Brilliant Earth

Powerful Personalization Helps Jeweler Ring in Revenue

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The Goal

  • Grow long-term loyalty.
  • Keep customers engaged through a long sales cycle.
  • Expand into other jewelry lines.

The Approach

  • Automate the right message at the right time.
  • Personalize emails based on past purchase history.
  • Deploy cart recovery messaging.

The Result

  • Personalized emails are opened at much higher rates, and growth of new lines, such as vintage jewelry, are soaring.

Marketing engagement rings online might seem a bit of a tough sell, but when you’ve differentiated your jewelry with unique designs from sustainable, conflict-free sources, it gives you an edge.

Once you’ve sold the ring, though, how do you turn those socially-conscious, newly-engaged couples into lifetime customers? For Brilliant Earth, personalization made all the difference.

Since transitioning to Bronto, email volume for the San Francisco-based company has grown more than 850%, transactions are up more than 440% and “our email-generated revenue has shot up more than 575%,’’ says Kristina Simonsen, marketing manager.

An Engagement Sparks a Business

Brilliant Earth was born of a quandary. When co-founder Beth Gerstein was about to be engaged, she and her fiancé, Alex, had a tough time finding a conflict-free engagement ring that reflected their values. Gerstein’s Stanford University classmate, Eric Grossberg, had researched the topic and was convinced that responsibly sourced jewelry could be an impetus for social change in developing countries. The two opened the online jewelry store in 2005.

Today, the company sells both online and through appointment-only showrooms in San Francisco, Los Angeles and Boston. It offers a wide range of ethically sourced jewelry, including engagement rings, wedding bands and vintage jewelry.

To continue to grow the business, the company realized it needed to take a more personalized approach, particularly with their email marketing. Engagement rings, for instance, have a long sales cycle. “Some couples know exactly what they want and convert within a week or two. Others do a lot of browsing and communicating with customer support, and might convert three months later,’’ Simonsen says. “It’s crucial during those longer sales cycles to make sure we’re targeting them throughout their decision-making process.” That means sending the right messages at the right time to nudge shoppers to buy.

Gaining Customers for a Lifetime

No matter what a customer buys, Simonsen wants them to receive personalized recommendations that complement the items they’ve purchased and encourage them to become lifetime customers. “Emails with personalized offers are opened at an 85% higher rate, with 100% more customers clicking through than non-personalized emails,” Simonsen says.

“Our email-generated revenue has shot up more than 575%.”

This approach has helped the company grow its wedding, anniversary and vintage product lines. The vintage jewelry category, in particular, benefits from this approach as new products arrive as often as weekly.

“By being able to segment so easily, email traffic to our vintage category has increased over 500% and has really helped us grow that category,” Simonsen said.

Flexibility That Helps Cultivate Sales

Given that buying an engagement ring typically involves a lot of time and research, Simonsen wasn’t certain how successful abandoned cart messaging would be. But she gave it a try, building out an abandoned cart workflow within Bronto. She chose to wait 24 hours before the first message was sent. Why wait a day? “We know customers sometimes need time to mull it over.” It worked. The messages are opened at a 145% higher rate than typical messages. And sales have followed.

Simonsen has also taken multiple approaches to not just grow the subscriber list, but maintain it through smart sending practices. Her efforts are aided by new Bronto workflows that she says make it extremely easy to send a welcome series to introduce the brand and send geo-targeted emails to subscribers in markets where Brilliant Earth has showrooms. People living near Los Angeles, San Francisco and Boston receive email invitations to schedule an appointment at one of their physical storefronts.

“Bronto customer service and account support have been fantastic.”

Throughout the two years she’s been building the email program at Brilliant Earth, Simonsen has been thrilled with the help she’s received. “Bronto customer service and account support have been fantastic. I must have spoken with every single person on the support team through live chat. Every person I talk to is so friendly and willing to help.”

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About Brilliant Earth

Brilliant Earth was co-founded by Beth Gerstein and Eric Grossberg, who met at Stanford University. When Gerstein was about to be engaged, she experienced firsthand, with her fiancé Alex Sutton, the challenge of finding a conflict free engagement ring that represented her values. Grossberg, through his research at Stanford, became impassioned with the idea that responsibly-sourced jewelry could be an effective tool for social change in developing countries. Together, Gerstein and Grossberg founded Brilliant Earth in 2005.

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