What is BaubleBar?
Fashion jewelry – a must have in any woman’s wardrobe. You can wear it as the final touch to a wedding ensemble or to add some visual interest to jeans and a comfy t-shirt; the point of it is to make a statement and take your outfit from great to spectacular! BaubleBar has been helping women since 2011 with their on-trend fashion jewelry needs and at affordable prices to boot. A strong and unique customer engagement strategy is pivotal for a strictly online store to thrive since they can’t deliver a tailored in store experience for their customers. The co-founders Amy Jain and Daniella Yacobovsky realized this early on. They knew that to create the customer base that they needed they would have to be highly data driven as well as provide a pleasurable and exclusive shopping experience.
Creating Customer Lifetime Value
The ultimate objective for BaubleBar is extending a customer’s lifetime value. Being an online vendor means that you will inevitably have lots of competition and possibly a lower sense of loyalty from customers due to a mass amount of other options. As buyers of fashion jewelry know, the product itself isn’t meant to last for 20 years and this is why having repeat customers and brand loyalty is imperative to BaubleBar. To keep customers happy and to simplify the shopping experience they offer free shipping and returns. As vice-president of digital marketing, Amy McDowell states “Experimenting with jewelry should be easy, so this is about reducing the risk for the customer. Sure it’s a short-term hit for us, but it encourages customers to experiment. We can then build that relationship over time.”
Another key to keeping customers happy in the fashion jewelry world is offering variety. Bauble bar is able to do this by quickly responding to trends in the latest styles through a dynamic, data-driven merchandising strategy. Email is the main means of personalizing the shopping experience for their customers right now but they are working on expanding with a mobile app. The sky is the limit as McDowell suggests “Email is the easy part – for example, we can identify if you like bracelets and personalise content to show more bracelets; or pierced versus clip on earrings. There’s so much information from a customer’s purchases and browsing behaviour, it’s a matter of time as to how much further we take that.”
Perks for Registered Customers
Every Monday and Friday BaubleBar marks down a piece of jewelry to the $10-20 price range and “hides” it somewhere on the website. They send out an email alerting registered customers with a clue they can use to find the discounted item – this promo is called the “buried bauble” and proved to be successful by bringing more customers to the site and increasing sales. While searching for the buried bauble returning customers bought other items as well. As Amy put it “It got people through the door and excited about our products and is one of our many engagement efforts”. As it stands 10 per cent of BaubleBar’s customers take part in the buried bauble promo and they have a 20 per cent higher lifetime order value than those not interacting with the program.
The SWAT Team
To simulate the face to face interaction that a customer would be provided with in-store, BaubleBar created a 15 person SWAT team. SWAT stands for “Service With Accessorizing Talent” and essentially it’s a video chat service for customers who would like the assistance of a stylist. By using a video chat company called Vee24, customers can access in-browser video chat assistance through a popup screen where they see their SWAT stylist and can take advantage of screen sharing, co-browsing and live zooming in on products. For example, if a customer wants to know which style of necklace would go with her dress, she can show the stylist the dress over video chat and the stylist can then show her multiple coordinating styles of jewelry.
This is proving to be very effective for the company as they have found that when a customer shops with a stylist on video chat they spend on average 300% more than those who do not use a stylist. Customers can also interact with the SWAT team in more traditional ways such as email, uploading pictures of outfits to accessorize and live chat without video. Not only are women taking advantage of the SWAT team but men as well – many ask for advice on which styles of jewelry to pick for their girlfriends and wives.
This isn’t the only creative spin that BaubleBar has put on their customers online shopping experience using technology – when the company hosted a sale of their sample jewelry at their New York headquarters, the stylists wore Google Glass so that their customers that couldn’t be there physically could still feel like a part of the experience. According to Nina Alexander-Hurst, Vice President of Customer Experience, a surprising 500 customers wanted to participate.
In the video below, Nina Alexander-Hurst accepts a Customer Engagement Award from Retail TouchPoints and chats about the concept of the SWAT team.
Lessons for Others
As an online retailer, BaubleBar is setting the bar high when it comes to customer engagement and they have excelled at differentiating themselves by providing a stellar shopping experience. They stand out because they make the experience for the customer as personal as they would like it to be, which is hard to come by in the online retail world. They have proven that a friendly face in an online environment can increase sales from new and existing customers. They have also found that a data-driven merchandising strategy is the best way for them to increase customer retention as well as increase sales. By understanding the shopping habits of their customers they are able to tailor their merchandise and experience to everyone on an individual level which keeps customers happy and coming back for more. With the future addition of their mobile app I’m sure they will be pleasing customers and growing a larger following far into the future with many lifetime buyers.
Industry: Fashion Jewelry
Name of Organization Contact: Amy Jain and Daniella Yacobovsky
Authored by: Lauren Harburn
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Cameron, N. (2015, January 23). How data is driving the customers of a lifetime for BaubleBar. Retrieved June 06, 2016, from http://www.cmo.com.au/article/564630/how-data-driving-customers-lifetime-baublebar/
Hauss, D. (2014, December 09). 13 Retailers Win 2014 Customer Engagement Awards. Retrieved June 06, 2016, from http://www.retailtouchpoints.com/features/awards/13-retailers-win-2014-customer-engagement-awards
Novellino, T. (2014, October 21). Jewelry startup BaubleBar’s stylist SWAT team kills it with video chat service. Retrieved June 05, 2016, from http://upstart.bizjournals.com/entrepreneurs/hot-shots/2014/10/21/baublebar-stylists-are-killing-it-with-video-chat.html?page=all