A diamond jewellery manufacturer called Navgrahaa Jewels observed that jewellery shoppers in the United Kingdom had almost no options, besides physically traveling to Hatton Garden. Sensing an ecommerce opportunity, the company launched an online store branded as Diamonds Factory. With in-house manufacturing in India and significant shortening of the traditional supply chain, they started offering a “lowest price guarantee” in the UK and quickly became popular. I was hired in 2012 to help them grow online sales.
Conversion Optimization and UX Overhaul
I inherited a website built on ASP.NET, which used Flash to display 360-degree animations of the products. In terms of design, most pages were cluttered with glossy, three-dimensional elements. I initiated a facelift for the website using an aesthetic flat UI and discontinued the use of obsolete technologies.
In parallel, I started implementing CRO best practices to improve the conversion rate and introduced tactical upselling and cross-selling on the website. Simple changes like adding a guest checkout option, reduced cart abandonment from 87% to under 40%, improving overall sales with the same inflow of website traffic.
Another major project was revamping the product customization journey. The website offered a unidirectional wizard for customers to “build their own engagement rings” by choosing a diamond (specific carat, cut, colour and clarity), followed by picking a metal (platinum, palladium or choice of gold) and finally selecting the design of the setting to build the ring.
I transformed this to an intuitive digital experience by allowing users the freedom to start their journey with the diamond, metal or setting design, and dynamically customize every aspect of the ring with real-time previews. This improvement led to a spike in orders for customized rings and it soon accounted for over 60% of the total online sales.
We also experimented with augmented reality, enabling experiences like previewing a pendant on your own neck before placing the order, but very few customers used it in 2012.
Diversification of Traffic Sources
When I joined, Diamonds Factory had a 100% dependence on Google Ads, or AdWords as it was called at that time. Paid Search campaigns drove all traffic and hence, sales. The SEO agency was using black-hat techniques to create ranking illusions and (obviously) could not deliver conversions.
I led the marketing diversification starting with Product Listing Ads and then launched the social media presence, creating product-centric campaigns to bring intent-heavy traffic. Orders even started originating as comments or DMs on Facebook and Pinterest.
In parallel, SEO was transitioned in-house for better control, and organic traffic replaced SERP rankings as the KPI. I experimented with email marketing using sweepstakes to build mailing lists, but it was not very effective. I initiated affiliate programs by incentivizing publishers with commissions on sale and this worked really well. In 6 months, the dependence on AdWords reduced and almost 30% sales started coming from new marketing sources.
Expansion to More Countries
Armed with a high-converting website and diversified marketing sources, we saw a business case for geographic expansion. Starting with Ireland, Diamonds Factory soon expanded to other European countries like France and Germany, localizing customer support and translating website content.
We piloted India under the brand name Style My Diamonds, but realized that our catalogue was missing Indian ethnic designs, especially bridal jewellery. We decided to shut it down and had a successful USA launch instead. The sales were so encouraging that Diamonds Factory opened a physical store in New York.