December 2, 2003, 12:00 AM

Flowers, Gifts and Jewelry:Taking the anxiety out of gift giving

(Page 2 of 4)

Diamond.com
Upscale and online

Talk about vertical integration: jewelry retailer Diamond.com draws a line of ownership that reaches back almost into the De Beers mines. In addition to a large stake under private ownership, Diamond.com’s parent company, Odimo Inc., is one-third owned by The Steinmetz Diamond Group, which cuts, polishes and distributes about 70% of the diamonds mined by De Beers.

That puts Diamond.com close to the nucleus of the diamond industry. And gives it ready access to a broad selection of GIA-certified diamonds—the only kind it sells—while leveraging the powerful marketing efforts of both Steinmetz and De Beers. That puts added sparkle on its own online efforts, says Michael Dell’Arciprete, chief marketing officer.

For example, Dell’Arciprete says, Diamond.com was among the first online jewelers to launch collateral developed by De Beers for its right-hand diamond campaign. “We had it up in mid-October, while most retailers didn’t launch it until November,” he says. The campaign, which encourages women to purchase their own diamonds in an empowerment theme, dovetails with Diamond.com’s marketing plans. Unlike online competitors that prioritize the male engagement ring customer in the hope he’ll return for subsequent gifts, or the woman buying on her own but at a lower price point, Diamond.com is after both. For men seeking an engagement ring, there’s help in designing a ring online; while women shopping on their own are encouraged to upgrade to fine jewelry.

In fact, 62% of Diamond.com’s customers are women. “We’ve drawn in the female customer with the right-hand diamond ring and a wider selection of fine jewelry and watches,” adds Dell’Arciprete. “Repeat purchase potential with women is much higher.”

A relative latecomer to the web, Diamond.com launched in 2000. It’s the cornerstone of a broader luxury brand on the web, with the addition in 2001 of WorldofWatches.com and the acquisition and relaunch of luxury retailer Ashford.com this year.

Diamond.com is using some of the new best practices common among e-retail’s leaders but not widely used in the luxury goods segment; such as directing shoppers who come to the site from a search term directly to the product page rather than to the home page. But the online retailer also knows when to stay with a traditional approach: for example, cross-sells, offered on 40% of products, are selected not by collaborative filtering technology but by merchandisers.

“They are trying to think about luxury products online in a way that will make sense for consumers,” says Jupiter research analyst Patti Freeman Evans.

Diamond.com
Date
2000
Unique Visitors (monthly)
1,400,000
Sales (annual)
$50,000,000
Site Design
in-house
CRM
in-house/@Once
Affiliate Management
BeFree
Fulfillment
in-house
Order Management
Ecometry/in-house
Web Analytics
Coremetrics
Payment Processor
Paymentech
Content Management
in-house
E-Mail Management
fill in at once
Site Search
Endeca
Search Engine Management
Performics

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Hallmark.com
A card-carrying flower site

With a powerful brand in gifts and greeting cards, Hallmark Cards Inc. decided a few years ago to add flowers to its retail mix. But selling perishable products in its national chain of Hallmark Gold Crown Stores—now numbering 4,300—didn’t make economic or logistical sense. “We felt that flowers made a lot of sense for us,” says Jay Dittmann, vice president of consumer one-to-one marketing for Hallmark.com. “But we also felt that if we’re going to be in the flower business, it would be easier in the direct business. Our ability to display products, explain features and promote our lines just works better online.”

The company introduced flowers to Hallmark.com in 2000, a year after the web site launched with cards and gifts. Hallmark is privately held and doesn’t release financial numbers, but Dittmann notes that cards, gifts and flowers sell well when offered in combinations. “We’ve had good success when adding gifts or cards to flower bouquets, and we’re looking to do more of that,” he says.

Neil Stern, a principal with retail consultants McMillan/Doolittle, says Hallmark has succeeded quickly in extending its brand to cover the floral market on the web. “Their brand extension into floral is a great example of what you can do online that you can’t easily do in stores,” he says.

It’s also an example of how a new venture backed by capital and a strong brand can do things right from the start, he adds. “They can be late to the game in selling flowers, and be a major player just because of who they are,” he says.

But Hallmark didn’t rely only on its brand, which has been around since the late founder Joyce C. Hall and his brothers began peddling postcards in Kansas City, Mo., in the early 1900s. Before going live with online floral sales, Hallmark established a distribution center in Memphis, creating a centrally located fulfillment and shipping center for overnight delivery throughout the U.S. of fresh-cut flowers sourced from South America, Europe and the U. S. Separate orders of gifts and cards are shipped from a network of other distribution centers. In addition, to satisfy requests for same-day delivery, Hallmark works with a network of florist partners.

It also offers a “Celebrations and Ideas” section to suggest cards and gifts for special occasions. And in a special service that helps keep traffic steady at its web site, it offers Hallmark e-cards at no charge. “The e-cards drive traffic to our site, and we use that traffic to promote our other products,” Dittmann says. m

Hallmark.com
Date
1996
Unique Visitors (monthly)
8,000,000
Site Design
in-house
CRM
in-house
Affiliate Management
LinkShare
Fulfillment
Yantra
Order Management
Yantra
Payment Processor
NA
Content Management
in-house
E-Mail Management
in-house
Site Search
NA
Search Engine Management
in-house

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