De Beers Jewellers

 
350 employees 
Salesforce customer since 2019

30%

increase in conversion rate

 
 

De Beers crafts dazzling, multi-faceted customer experiences with Salesforce.

Choosing a piece of diamond jewellery for a loved one – especially an engagement ring – is a romantic and deeply personal expression of commitment. For many people, it’s one of the most important purchases of their lives. But, until now, the experience of buying diamond jewellery was far from sparkling. The tradition-bound industry – built around a beautiful product and sumptuous marketing – hadn’t really looked at the customer experience in decades.

It was Michael Perry, De Beers Director of Omnichannel, who was tasked with envisioning and executing the group’s transformation.

“We needed to lead from the front,” explains Perry. “First, to build a great connection with our customers, and second, to lift the expectations and experiences that all customers have with all diamond jewellers.”

It wasn’t going to be easy. But for anyone who cares about customer experience, it’s an incredibly inspiring story.
 

We started with the ideal end-to-end customer experience, then listed out all the capabilities we’d need in order to deliver that.”

Michael Perry, De Beers Director of Omnichannel

The fifth C: Complexity.

For the vast majority of people, spending thousands of dollars on a diamond isn’t something to be taken lightly. What’s more, unless you happen to be an expert, it can be tricky to make sure that you’re spending all those dollars on the right diamond.

Buying a diamond typically involves one of the longest and most complex purchase journeys in all of retail. Buyers can put in months of research, combining many different channels and touchpoints, to find the right brand and the right piece. And you can’t just treat everyone the same way. The customer base is hugely diverse, ranging from mobile-first Gen Zs to high-net-worth ‘VVIPs’ who are used to white-glove service from private banks and five-star hotels.

Finally, the product isn’t a SKU on a deep shelf. Just as every relationship is unique, every diamond is one of a kind (colour, shape, carat etc.), a truly unique product, delivered directly to you with its own passport and certificate.

“There are actually over 58,000 possible combinations of carat-weight, colour, clarity and cut,” says Perry, “And that’s before the unique number and depth of inclusions, the tiny imperfections in every diamond. So when you buy a De Beers diamond, you’re not just ordering ‘a diamond like this’ – you’re choosing this diamond.”

Clearly, re-engineering the customer experience would mean re-thinking the entire supply chain, too: “We needed to make 100% of our inventory available to any customer in any channel at any time,” says Perry. “That involved a huge amount of work on the supply chain and logistics, but it means we dramatically increase our chance of delighting each customer with that perfect piece.”

A vision-driven transformation.

The vision that Perry and the team came up with for De Beers was this: to coordinate every touchpoint and transaction across physical stores and digital channels into a single ‘omni-personal’, luxury customer experience.

“Customers don’t respect channels,” says Perry, “They see one brand and expect you to act like one brand. And what they expect of De Beers is the very highest levels of services, wherever they engage with us.”

The good news: the team’s vision had total support from the top, including permission to throw out any technology that wasn’t right, and start over. So they started with a blank sheet of paper and a lot of data, designing beautifully seamless, ideal customer journeys.

“We started with the ideal end-to-end customer experience,” says Perry, “then listed out all the capabilities we’d need in order to deliver that.” From there, they ran an intensive evaluation of their options, finally choosing to use MuleSoft to integrate Salesforce Commerce Cloud, Service Cloud, and Marketing Cloud, with Einstein and a clienteling solution from Tulip, a Salesforce partner, and Salesforce-compatible WeChat technology from Chat-Labs.

Starting with a single customer view.

De Beers knew it could only realise its vision if it could create and activate a single, central profile of every customer and prospect.

To do that, Perry and his team used MuleSoft to bring all the customer data from many different systems – from the point-of-sale and financial systems to customer service and web analytics – into Service Cloud. The customer profiles are now maintained there, drawing interaction data in and publishing insights out to different systems of engagement and to in-store Brand Ambassadors and customer service teams.

With this in place, every touchpoint can be informed by each customer’s profile, preferences and interaction history. “We don’t just use this data to do clever marketing,” says Perry. “We use it to elevate our service levels and exceed customer expectations. To the customer, we’re now one brand.”

The integration challenge.

A single customer view depends on getting accurate, timely data from every other system and on the ability to activate that data everywhere. That’s where MuleSoft came in.

“Creating custom code to integrate a single system isn’t a big deal. But we needed to integrate and orchestrate a whole universe of systems and data,” says Perry, “For instance, our point-of-sale system spits out a CSV file once a day. We need to take that in, transform it, and load it into Service Cloud. Using MuleSoft, we were able to upload this critical data automatically, making the whole process much easier."

Transforming the website experience with Commerce Cloud.

Before the transformation, the De Beers website had very limited stock visibility, constrained user functionality, and limited data capture. “The CRM was falling over and we didn’t really have a marketing platform,” says Perry. “So the move to Commerce Cloud was a huge leap.”

In 2020, the new site went live in 18 countries, with multiple languages and currencies, offering customers the entire brand’s global inventory. Decentralised logistics means every piece is available to any customer, anywhere, with regional tax regulations reflected in the workflows. It even calculates lead times for stock that De Beers doesn’t have on hand but can make to order – meaning customers can visit DeBeers.com and get the exact style they want.

Not only can customers access the brand’s entire inventory on the new website – but they also have more ways to view, interact with, and personalise the items in that inventory.

