De Beers is expanding its presence in stores that carry the Forevermark brand and improving its omni-channel offering to capitalize on the recent growth in online diamond-jewelry sales.
“We must remain relevant to consumers and embrace the idea of everywhere commerce,” Charles Stanley, president of Forevermark’s US operations, said at the brand’s annual breakfast presentation at JCK Las Vegas (pictured).
The goal is for Forevermark to have a significant presence within its jewelers’ retail environments, a spokesperson explained. Its vision for the next five years is to roll out an in-store brand corner or a store-in-store zone at each of its retail partners, while jewelers will also have the option to operate as a standalone Forevermark boutique, Stanley said.
The majority of Forevermark jewelers currently carry the brand in display cases, while the company has introduced the new brand zones at select locations. It opened its first concept store in China in May.
Retailers will be able to use the De Beers logo in branding the store under the new concept, Stanley revealed.
In the shorter term, Forevermark is revamping its omni-channel capabilities, aiming to boost online sales and complement its new store concept.
Online purchases currently account for about 21% of all US diamond-jewelry sales, up from 14% in 2015, Stanley noted, citing De Beers research. Growth was driven by an increase in the average amount spent from $1,100 to $1,800 during that period, he added.
There was a significant rise in online sales from brick-and-mortar jewelers embracing omni-channel, whereas sales stagnated at pure diamond jewelry e-commerce businesses, Stanley noted. Independent jewelers have also lagged in this area, since they don’t have the scale to develop effective strategies, he added.
Forevermark’s renewed strategy includes improving its current online offering with new options for consumers to book appointments with a retail partner, or have a “live chat” with a Forevermark representative. That’s designed to improve the online experience and drive traffic to its store locator, Stanley explained.
The company is also giving consumers the opportunity to purchase Forevermark jewelry on its website, with proceeds going to the nearest retail partner. It will be piloting the e-commerce platform with the Alchemy and Tribute collections in the fourth-quarter holiday season.
Meanwhile, De Beers will focus its holiday marketing on female self-purchasers for the second consecutive year in 2018, before it shifts back to bridal in 2019.
De Beers estimates that one-third of diamond-jewelry sales are self-purchases, whereas they accounted for less than a quarter just five years ago. That translates to a value of $12.9 billion, an increase of over $2 billion from 2015.
Stackable rings stood out as a strong growth category, accounting for 25% of all ring purchases in 2017, Stanley reported.
While De Beers has channeled its messaging toward female self-purchasers in the past year, Stanley noted a slight drop in bridal sales. The company has commissioned a study to understand what influenced the decline and will follow up with a campaign to “develop strong emotional connections between bridal consumers and Forevermark diamonds,” Stanley said.
Forevermark is celebrating its 10th anniversary in 2018, with 2,250 retail partners across 26 countries, CEO Stephen Lussier said at the breakfast. The brand’s sales grew 19% in 2017 and have increased 28% so far this year, he observed.