Need to Know
Hillberg & Berk, established in 2007, had already earned a strong following in Western Canada before engaging Northern.
The 2020 pandemic lockdown and poor eCommerce performance plagued their global ambitions and threatened their local growth.
Northern helped Hillberg & Berk broaden their options through a diagnostic analysis, discovering new growth levers and cost savings.
Hillberg & Berk’s global growth plan has flipped from brick and mortar to digital-first.
Since launching the jewelry retail concept from her kitchen table, Rachel Mielke has expanded Hillberg & Berk to eleven locations concentrated across Western Canada.
Hillberg & Berk is passionate about empowering women. Their brand promise of “I feel special” moments align with stories of resilient women through education, inspiration and opportunity, which connected Hillberg & Berk with trailblazers and changemakers, such as Olympic athlete Tessa Virtue.
The brand struggled to earn online revenue compatible with its in-store growth, however. When COVID-19 forced retailers into lockdown, Hillberg & Berk needed their eCommerce performance to improve substantially and quickly.
Hillberg & Berk hired Northern Commerce to redesign and enhance their Shopify Plus eCommerce website. Then, less than two months into the project, the COVID-19 pandemic lockdown went into full effect, and it became clear that they needed more than just a new eCommerce website to weather this storm.
Hillberg & Berk needed new revenue options. Northern conducted a diagnostic analysis of their digital ecosystem, assessing how effectively the brand engaged with consumers and delivered its luxury experience online.
The assessment led to three levers: 1) optimizing their advertising performance, then accelerating it; 2) leveraging Shopify Plus customizations to motivate larger order values; 3) reducing the time between customer purchases and increasing the lifetime value earned from customers.
We designed a three-pillar strategy (engagement, experience, and commerce) to ensure consistent delivery across their digital ecosystem.
Northern created and engaged a look-alike audience of Hillberg & Berk’s trailblazers and changemakers, fine-tuning their website traffic through extensive keyword research and search optimization. Social commerce promotions, planned around notable events, captured first-time purchasers, and commerce analytics and A/B cohort testing guided campaign pivots.
Northern emulated Hillberg & Berk’s high-touch personal service through email automation. A post-purchase welcome series encouraged new customers to write product reviews and share their feedback with Hillberg & Berk. First-time purchasers received personalized promotions to motivate second and third purchases. And refer-a-friend giveaways enticed word-of-mouth sharing and encouraged look-alike customer growth.
Northern brought Hillberg & Berk’s luxury buying experience online through Shopify Plus platform customizations. Faceted search and artificial intelligence (AI) with product recommendations, cross-selling, and dynamic offers enhanced customers' desire to discover new products. Hillberg & Berk’s jewelry collections were showcased through customized Shopify Plus product templates motivating multiple product purchases. And the shopping experience became more authentic through user-generated product reviews, ratings and live chat support.
Linking Hillberg & Berks’ digital improvements across our three solution pillars (critical for growth along a commerce-driven digital maturity path) led to gains that will compound over time. Their return on advertising spend, for example, is six times their investment, the average customer lifetime value increased by eighty percent annually, and their year-over-year revenue has grown by 113%. We fully expect these and other commerce metrics to continue to improve as their digital infrastructure matures.
Hillberg & Berk has recently challenged Northern Commerce with more aggressive growth targets, a 150% increase in overall sales revenue while earning seventy percent of their income through eCommerce, compared to the thirty percent currently earned. Our more immediate efforts will trim their costs to acquire new customers (CAC) while growing their customer lifetime value (CLTV).
Northern will leverage personalization, loyalty, and reward programs to strengthen Hillberg & Berk’s customer advocacy, earning customers that stay longer, purchase more frequently, and for greater durations. In addition, loyal customers lead to increased word-of-mouth referrals as they tell their friends and family about their new favourite jewelry brand.
We’re continuing to work closely with Hillberg & Berk’s teams as an authentic partner, with training, supportive how-to documents, joint project management teams, enhanced UX testing tools, and shared code management, testing and development environments.
Next, we’re working with Hillberg & Berk to expand into the US market.