From its roots as a small New Zealand-based jewelry retailer, Michael Hill has blossomed into an international business with 289 retail stores across Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the U.S.

The company’s online presence is a vital supplement to these retail stores, enabling the brand to reach more customers. Using Commerce Cloud, Michael Hill has replicated the in-store experience of product personalization, resulting in more online customer interaction.

As James Johnson, Group Digital Manager at Michael Hill, said: “With [Commerce Cloud], we’ve established a website that makes our customers feel as special as they would in-store.”

The results have been phenomenal. Between October 2013 and February 2014, website traffic increased by 85% and customer conversion rates more than doubled.

“Thanks to the flexibility and integration capabilities of [Commerce Cloud], we’ve been able to develop exciting online features that help us attract more customers as well as upsell and cross-sell more products,” said Johnson.

Michael Hill’s previous website lacked the best practice functionality needed to enhance site merchandising, marketing, content management, and the overall user experience. “We wanted to unify our online capabilities with the in-store customer experience and grow our ecommerce revenue,” said Johnson. “We selected [Commerce Cloud] due to its functionality and speed to market.”

Commerce Cloud underpins four Michael Hill websites for New Zealand, Australia, Canada, and the U.S. — all of which went live on the same day — as well as the website for Emma & Roe Australia. To help with this successful and rapid implementation, Michael Hills partnered with Amblique, a local implementation partner and advisor. Amblique is a digital commerce consultancy providing retail strategy, ecommerce platform implementation, and optimization services. It works with retailers and brand owners to deliver a consistent and engaging brand experience across all channels.

Justus Wilde, Amblique’s Founder and Principal Strategist, said, “The jewelry space is highly competitive, with a great opportunity for innovation. We work with Michael Hill to help build a strong, omni-channel platform that will support growth across all their markets.”

 
 

With [Commerce Cloud], we can bring new ideas to market more quickly and cost-effectively, which helps drive greater competitive advantage and revenue.”

JAMES JOHNSON | GROUP DIGITAL MANAGER

The Michael Hill sites boast extensive features, including a personalized charm builder, shoppable videos, interactive catalogues, and the ability of customers to share their stories.

Commerce Cloud provides the underlying product catalogue architecture for items in the charm builder and ensures a consistent shopping experience. “The charm builder enables customers to build a custom bracelet from more than 1,000 components, replicating the in-store experience,” said Johnson.

This and other online features are available across the full spectrum of user devices. Johnson explains, “Mobile is a really important channel in the Australian market where more than 50% of site visits and a significant proportion of our revenue is from mobile devices. Using [Commerce Cloud], we’ve been able to create device-agnostic sites using responsive design.”

 

As well as adapting to different devices, the sites enable Michael Hill to add new features in response to changing customer needs. For example, with the LINK partner ecosystem, Michael Hill can innovate faster by integrating prebuilt capabilities with Commerce Cloud, such as video, ratings, and reviews.

“It takes just a few minutes for our digital team to create shoppable videos on our websites. [Commerce Cloud] is so easy to use. We only need a team of three people to manage all five sites,” said Johnson.

Videos are a core part of the site content, which has been created to reflect the company’s personality and culture. Reviews and ratings are also very important to Michael Hill’s customers. By taking this one step further and allowing customers to socially share their love stories, the company has been able to create a customer community.

“We continually develop new ideas to enrich the online experience, including styling videos, brand pieces, and gift finders,” said Johnson. “With [Commerce Cloud], we can bring new ideas to market more quickly and cost-effectively, which helps drive greater competitive advantage and revenue.”

 
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