Darby Pritchards’ secret to finding their shine: How Darby Pritchards developed its loyal customer base
Craig Pritchard smiles while reminiscing about an anecdote Oprah may call a “full circle Moment”–when Darby Pritchards jewelry was recommended to his mom.
Faye Darby and Craig Pritchard are based in Oldbury in central England. Terri Pritchard was their first piece sold in January 2019. Their story started with Wix eCommerce
. They were inspired by their wives’ love of jewelry and decided to make something affordable and mid-range. Beautiful pieces that will last a long time.
The founders of the company had to overcome many challenges in their early years. Darby Pritchards learned valuable lessons about how to build an successful eCommerce business
Pictured from left to right: Faye Darby and Andrew Darby, founders. Photo by Darby Pritchards
It is a steep learning curve
had a rough start. What seemed like an easy way of acquiring inventory turned out to be incredibly disappointing.
The stock was purchased from an abandoned jewelry company. While some pieces were sold, others saw little to no sales. They were left with slow-moving inventory which was not resonating and showing signs of being sold.
Andrew’s wife Faye joined the team and they began talking to core shoppers. This was their “aha” moment.
Craig says, “When we asked our women family members for their feedback, we began to get the inventory right and get the right suppliers in.”
Faye adds, “We now hand-make stock.” We can make items that are more suitable for our customers by talking to them via Wix emails and social media. Even items that aren’t in high demand, but are suggested by customers, will be included in our online store so that everyone who visits our site can find the right item for them.
Image courtesy Darby Pritchards
Targeted marketing is key to driving sales
Craig, Andrew and Faye tried different marketing strategies
, ad channels and discount strategies to renew their customers’ interest in their products. Facebook ads were one of the most successful.
The Wix eCommerce platform
allowed them to connect their catalogs to Facebook ads automatically. They designed campaigns that targeted buyers with similar traits and interests to ensure they were only advertising to those customers.
These campaigns helped to clarify a clear path forward, one that entailed efforts primarily focused on re-engaging customers. Wix’s marketing tools made it easy for the team to manage multichannel promotions and campaigns. This was all very useful during the online competition and pandemic.
The pandemic effect
Darby Pritchards sales grew largely because of their core principle, affordability.
Andrew says, “We had a high-quality product that people loved and at a great price.” Darby Pritchards welcomed shoppers who were looking for convenience and better value.
The team started their first email marketing campaigns
to build relationships. They rewarded loyal subscribers with discounts and limited-time offers.
They doubled their email and Facebook advertising efforts for Black Friday 2020. They also launched the Christmas season in December with an amazing 24-day Advent-themed email marketing campaign.
Image courtesy Darby Pritchards
Andrew recalls that every day the same name would pop up. “It was amazing to see that the customer is following you along the journey…and purchasing whatever item we’re putting up that day.”
Darby Pritchards saw a 37% increase in year-over-year sales and a 21% increase in site traffic in 2021.
The company’s email marketing campaigns now reach more than 28,000 customers. It seems that their personal approach to marketing is paying off. Craig says, “If we don’t let them know about our new products, [our subscribers] are messaging us asking, ‘What new product do you have?’.”
Build a jewel of a business
Darby Pritchards online sales continue to grow despite the closing of British brick-and-mortar shops. The founders are pragmatic and humble about their success. Craig says, “Returning customers is how we know that we’ve done something right.”
Darby Pritchards’ annual return customer rate was over 20% as of April 2022.
Their success is the best part. Darby Pritchards originally set out to give back to the community. Andrew says, “We try to make charitable donations wherever we can.” He also mentions that Andrew hopes to create jobs for those who are in need. It’s more than just about making money. It doesn’t have to be.
4 Common eCommerce Challenges
It is not an easy road to success. Faye, Andrew, and Craig have accumulated a lot of knowledge since opening their virtual doors in 2019. Here are their startup challenges and some tips to help you overcome them.
01. Planning is not enough
“Having a business plan, or a blueprint, was the biggest challenge. And sticking with that blueprint is what we did. Once we had our blueprint, we stopped trying to sell everywhere and everything.
While some founders may be able to wing it, for many, this can lead to more harm than good. Your startup should be flexible, but you must have a solid business plan. It will outline the vision and operation of your business.
What are your top motivations for starting a business (other than making money) How can you protect your capital and inventory? Who and why will you target?
