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De Beers Strengthens E-commerce Business

Natalie Theodosi

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LONDON — With the coronavirus pandemic accelerating luxury’s digital transformation, brands across the board have been looking to strengthen their e-commerce capabilities and have more online conversations with customers.

De Beers plans to tackle that challenge with a revamped e-commerce site where the label’s broader jewelry offer — ranging from entry price points to design pieces of up to $250,000 — will be available for the first time alongside wider delivery options to 13 new markets.

The investment in e-commerce is a response to the ongoing trend for shopping for fine jewelry online, which has been accelerated by the pandemic. But De Beers has also been shaping a broader omnichannel vision, with digital seen as a key stepping stone in every customer journey.

“In the short term, debeers.com has been picking up some sales that would have otherwise happened in-store. But the overriding trend that has been accelerated by the pandemic is the importance of digital as part of the purchase funnel, and this is something that will be even more important post-COVID,” said the company’s chief executive officer François Delage.

“This means that customers who might have previously been store-only customers will now have more and more frequent interactions with De Beers through digital channels, as part of the purchase, whether that means they complete the sale in-store or online.”

Delage added that online sales have been on an upward trajectory for three years, both on the label’s own web site, on the sites of retail partners including Harrods, Selfridges and Farfetch and on WeChat in China.

The My First De Beers entry-level range makes up the majority of sales according to Delage, but customers are becoming more accustomed to purchasing high-value items online, too. Hence the company’s decision to make the broader range, including personalized product and diamond engagement rings, available online and to more markets.

“All our online customers can, at any moment, talk to the De Beers client services team via live chat, phone or e-mail. Most higher-value purchases include one, or several, conversations with the team, as customers want to know more about the product and expect the same level of service,” added Delage.

The company used to ship only to the U.K. and the U.S. via its web site, but will now be delivering to other key markets including Australia, Austria, Belgium, Germany, France, Greece, Italy, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Macau and Italy, with more destinations to be  added before the end of the year.

The web site will not be transactional in Mainland China, where the company already operates via WeChat.

The site is also now available in French and Chinese, as well as English. It offers a wide educational content section for visitors to learn more about the world of natural diamonds and incorporates features like live chat and “intelligent search and filtering tools” to make the shopping experience more seamless.

As part of the brand’s omnichannel strategy, there are also enhanced features that allow customers to book in-person appointments or reserve specific items to view in-store.

The new engagement ring offer means that a significant portion of the site’s online audience will be younger, but Delage expects a broader customer demographic to keep favoring to e-commerce, even post-COVID-19.

“This launch is very relevant in the world’s new context. With some of our stores still closed, some of our customers have turned to the web site for advice and purchase, and as society settles into its stride once again, we will see more and more people choose to purchase online one way or another,” he added.

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