Your next jewelry purchase may be a significant investment of money, but doesn’t have to require the significant effort of going to a store.
Luxury e-commerce startup Swoonery wants to revolutionize the luxury e-commerce sector, removing any obstacles that prevent people from purchasing fine jewelry online. It aggregates over 55 top international fine jewelry brands like Casato Roma and Jade Jagger on its platform, guiding users through an intuitive shopping experience powered by machine learning.
“Our aim is to transform the time-consuming real world experience of purchasing jewelry in-store into a simple, two-step process online,” said Jean Poh, founder and CEO of Swoonery.
While apparel and accessories have both been the biggest contributors to luxury e-commerce growth in recent years, selling accessories including fine jewelry online comes with its own set of challenges. Jewelry isn’t always easily discoverable on the Internet and it’s also hard to overcome sizing challenges while shopping online. Swoonery hopes to acquire customers and boost sales by addressing these problems.
The 4-month-old platform uses machine learning to pick up on each consumer’s individual aesthetic, recommending pieces based on their preferences and creating a personalized guided shopping experience for them. Visitors to the site can either fill out a questionnaire to receive recommendations based on their tastes, sync their Facebook profiles with the platform or start browsing straight away, which the algorithm will pick up. As they continue to browse, the recommendation algorithm learns and suggests items to shoppers based on their tastes.
“Our recommendation algorithm isn’t just based on search keywords,” said Poh. “That’s because you may be boho but still be looking for a classy neckpiece, so it won’t just stick to keywords in building your taste profile.”
The site also simplifies the process of gifting. It has a “vault” where shoppers can save items they like and share them with a select group of people, who can then purchase it for them. Swoonery is also developing software that will help people determine ring sizes based on a picture as well as an app that’s set to launch next month. The app will serve as a “window shopping” tool for consumers, before they take the plunge and make a purchase.
“Swoonery isn’t just another e-commerce site; we are solving real consumer problems, redefining the industry and how it operates and making it more relevant to today’s consumer,” said Poh.
E-commerce sales in the luxury industry are projected to double by 2020, growing from 6 percent to 12 percent of all sales, according to L2’s Watches & Jewelry: E-Commerce report from last month. With e-commerce jewelry sales specifically increasing by 11 percent in 2015, according to Euromonitor, more jewelry brands have been ramping up their e-commerce efforts. Tiffany & Co., for instance, used search-engine optimization to boost its presence on Google’s Product Listing Ads significantly — appearing on the first page of search results for more than 10 percent of jewelry keywords.
While Poh declined to give specifics, with a 55 percent repeat purchase rate, she said that Swoonery aims to expand its brand arsenal to 100 brands and reach $5 million in sales growth by the end of the year. It has had one round of capital investments with the second round underway, by investors including Carmen Busquets, which was also an early investor in Net-a-Porter. It is also planning an influencer campaign for Facebook and Instagram, timed with the launch of its apps next month.
“The luxury industry is on this tipping point and something is about to blow up,” said Poh. “Swoonery wants to be at the forefront of that by understanding customers on a personal level through tech and e-commerce.”