As 77 Diamonds celebrates 10 years in business this month, Professional Jeweller editor Stacey Hailes meets managing director Tobias Kormind and creative director David Allen to discuss what the next season holds for the online diamond jewellery retailer.
ondon-based jewellery retailer 77 Diamonds launched 10 years ago, arriving early to the online market with a strong platform and passion to provide a cutting-edge diamond service.
Over the past decade 77 Diamonds has gone from strength-to-strength, making its mark on the jewellery industry and proving time and time again that consumers are more than happy to buy diamonds online.
However, while the online store remains at the heart of the business, managing director, Tobias Kormind, and creative director, David Allen, believe in the importance of having both a bricks and clicks presence.
The company currently has one showroom in Hanover Square, London, and this space provides the perfect place for consumers to have a look at an item before committing to a purchase at the click of a button.
Kormind says it is vital to have a place customers can come and see the products. He explains: “A customer might buy two or three dresses online and try them on, but you wouldn’t buy two or three engagement rings and give them back. It doesn’t work.
“We definitely want to open up some more show rooms and bring that accessibility to people as well because I think there is still some hesitation.”
For 77 Diamonds showrooms are the modern versions of stores. While some customers may buy a piece from the showroom, the majority will simply come to look and learn, and then will go home and make the final purchase online where they initially saw the product.
“Many customers do the research, browse online, call up, email, ask all of the questions, and then just before the very end process they want to just take a look and then they are done, as opposed to those who may come in a few times before they purchase,” explains Allen. “Most customers are satisfied with the digital communication and everything else but because it is so highly sentimental they just like to see it once before they buy.”
Customers have been known to get a train from Manchester or Scotland, or even re-arrange business trips to fit in a visit to 77 Diamonds’ showroom and have a look in the flesh at items that have caught their eye online, just to put their mind and wallet at ease before handing over any money.
“We get guys come in on their lunch hour, have a final browse and then 24 hours later they will place an order online,” continues Allen. “Sometimes that extra little bit of personal meet and greet is all they need to assure them but most the time they will still make the final purchase online.”
The big digital focus for 77 Diamonds this year has been optimisation. The company has been throwing all its resources into creating a fully responsive website capable of handling the demands of the new generation of mobile savvy shoppers.
While the complexity of 77 Diamonds’ website meant this task took longer than the company would have liked, the results have made the wait worthwhile, with managing director Tobias Kormind pointing to a large spike in mobile sales since it went live.
“It has allowed us to open up to a mobile-first marketing strategy around Instagram and other social media channels, which has really helped us push branding across these platforms,” he says. “It has also allowed us to create more personal, individualised CRM campaigns, which has dramatically increased user engagement given that diamond jewellery purchases are so emotive and sentimental.”
Next in line for the company is a re brand of the website in order to make the brand coherent throughout all 77 Diamonds’ channels. This in turn should make sales run smoother throughout the busy Christmas shopping period.
“We are making the website a lot more organic for the Christmas rush, where people are checking things on their mobiles and then mainly purchasing them when they’ve got their desktop to hand,” says Allen. “The rebrand is just to make it all stream line, which I think will help the customer as well as the business.”
One of the questions 77 Diamonds has also been trying to tackle with its online presence is this — if a consumer stumbles across 77 Diamonds on the internet, why should they purchase from them?
One way the company will be answering this is by using customer reviews more effectively.
“An online review is something we really believe in because it is our customers advertising us,” explains Allen. “We’ve got so many good reviews from many customers that we have integrated the customer reviews to show what they are actually saying rather than just a ‘five star’ rating that doesn’t mean anything.”
He continues: “We want to use what our customers are saying about us so that other customers can believe it, whether it is down to the product or the service they received. It is about using that online asset to push the new revamped site. It is giving new customers validation in the website from the words of our customers.”
77 Diamonds has also been a lot more active on social media this year, making a conscious decision to share customer experiences. Again, getting the customer to effectively advertise the business.
It terms of engagement 77 Diamonds receives many likes and shares and comments on Facebook, but the thing that Kormind and Allen love most is getting tagged in a photo on Instagram. Allen explains that it is rewarding to see the end result after investing time in customer service and crafting the final creation.
While Pinterest is predominantly female orientated, and not necessarily 77 Diamonds’ main target audience, the referral from this social media platform to the businesses’ website is tens of thousands a month.
With excellent customer feedback, striking new products and strong sale figures, 77 Diamonds now has its eyes firmly on the future.
“The big challenge for us would be how do we move beyond where we are today?” explains Kormind. “We want to create a modern luxury powerhouse for jewellery but how do we do that? There are a lot of big steps that we now need to take in order to move the brand forward, to reach more people – to get women buying for themselves and to get the older generation gifting the younger generation – because I think the engagement ring market is something people associate us with but we do a lot of other jewellery too.”
77 Diamonds recently launched a capsule ‘Galaxy’ collection as part of its move towards making the brand more aspirational and to encourage women to purchase products for themselves or as a gift.
“That’s kind of our direction,” Kormind adds. “We are figuring it all out, it is something we don’t have any direct experience of but we are just making sure we stick to our roots, which is all about the quality of manufacture, and giving people the choice without the pressure of selling. It is our unique way of doing things.”
Education is also extremely important to 77 Diamonds and the company will soon be unveiling some innovative material around educating the end consumer.
Other plans for the future include making a bigger push into the international market. The company has been experimenting with this on an online basis for a long time and hopes to expand this area in the not too distant future.