Astley Clarke: A Case Study in Personalization Marketing
It wasn’t supposed to happen overnight, but somehow it did. In 2014, after five years of successful online and physical retail sales and being spotted adorning such style icons as Sienna Miller, Amanda Seyfried and Cameron Diaz, Astley Clarke—the British based luxury jeweller launched in 2006 by its namesake. Bec Astley Clarke—made the leap from being a retailer to a brand name themselves, exclusively distributing only jewelry designed in its main London studio, signing global distribution rights to luxury giants such as Saks Fifth Avenue, Neiman Marcus and Nordstrom. Even more intriguing was their 2011 collection of personalizable stacks of rings of over 70 varying gems, sizes and colors, all leading up to the memorable slogan: “The Stack is Back.” It was the beginning of a shift towards customization in design for the jewelry industry; and a shift in the very marketing ethos for the now well-saturated jeweler.
Personalization Marketing and Conversion
According to a 2014 study by Yahoo, some 78 percent of consumers surveyed indicated they were not only aware of online personalization marketing attempts, but viewed it in an overwhelmingly positive manner, with customers on a whole being much more apt to engage with customizable and tailor-made shopping experiences. So how did the British-based luxury jeweler adapt this philosophy to marketing?
Using a cloud-based CRM application known as SmartFocus (™), Astley Clarke was able to usereal-time predictive visitor algorithms and their own tastefully curated content to provide an intelligent search and personalized online shopping experience that was as customizable, unique and engaging as their product line.
The result, according to company CRM manager Matthew Finn, was a 60 percent uplift in online conversion rates, and 6 percent overall sales occurring from personalized recommendations in just one year since the adoption of personalized marketing—or what SmartFocus (™) refers to as ‘suggestion choreography.’ This, combined with Astley Clarke’s minimalist approach to image presentation and marketing focus on shared experiences, has helped create the reputation of the brand as having a more “heart and soul” approach to the luxury retail experience.
It hasn’t been an easy shift, however. Algorithms are never an infallible entity, and even Finn has admitted that success rates come with their own unique drawbacks for any growing company, noting that Astley Clarke’s product line is now too large to allow for optimal manual delivery of personalization efforts.
But at the end of the day, brand loyalty and reputation is as much about fluid engagement with a customer base. And with as unique an approach to marketing, social media and online sales as their approach to product design, Astley Clarke cannot help but be anything more than a new breed of luxury retailers—elegant, inventive and personable.
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