The new RBR website will have several new features that will add to the company's competitive advantage in online diamond retailing. Some of these features, such as "Design Your Own Ring" and "Live Online Sales Assistance," have already been implemented by other players in the marketplace.
New features of RBR website will include:
"Design Your Own Ring," utilizing Macromedia Flash that will enable customers to view their ring setting with their own selection of diamond shape.
"Live Online Sales Assistance," that will be available from 8AM to 8PM Pacific Standard Time.
"3-D Interactive," utilizing Macromedia Flash, so that customers can view 360 degrees of the selected ring.
6.1 Website Marketing Strategy
Optimizing our Search Results
This process refers to optimizing RBR's website by including the frequent use of keywords from customers going to search engines looking for diamonds, such as "diamonds," "diamond," and "wholesale diamonds" into its Web pages. Optimization is currently handled by an organization called WebMama.com. IT personnel at WebMama.com puts the use of words in a fashion where search engines pick them up. This all being done in text rather than in pdf format as the spiders and callers only work in text environment. Another way to position the website is by optimizing the meta-text, which means the back-end of the website, where it tells the search engine about the presence of RBR's website.
The concept of web optimization is quite simple, knowing that search engines' spiders would not go as far as two levels in delivering the websites to Internet users. Note that flash pages are not friendly to the spiders, so it is advisable not to put flashy pages on the first two levels. There are doors to get in every website from the search engines, which in the case of RBR, it uses four doors. In order to optimize RBR’s doors with the search engines portals, we use strategy that is derived from the common customers' habit if they were looking for diamonds online. For instance, customers will use the four C’s to educate themselves about the diamonds they are going to buy, and RBR provides the four C’s information in the first level of its website to get customers learning about the four C’s from RBR.
Currently the Web positioning strategy is more than adequate to put RBR among other competitors. Although it is in Yahoo's 19th rank when customers type keyword "diamonds," it still visible for them to view the website.
Now, with the optimized keywords and meta-texts in position, RBR needs to do one final step, posting the site for search engines.
Current posting on Yahoo! indicates sponsorship under the word "wholesale diamonds" and "engagement diamonds," but not under single keywords"diamonds" or "diamond," which is not posing a problem as long as the optimization process keeps up with the fast pace in the changing trend of the Internet.
Although Yahoo! and Google are the most used search engines in the world today, my recommendation in this part is to post RBR's website under Shop@AOL, for the reason that AOL is the biggest online community where its users listen for virtual "word of mouth" with other chatters or members. As Blue Nile and Diamond.com are already in sponsorship with AOL, along with Macy's and Ice.com that are now expanding to the upper echelon of loose diamond retail, RBR should establish a connection with AOL to increase its competitiveness in the industry.
6.2 Development Requirements
In developing this high-tech website, RBR will utilize mainly Macromedia Flash software, as well as open source software to achieve cost efficiency in this area. RBR's IT Manager will be responsible in the development of both front-end and back-end of the website. RBR's in-house programmer will be responsible to create the program that will enable these new features, while for data entry, image cropping, and simple programming, RBR will use temp workers to help minimize the budget. Temp workers will also be contracted on an as-needed basis in the maintenance and update of the website.