For years, Pandora Jewelry sat comfortably at the top of its category.
And then it noticed a disconcerting mystery: a drop-off in customer consideration.
“People know us,” said Charisse Hughes, CMO at Pandora Jewelry. “The question is, why aren’t they buying?”
Hughes has been leading a two-and-a-half year effort to get to the bottom of this problem by unifying Pandora’s data assets across retail, ecommerce and media. The project has helped Pandora identify which products resonate with different audiences and rethink the shopping experience both online and in store.
“We’re making sure your transaction history is holistic,” Hughes said. “We’re using that data to make recommendations for the future and to better target people who might be like you.”
Pandora, which sells luxury items at affordable prices, has carved a unique niche in the jewelry space by driving repeat purchases through its collectable charm bracelets. But Pandora also needs to innovate beyond its core product to attract new audiences, and is using understanding of customer data to figure out new ways to market and package its charms.
Hughes spoke with AdExchanger.
AdExchanger: What have you learned about your audience so far?
CHARISSE HUGHES: We have a decent group of younger consumers who are 16 to 25 years old, as well as a core audience of people who are 46-plus. But they are buying different categories.
Our core audience is focused on charms and bracelets. That younger audience is engaged in rings. That’s helping us think about the consumer lifecycle. We want to leverage rings as an entry category to build out our products for our core audience. It’s helping us portfolio manage while also thinking about the consumer journey.
Which digital channels work well for you?
It depends on the initiative. We’re spending quite a lot on building relationships and engagements through our influencer network. People want to be more connected to people who they admire in small and large ways.
We hired [“Stranger Things” actor] Millie Bobby Brown to be a key ambassador with us and launched a new collection with her called “Pandora Me” for a younger audience. But it could be a local tastemaker vs. someone bigger that we’re leveraging on a global scale.
How do you work with larger influencers vs. micro influencers?
We’re leveraging micro influencers in a very tactical, in-store manner. Influencers partner with us in key markets to help drive engagement in store. Their fans meet them, see new ways of styling the jewelry and get some tips and tricks. It creates a lot of excitement and energy in store so others want to stop by and engage.
[Influencers] who are very on-brand, authentic and not overexposed are ones we end up having success with. They are harder to find because consumers are becoming more skeptical. Brands have to be very discerning. And the best ones are really selective.
Pandora has a big retail footprint. How are you approaching the ecommerce space?
The retail landscape is very tough. Brands that are sustaining themselves have strong brands, good data and digital strategies, and they’re thinking about how they create that connected consumer journey.
We’re been working really hard on the omni piece. People are using digital channels to learn and explore, but 80% of our transactions are in store. We want to make that process easier. You can go online to find out which store has your product. We just launched click and collect, so you can buy online and collect on-site. And you can do endless aisles, so if you go to the store and they don’t have what you want, we can find it online.
How are you changing the retail experience in store?
We’re thinking about the retail journey and how we can better tell stories about our products. We’re launching a new store concept called the “Expression Store” on Nov. 7 in Paramus, New Jersey. We’ve launched it in China and the United Kingdom. We’re also, for the first time, playing around in the experience retail space with a pop-up shop in the turnstile below Columbus Circle.
We activated piercing parties in our stores with Millie Bobby Brown, where we pierce consumers’ ears with their purchase. That has been a highly relevant and simple way to get customers in and engaged in something they see as value added. We have a new charms bar to feature our charms and how they are created. It has an engraving service that allows customers to have a personalized product.
How do you work with agencies and what do you do in house?
It depends on the problem. Our omnichannel capabilities we’ve done internally. We have hired talent in the digital and data space. We started out doing test and learns. Three years ago, we hired an agency to help us quickly identify where we need to build resources and how to approach that. We’re not there yet, but we’re finally getting to a good place.
Is it difficult to find the right talent to bring in house?
It is. Flexible living and work arrangements help. We also benefit from being close to New York.
We’ve hired talent and they turn over, because you don’t necessarily know what you need [at first]. We brought on a head of digital on our regional team and in the United States. We’ve hired several people on our analytics team and CRM experts globally. Locally, we hired audience managers who mine the data to identify audiences. But that talent is in very high demand.
This interview has been edited and condensed.