These are just the basics. You’ll also need to create processes for managing logistics, budgeting, and balance the books. As your guide light, you’ll need to set clear and achievable goals. These could be anything from hitting sales targets to increasing social followers. You could end up spending your time and money on every marketing channel and trending product.
Check out our step by step guide to creating your business plan
. Or, take this course on how you can create a business planning
02. Understanding your buyers–and nurturing repeat customers
You need new customers, but a loyal customer base is a success story.
Even when it comes down to your customers, it’s easy for us to make assumptions. Although you may have an idea of the target audience, it is important to dig deeper to get a clear picture of their needs and wants.
Do not let your personal biases steer you down a wrong path. To get a better understanding of your customers, do your research and conduct market research. You can identify different segments by location, lifestyle or interest and tailor your marketing strategy to each one.
Faye says Darby Pritchards is a research-driven company that talks with buyers monthly. “We research their interests and offer multiple designs when we are able to,” Faye says.
Your ultimate goal should be to build a relationship that isn’t just transactional, but also emotional with your customers. Customers need to feel connected with your brand, feel supported by your campaigns and customer service efforts, and should feel supported by them.
Did You Know:
Wix eCommerce offers powerful marketing tools to help you grow your reach. You can leverage AI-based technology to reach audiences, track sales, and run A/B tests. This webinar
focuses on scaling your business using Facebook Ads.
03. Sourcing inventory which sells
“We sold jewelry that looked good to me when we first started selling it. We didn’t sell jewelry that was very popular so we made the wrong choices when choosing jewelry.
In a way, product sourcing is a science. To find trustworthy suppliers that sell quality products at affordable prices, you need to do a lot of research. It might take some time to find the right products for your business, just like how you might A/B-test a marketing campaign.
Talk to your customers and potential buyers as a starting point. Ask them what they think about the products. Listen to their feedback and don’t be afraid to respond with your own observations.
You should investigate whether your product range, quality, price, messaging, or pricing needs to be adjusted.
Pro Tip: Dropshipping
can be used to validate products and test them before purchasing in bulk. Connect your online store to Modalyst,-Wix’s native dropshipping solution. Then select the products that you think are best for your business. Dropshippers have instant access to millions upon millions of products from trusted suppliers. They can also freely test and iterate on products without the need to store, pack, ship, or ship them.
04. Shipping, packaging, and fulfillment
“In the beginning we had an envelope with an address. We would put the jewelry inside and take them to the post office until we found a better integrated system.”
Analyzing the customer journey after purchase is a good idea. Think about the unboxing experience of your customers. How would you like your product packaging
look? Customers will be opening branded boxes or compostable mail bags? Customers will be able to choose whether their products are well-wrapped in tissue paper, or minimal packaging.
Backend logistics: How do you ensure reliable and fast delivery? Do you choose to use a third-party logistics company (3PL), or do it all yourself? If you sell internationally, which company will ship your parcels? Your customers might prefer curbside pickup. Do you have brick-and-mortar stores that can support this?
Did You Know:
Wix eCommerce allows for you to create custom shipping rules that allow you to control when, where and how you ship. You can manage shipping and logistics with the Wix Stores, shipping labels solution
, or connect your store to a third party shipping app. This video explains how
can manage and fulfill orders.
Darby Pritchard’s toolbox includes 4 Wix eCommerce tools
Wix eCommerce was a recommendation by a friend three years ago. It’s now the platform behind Darby Pritchards website and their hub for managing day to day operations. According to the team, these tools were instrumental in building a successful online business.
- Wix Automations Darby Pritchards can trigger emails, ads, and everyday tasks withWix. Andrew says that his favorite automation is a thank-you email after a customer has purchased. It’s a simple email thanking customers for their business. We’re available to assist you if needed. It’s a sign that we care about our customers.
- Email marketing The company’s successful Advent campaign was built on Wix’s email editor. Andrew said that their email strategy doesn’t seem to bother customers. Customers are really interested in what we do. We keep our customers informed and they are very happy. It’s almost like having a family.
- Wix analytics “This is the most important aspect Wix gives us,” Andrew says. It allows us to see our income and where it came from. It is clear that our SEO is actually bringing in sales, even though we don’t have to pay an advert.
- Facebook ads integration – Darby Pritchards has benefited greatly from social media, from helping them to gather data about their target markets to helping them target customers through Instagram ads on Facebook. Wix integrates seamlessly with Facebook/Instagram ads and automatically optimizes, monitors, and tests ads with AI.