For the jewelry lovers among us – or at least those who sell jewelry online – an interesting question to investigate is: what ecommerce platforms are the top jewelry brands using?
We did a review of the 30 of the top jewelry brands to see what platforms they’re using. Let’s look at the data and then analyze what’s interesting about it, and what we can learn from it.
Here are the brands and what platform each one is using:
|Monica Rich Kosann||Shopify|
|Roberto Coin||WooCommerce; PrestaShop|
|Tiffany & Co.||Custom|
|Van Cleef & Arpels||Custom|
And let’s look at the summary data:
This list is interesting in a few ways.
The first observation is that 10 of the 30 brands use Salesforce Commerce Cloud (formerly called “Demandware,” and, actually, Salesforce is attempting to rename it in slow-motion to “Salesforce B2C Commerce Cloud.”) While this is a strong majority of them, it’s much lower than most other industries we’ve examined, where about 50% of the top 30 sites use Salesforce Commerce Cloud.
Salesforce Commerce Cloud, as the platform of choice for high-end DTC retail ecommerce, is a natural choice for the jewelry industry. It is almost by definition a high-end industry. Salesforce Commerce Cloud – and I can’t get over still calling it “Demandware,” I’m such an old-timer! – is almost a perfect fit and size for the industry. With each purchase being both expensive and high-margin, the top brands have the budget to really invest in a first-rate ecommerce experience, and to optimize it for even more sales.
And optimize it Salesforce Commerce Cloud can do! Salesforce Commerce Cloud integrates in high-end marketing strategies – like multivariate testing – and allows for the creation of different user experiences based on almost any criteria: you can show visitors from Texas a red-themed site but those from Illinois a green-themed site. You can create complex sales flows and check-out flows. And so forth, and so forth. But it will, everything considered, cost you a pretty penny: worth it, but expensive.
So it makes sense that 1/3rd of the top jewelry brands have gone for SFCC. What’s surprising is that Magento is so close in second place, with top jewelry brands like Cartier using it. At 6 out of 10, it’s just an earshot away from SF Commerce Cloud. With brands like Cartier using Magento, the platform still has some prestigious, name-brand clients using it.
But the times, they are a changin’. Magento’s day in the sun was in the early 2010s, being free, the new kid on the block, powerful and less-bad-at-scaling than its competitors – it was the go-to platform. Magento hasn’t been able to keep up with the move to the cloud: too little, too late, and Adobe’s purchase is trying to revive a platform a bit too late in the game. My prediction would be that if we revisit this list in 5 years, Magento will be #3 or #4 on the list.
Another surprising fact about the list is the third place position was for custom installs, including such top-line jewelry brands like Tiffany and Van Cleef & Arpels. Custom ecommerce platforms were much more common in, well, the same era when Magento took off – precisely because there wasn’t a standard platform, until Magento, to standardize around.
So one explanation for why custom builds could be so popular in the jewelry ecommerce space is that there are just lots of brands that have been on platforms for years, and replatforming is very expensive and often for only secondary benefits (does a slightly faster site really make that much of a difference? And compare the cost of replatforming to, say, just getting more RAM and faster servers to speed it up? In an era where software developers are increasingly expensive and RAM and servers are increasingly cheap, that is often the right move!).
But there’s another explanation: the jewelry industry, being a broadly high-end space, may also have a preference for custom builds because it allows them to create custom, high-end experiences for their users. I’d actually discount that theory because, if that were the case, you would expect to see more headless platforms (like BigCommerce) in the space, because headless ecommerce systems like BigCommerce give you the power of the back-end being a scalable box while giving you full flexibility on the front-end. So I have to suggest and automatically un-suggest that option!
Another surprising detail in the data is the appearance of Prestashop. Prestashop was one of the very first ecommerce platforms, beloved in Europe for a few years. I even played with it a bit back when it was still known as phpOpenStore – now that is old-school!
Prestashop is an interesting choice for Roberto Coin. Roberto Coin, being both old-fashioned and European, it shouldn’t be surprising they’re using, well, an old-fashioned European brand.
But Prestashop is a bit too old and a bit too frail. Integration options and plugin/extension choices are severely limited. Fewer and fewer teams that specialize in it (“as the ones that do all retire… or pass away,” my dark sense of humor thinks.) Roberto Coin, if you’re reading this – you are perhaps the most in-need-of-a-replatform online brand I’ve found after doing dozens of these analyses across different industries.
In conclusion: lots of ecommerce platforms. Lots of high-end jewelry brands. Each platform has different strengths and benefits. Is the firepower of Salesforce Commerce Cloud worth the cost? Is Magento indeed as affordable once the total cost is taken into account? Is it that hard to build your own platform? There are lots of factors to consider–and if you want to brainstorm or discuss any, then just drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org and let’s have a call. I’ll make different recommendations depending on your unique suggestion, but I will tell you upfront: if you’re a new, clean upstart site, I’m not going to recommend Prestashop for you.