Borsheims’ Concierge Approach to Luxury Retail

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New Dragonproof Podcast on Why Great Ecommerce Businesses Succeed

What kind of thinking drives a business that thrives across generations?

Andy Brabec, Ecommerce and Marketing Director for legendary jewelry icon Borsheims, joins the Dragonproof Podcast to share how this 150-year retail powerhouse leveraged technology in 2020 to stay focused on the emotional connection between customers and products.

The Omaha, Nebraska luxury jewelry superstore gained international fame when it joined Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway in 1989. In fact, many in the financial world know of Borsheims as part of the annual “Berkshire weekend” shareholders’ meeting, which literally passes through the jeweler’s grand flagship space.

Figuring out ways to replicate the magic of display cases filled with glittering diamonds and gold via an elaborate ecommerce website has been a key investment for the company over the last many years. In 2020, that digital infrastructure was perfectly positioned to serve the rapidly growing role of ecommerce in the larger economy. However the larger goal is always to support the relationship with the customer. 

“We’re in the emotions business. We’re in the special moments business,” says Andy, getting to the heart of Borsheims’ success by pointing out the connection between jewelry and gift-giving, memories, and celebrations. 

Perhaps this is the key to the company’s longevity as sellers of very personal products that become woven into people’s lives in a way that most products don’t. When faced with the colossal challenges of 2020, Borsheims continued to lean into the emotional power of what they sell, specifically through a highly personalized concierge-style shopping experience.

The idea of the “concierge” is important in all luxury retail, but creating this experience online requires a dynamic process which considers the shopper’s preferences, style, and budget. 

In a virtual showroom, a sales team can curate a selection for an individual client, take notes, and set pricing, while a visual ring builder allows customers to mix and match diamonds and settings to better visualize custom combinations. The sense of personal attention and trust that has developed between Borsheims and its many long-term clients feels more caring and thoughtful than simply “buyer and seller” and is perfectly suited to a largely remote audience. 

The key idea is to use technology to humanize the sales process and then be ready for any curveballs that might come up.

“We had a Plan A, a Plan B, a Plan C, and a Plan D for everything…” says Andy, describing the all-hands-on-deck team strategy which not only launched 2020, but is now a guide for 2021. The longevity of the brand into the digital era is a success story which serves as a model for new businesses that want to build something meaningful for customers, and build it to last. 

Listen to a new podcast exploring Borsheims’ successful approach to emotion-driven ecommerce here.

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