A Diamond Retailer Mines Online for Gold

They say that diamonds are a girl’s best friend, but online clicks are not always a diamond retailer’s best friend, especially in a highly competitive ecommerce market.

That’s why last fall Helzberg Diamonds tasked its digital agency, Rosetta, with finding a solution that could drive new business through the online channel during the critical holiday sales season from Nov. 1 to Dec. 25, which accounts for a large portion of its annual business.

Helzberg, which was founded in 1915 and is now owned by Berkshire Hathaway, has more than 230 brick-and-mortar stores and an ecommerce site at www.helzberg.com. The site, launched in 1996, has an average order size of over $200 and brings in more revenue than any single Helzberg location, according to Brittany Pazyniak, senior media associate at Rosetta. The agency handles SEO, search and display efforts for Helzberg.

Helzberg wanted to focus on finding in-market jewelry shoppers and get them to convert on its website. In order to do that, it needed to deliver highly personalized messaging based on where shoppers were in the purchase funnel – at the top or awareness stage, or further down into the consideration and intender categories.

The issue
In 2011, Helzberg faced a serious challenge: Brand awareness wasn’t as high as the company would like. On top of that, overall click-through rates were declining in the jewelry market. “As a result, Helzberg was struggling across all channels to reach a new and qualified audience,” Pazyniak said.

Given this situation, Rosetta developed a prospecting program for Helzberg to reach new buyers, especially those who only shopped for jewelry during the holidays. The goal was hitting year-over-year gains in site visits that would lead to increased sales. This required them to develop custom audiences based on online behavior, demographics and IP attributes.

The solution
Rosetta chose [x+1], which it had worked with in the past, over two other ad technology firms, because it was the only one of the three that could be “held to our 100% ROI goal” on the project, Pazyniak said. [x+1] Origin Analytics was used to determine whether consumers were in Helzberg’s target audience. It could then deliver real-time messages to that audience based on the segment and the shopper’s place in the purchase funnel.

In addition, [x+1]’s Funnel R/F provided Rosetta and Helzberg with a clear picture of the optimal frequency range for messages and how consumers were moving through the funnel. This included detailed reports on:

• How the overall media plan is performing at each funnel stage
• Diagnostics for optimizing the media plan at the strategy and partner levels
• Cross-channel impact between search and display
• Reach and frequency distribution by funnel stage

For Helzberg’s holiday campaign, Rosetta used two channels, search and display, with the media for the latter being served by both [x+1] and Yahoo! Right Media. On the search side, Rosetta employed both branded terms (Helzberg, Helzberg Diamonds, etc.) and generic (jewelry, diamonds, wedding rings, etc.).

Rosetta went through the three targeting phases defined by [x+1]: Find out who the consumer is, prospect this audience and use its Predictive Optimization Engine (POE) to build additional audiences. It then put these insights to work.

“For display, we had a variety of rotating, product-specific creative, which was optimized based on the performance across each channel,” Pazyniak said. The analytics allowed Rosetta to append unique parameters to its URLs and see the revenue impact [x+1] was driving. It could also track keywords in the funnel and in its paid search campaigns.

The results
Based on [x+1]’s analytics and optimization, Helzberg was able to serve a series of well-targeted ads at the appropriate places in the purchase funnel. One was a holiday ad headlined, “The Well-Stuffed Stocking.” Another featured a Godiva Chocolatier tie-in, and a Cyber Monday ad offered a free Amazon Kindle with a purchase of $499.99 or more. These were used interchangeably between the consideration and awareness phases. One dynamic ad, served during the intent stage, offered multiple products and prices.

Rosetta had one concern prior to launch: Would the new visitors produced by [x+1] be qualified? Attribution reporting showed that [x+1] reached a qualified audience and produced a significant return on retargeting. Overall site visits grew 330% year-over-year – with [x+1] responsible for 77% of this growth – while retargeting revenue increased 43% vs. 2010.

Rosetta places partners into one of three buckets: “The introducer” brings the consumer to Helzberg, “the influencer” persuades the shopper to convert, and “the closer” is the channel through which the sale is made.

“[x+1] was the strongest introducer of all our consideration and awareness vendors,” Pazyniak said. “The closest partner in terms of performance pulled in about half the attributed revenue. Moreover, [x+1] was the introducer in 35% of the total purchase paths in which display acted as the introducer. The next-closest partner to [x+1] only accounted for 15% of the total paths.”

Through the campaign, [x+1] also helped Helzberg capture a strong share of voice against competitors like Zale, ice.com and Blue Nile.

Based on this success, Rosetta extended [x+1] through Helzberg’s 2012 Valentine’s Day campaign, where it was again the leader, driving 30% of the total traffic, “and it was high quality,” Pazyniak says.
Rosetta now plans to introduce [x+1] to other clients. “They understand Helzberg’s objectives, and they’re proactive in bringing us new ideas that help drive the business forward,” she said.

Jess Beldner is Director, Strategic Agency Partnerships and Central Sales for [x+1]. She can be reached at jbeldner@xplusone.com.

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