Mervis Retargeting - Diamond In The Rough

Seventy-nine-year-old Mervis Diamond Importers uses site retargeting to connect with consumers looking to purchase fine jewelry. The business model supports a one-on-one connection in the physical store.

The online content drives prospective consumers to request an appointment through an online form or click-to-call button. That initial commitment provides the first signal of a potential qualified buyer.

Jonathan Mervis, who leads business development for the family-owned business, has remarketed to consumers for years, but a major shift in the type of audience segments and content now on the site represents a significant change from the way the retail store reached consumers in the past. He refers to the strategy as "retargeting an ad based on the buying cycle."

"We're seeing about 50% to 70% year-over-year increase in traffic from retargeting," Mervis said. "I read about Google Penguin and Google Panda, these algorithm changes have hit businesses hard, but they have only helped us increase our traffic."

Mervis said all the content and blog articles about how to clean rings or how to find a wedding ring to match an engagement ring help to increase site visits, especially since the algorithm changes. One thing missing from the site, a ring builder to help prospective clients get a visual idea about design options, but that's coming, he said.

The buying process for a diamond -- especially a diamond engagement or wedding ring -- could span six months to a year, Mervis said. The store builds the ad cycle to support a long-term relationship with the consumer who wants to know more about fine gems such as color and clarity, or what happens if the groom buys a ring the bride doesn't like.

Video content supports a strategy based on educating consumers about buying diamonds. Prospective buyers come to the site spending 12 minutes watching videos about a variety of topics. Getting an education helps to build consumer confidence. Aside from online retargeting and content, Mervis will run ads in the D.C. area on television and radio.

Retargeting, however, converts at a higher rate for Mervis, compared with any other sources of online traffic such as paid search ads. The site also uses organic traffic optimizing on search terms like wedding ring and engagement ring. Mervis plans to further segment the site traffic to retarget specific messages depending on the pages the visitor views. "If you're on the site and looking at our financing policies, you're pretty far into the buying process," he said. "There are other signals like how many times someone has visited the site."

Viewing the stores and hours page provides additional signals for retargeting, along with adding specific rings to a wish list. Most times people put things on a wish list they are considering buying, but not always.

Falls Church, Va.-based HubShout supports Mervis' on-site retargeting efforts. The company built audience segments based on specific brands, such as Tacori, but the store's site has yet to tailor video content for those specific brands. The custom ad copy and keywords support specific audiences.

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