-life experience requires high-quality rendering of jewelry pieces. A lack of this is one reason why customers are left disappointed with the product they ordered online, prompting them to make a return.

    The good news is that there are plenty of ways to address these concerns, including with technology-driven solutions.

    Best practices to handle e-commerce returns in the jewelry business

    Here are some of the approaches that well-known jewelry brands are using to elevate the online shopping experience and make sure that their customers are satisfied with the jewelry pieces they choose.

    Provide comprehensive sizing information

    Although this might sound obvious, you’ll be surprised how many people don’t know their ring finger size. Offering online shoppers detailed ring size guides and charts like Gucci does, for example, or special tools such as the Bvlgari ruler to determine a ring size can raise customer confidence and avoid unnecessary returns for resizing.

    Upgrade the digital presence of your jewelry brand

    3D visualization

    To take current visual options in jewelry e-commerce to another level, brands have turned to 3D technology. Popular CAD software like Rhinoceros 3D, 3ds Max, and Maya allow three-dimensional rendering of any piece of jewelry of high quality with a much higher level of detail. This type of software can create animations of 3D objects and customize textures enabling customers to see each tiny detail of a desired piece on the website and avoid disappointment after the purchase.

    How to Reduce Returns in Jewelry E-commerce with Disruptive Technologies - photo 3

    Some brands go even further by creating high-resolution videos showcasing their jewelry pieces online.

    3D configuration

    Another great option for jewelry stores is to offer customization of jewelry pieces. A 3D configuration allows for the modification of some product elements enabling customers to design a unique jewelry piece. We’re talking more than simply having names or dates engraved, but rather the freedom to design tailored jewelry online.

    How to Reduce Returns in Jewelry E-commerce with Disruptive Technologies - photo 4

    Leverage technology-driven solutions

    To gain a competitive edge, jewelry brands can leverage the power of AR and VR and offer online customers an immersive shopping experience with virtual try-on and sizing features. Both are poised to boost customer confidence about the jewelry pieces they choose.

    Virtual try-on 

    At Postindustria, we believe that it’s better to virtually try on a diamond ring once than see a thousand pictures of it. Virtual try-on allows customers to see 3D models of jewelry pieces in a realistic rendering. App users can interact with virtual copies of jewelry pieces by scaling or rotating them to see every tiny detail of the gemstones. All this is enabled by the complex ray-tracing technology and hand-tracking algorithms that are at the core of virtual try-on. It’s an excellent way to make sure that your customers get exactly what they need from the comfort of their homes.

    Virtual sizing tool 

    Another option for jewelry brands is to offer their online customers a virtual sizing tool. Determining a ring finger size virtually is much easier than measuring a finger with tape and then checking the measurements with a size chart. It’s a win-win for jewelry brands and for shoppers. This feature makes customers confident about their choice of ring and has the potential to reduce the chances of a return for resizing to near zero.                                                                                                     

    Elevate the online shopping experience with tech-driven tools

    Postindustria develops high-end virtual try-on and sizing tools for rings and bracelets. Our software engineers have harnessed years of experience in developing complex hand-tracking algorithms. If you are looking into elevating the online shopping experience for your customers, we are here to help. 

    Our experts can develop a full-featured mobile application for your jewelry brand with virtual try-on or simply integrate the feature into your existing app. 

    Don’t hesitate to book a strategy session with us to find out more about how technology-driven solutions can take your business to another level.

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