This interview is part of our Moving Forward Blog Series, where we ask major brands how they’re adapting to changing consumer expectations from a loyalty perspective post-pandemic.
While the past year has been challenging for retailers everywhere, coupled with a massive shift toward e-commerce, some brands found the pandemic beneficial to them related to customer loyalty.
For example, New York-based jeweler Noor Shamma.
Noor ensures that ethical and sustainable practices are implemented right through the supply chain at her brand.
Noor Shamma has an international presence with clients from all over the world (North America, Australia, Europe, MENA (Middle East and North Africa), and Asia).
As many retailers struggled and reduced their respective workforces during the pandemic, Noor has used the time to slow down and focus on 1-to-1 loyalty whenever possible.
We caught up with Noor, founder of Noor Shamma, and here’s what she had to say about:
- The pandemic’s positive impact on her business.
- The unique challenges for jewelry brands.
- Strategies to increase engagement and customer lifetime value.
- Customer loyalty goals.
Jim Tierney: The pandemic has impacted retailers of all kinds. From a customer loyalty perspective, and changed consumer behavior, how has the pandemic impacted your brand?
Noor Shamma: As a matter of fact, the pandemic may have positively impacted my business since it allowed me to slow down, regroup, and adapt.
It was a good time to introduce a new perspective, shifting the business priorities and changing the pace.
I cannot determine when, and if, life will ever go back to normal, but from the start, my business launched as an e-commerce business and the shift worked smoothly for my brand given that everything was already set up for an operational online business.
The pandemic however gave me more time to focus on client relationship management and that converted into brand development, sales, friendships, and brand ambassadors achieved through customer loyalty.
Jim: What customer insights have you gleaned since the pandemic started?
Noor: Surprisingly, jewelry sales seem to have increased during the pandemic and I guess it may be due to the fact that people want to invest in more meaningful and timeless products.
Jim: Can you talk about the unique challenges to earning and retaining customer loyalty for a jewelry brand when purchases might not be as frequent as with a commodity brand?
Noor: Luxury products and fine jewelry, in particular, are so much harder to sell, especially online, since people need to physically experience the product, try it on, feel its weight, visualize it and so on.
This in addition to the value of investment, which is higher, unlike other items that the customer would not overthink when clicking on the checkout button.
However, from my experience, all it takes is one purchase to convert the client into a returning client (aka, they become an extension of the brand).
Jim: What strategies do you execute on to increase engagement, purchase frequency, average order value, and customer lifetime value throughout the year?
Noor: I don’t think there’s a magic formula, but I believe that offering each client a personalized experience makes a big difference.
During the pandemic, I spent a lot of time developing 1-on-1 client relationships in trying to understand my “target audience” better by starting a dialogue while gaining their trust.
This helped in converting the potential client into an actual client, and once that conversion happened, I was confident that the client experience offered, as well as the product quality, will consequently draw more sales, thus resulting in higher purchase frequency and higher average order value.
Jim: Listening to your customers is a top priority. How has that changed, if at all, during the pandemic?
Noor: I had more time to develop more personal relationships with my clients during the pandemic. I got to know them better, understand their lifestyles, interests, priorities, and their preferred way of communication. This two-way dialogue allowed for room to adapt and develop the brand and the client experience.
Jim: As your brand slowly emerges from the pandemic, what are your customer loyalty goals?
Noor: Retaining my current loyal clients is always a priority — my tribe. At the end of the day, they are the best brand ambassadors — real people, with real lives and a network of family, friends, colleagues (and followers). The rest comes gradually.
Jim: What do you think customer loyalty will look like in the “new” retail reality?
Noor: I always think of myself as the client and try to understand what I look for in brands and in retail/e-commerce experiences overall.
This makes me realize that clients are quite smart and there are so many options out there, but that they are always looking for a more personal and authentic experience, quality products, and positive brand association.
Noor has hit on so many key elements of creating and retaining customer loyalty.
Since the pandemic started, she slowed down and focused on developing 1-on-1 relationships with customers.
Noor talked to them, listened to them, and learned about their respective lifestyles and interests.
During the pandemic, Noor’s approach to her business from a customer loyalty perspective has been spot on.
Listen to your customers.
Identify any pain points and try to address them.
Focusing on personalized experiences is a surefire way to creating deep and sustainable loyalty with your customers.