The online selection of individual products has also been enhanced with functions that make purchasing more tangible, practical, and personal. Photographs of De Beers rings can be turned 360 degrees; customers can select ring sizes to avoid having to send items back; some pieces can even be engraved. And once the customer has picked out their perfect piece and is ready to order, De Beers offers expedited shipping options (and, in some cases, next-day delivery – with the possibility of same-day delivery on the horizon).

Commerce Cloud supports all of this new online functionality; but it also provides the bridge that now solidly connects the online and in-store shopping experiences of De Beers’ customers.

As Perry says, “The Commerce Cloud checkout experience is seamless, but an order fulfilled on the site isn’t just a single transaction – it’s often the culmination of a journey that might have included ten or more touchpoints, many of them with ambassadors in stores or through our service centres.”

This offline/online integration is the guiding vision made real. The Brand Ambassadors are the heart of the entire customer experience, even when an interaction seems ‘digital’. Today, customers have many ways to engage online: live chat, contact form, request callback, email, call… and all of them can be routed to in-store Brand Ambassadors to progress the journey via appointment or on the spot. And during the COVID-19 crisis, De Beers made sure customers could still access this personal service by offering virtual appointments.

Elevating the in-store experience.

A primary aim of the transformation was to arm the De Beers in-store Brand Ambassadors with the customer insights and the productivity tools they need to give each customer an incredibly personal experience.

“Over 90% of all sales are made in-store,” says Perry. “It’s a personal service. Maintaining that emotional connection between the customer and their chosen piece is what matters. A well-integrated customer experience stack can really support that.”

De Beers replaced the manual system of in-store record-keeping with a streamlined system powered by the single, central view of the customer. Instead of “a haze of systems”, Brand Ambassadors now have everything they need to provide a highly personal service – all in one place.

“Our mobile clienteling solution gives our Brand Ambassadors access to all their clients’ details and preferences, and lets them stay in one-to-one contact with them, even while they’re out of the store,” says Perry. “And all this is tracked back into Service Cloud.”

Plus, the Brand Ambassadors can see customer purchase insights and clienteling reminders in their mobile devices – meaning they have the data and productivity tools to increase conversions and focus on their customers.

“The store experience is all about enjoying and learning about what a diamond is – handling a rough diamond, learning about cut, clarity, colour, carat weight… and the famous De Beers sparkle. It’s personal, immersive and supportive. That’s what makes De Beers the true Home of Diamonds. Technology can’t replace that, but it can serve to enable it,” says Perry.

Marketing gets personal, with the help of Marketing Cloud.

The same insight that powers better website and in-store experiences also guides De Beers’ retail marketing, with highly personalised emails, targeted display, and social media ads that reflect the individual customer journey.

The engagement data from these interactions is then fed back to Service Cloud so it’s available in the single customer view.

The team can now connect online exposures to purchases and engagements that happen offline and online, driving continuous improvement and constant relevance. If a piece of web content leads to an offline purchase, that content would get credit for contributing to the sale. Before the single view of the customer, that was impossible.

Specific tools to meet specific customer needs.

As for all luxury brands, China is an important market for De Beers – and one that requires specific tools and technology. Chinese customers use different channels and expect different services – whether they’re in China or overseas.

De Beers’ omni-personal journey links customers who engage through WeChat to new or existing CRM records in Service Cloud. It then creates specific Marketing Cloud journeys that might trigger WeChat push notifications, offer exclusive gifts, or deliver insights to Brand Ambassadors.

Bringing it all together.

In a very short time, De Beers has taken the luxury diamond retail business to a whole new level.

Today, online interactions drive retail appointments and visits, and store visits drive deeper online engagements. Brand Ambassadors in De Beers stores can support digital channels by speaking to online customers via live chat. Using Commerce Cloud’s Order Management function, they can even fulfil customers’ orders in-store, arranging shipping if necessary. And the brand’s entire inventory is visible and available to every customer, no matter where they choose to interact.

Just weeks after the new Commerce Cloud website went live, the team already saw a big lift in key metrics like page views, dwell times and email engagement. And conversion rates and average order values are already up 30%.

What’s next?

Over the next year, the De Beers team will continue to roll out the Tulip clienteling solution in-store globally, and will further enhance its in-store technology and personalisation tools.

The team also plans to scale up the use of Einstein Analytics to help guide predictive modelling and spot propensity to buy – as well as helping to segment the customer base more intelligently and discover even more insights about customers that can be fed back to the right people and systems.

Wow. Just wow.

We see a lot of transformation journeys at Salesforce. And the De Beers case is one of the most impressive and inspiring. Because of how far they went in so little time. Because of the unique challenges of selling one-off products to a diverse, global customer base. And because of how focused the vision has been from the very start.

And the product of this journey? A fluid, personalised shopping experience that gives De Beers customers everything they could possibly need to make that crucial, perhaps once-in-a-lifetime choice the right one.

It’s all about personalising the journey for each customer to their specific, individual diamond – a single view of the customer and a single view of each and every product.

Perry sums it up: “One of our longest-serving Brand Ambassadors once told me, ‘The customer chooses the diamond and the diamond chooses the customer’. We want to honour that, and Salesforce is helping us do it.”

Rising to the challenges of the COVID-19 crisis.

To make the De Beers story even more impressive: the critical go-live stage happened during the coronavirus pandemic. The new Commerce Cloud website went live in 18 countries while on lockdown. And when the US stores were closed, the logistics were shifted over to UK-based delivery in just two days.

“Our CEO understood immediately why this was possible,” says Michael Perry, “As she put it, ‘It’s a good thing we started the omnichannel journey two years ago. It made us ready for anything!’ That made my day, to be honest.”
 

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