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Case Study: The New Pure Play Brand Helping Jewellery Giant Michael Hill Navigate the Changing Retail Climate

In response to this year’s ecommerce explosion, and in a bid to capitalise on a growing customer audience, global jewellery retailer Michael Hill launched pure play brand Medley in August 2020. Find out how Swanky helped bring this new Aussie brand to life with a stylish Shopify store and optimised digital toolbox.

Written By
Hannah Leary

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has transformed the retail landscape this year, with ecommerce taking centre stage. With cities across the globe being placed under lockdown and non-essential brick-and-mortar stores being forced to temporarily shut their doors, more consumers than ever before are turning to the web for their retail fix.

For global jewellery retailer Michael Hill, this trend was reflected in their latest financial results, with online sales increasing by 54.7% to a record $24.7 million! This means that digital sales now represent 5% of the brand’s total sales – an increase from 2.8% in FY18-19.

Capitalising on the rapid changes in consumer behaviour triggered by the pandemic, the team behind Michael Hill launched pure play ecommerce brand Medley in August 2020.

Targeting a younger demographic than Michael Hill’s flagship collections, Aussie brand Medley focuses on young, female ‘self-purchasers’. The brand’s five collections offer versatile, on-trend pieces that inspire confidence and individuality, all at an affordable price point.

A shiny new Shopify store

To kickstart their exciting digital venture, the Michael Hill team were on the lookout for an ecommerce agency to build a stunning online store that looked the part whilst providing a slick customer journey. 

After an introduction from Nathan Bush at ecommerce agency 12High, they chose Swanky Australia to bring the Medley brand to life.

Armed with a clear understanding of Medley’s commercial goals and technical requirements, the build commenced in early July. Less than five weeks later, the site was live. 

“The turnaround time on this project was a real highlight,” explains Kate Phillips, Ecommerce Manager at Swanky. 

“In a little over a month we had created a beautiful Shopify store with functional customisation, that provides a fast, compelling experience for users across devices.”

The store, which is built on the Shopify Impulse theme, embodies what Medley is all about: individuality, creativity and confidence. Shoppers can immerse themselves in the brand’s story and enjoy a rich browsing experience that resonates with them on a deeper level.

One way that the site engages and inspires the target customer is by embracing Medley’s stunning portfolio of imagery. For example, the store uses image-centric navigation throughout the user journey, with beautiful product and lifestyle photography that really showcases the detail of Medley’s jewellery. What’s more, the large, impactful images instantly draw attention and make a statement against the white background. 

The theme allows for seamless navigation around the site and through collections, with dropdown mega menus, intuitive product categorisations and user-friendly filtering options. Bold calls to action guide users along the purchase funnel, clearly breadcrumbing the route-to-checkout.

Sharing her enthusiasm for the new store was Medley’s Campaign and Trade Manager, Molly Standfield, who wrote on LinkedIn:

“A beautiful site built by beautiful people. Team Swanky was a dream to work with!”

A tech stack for success

As part of this New Build project, we also recommended and implemented a combination of apps to drive growth for this new brand, including three Swanky favourites:

Gorgias

Trusted by over 4,500 Shopify stores, the #1 rated ecommerce helpdesk enhances customer support through live chat, a centralised ticketing system and automated responses.

Klaviyo

This popular growth marketing platform enables brands to build high-quality customer relationships across marketing channels, with automated flows that capitalise on purchase opportunities, recapture lost revenue and strengthen customer loyalty at scale.

Okendo

A regular recommendation of ours, Okendo captures and displays high-impact customer reviews, helping to build shopper trust and drive conversions.

Three months later …

Three months on from the official launch of the Medley site, we checked in with Swanky Australia’s Kate Phillips for an update on the brand’s progress.

“Despite launching in a challenging retail climate where it’s trickier than ever to secure consumer confidence, Medley has seen encouraging month-on-month growth since August,” she explained. 

“We’re excited to follow their journey as the months progress, especially over the 2020 holiday season.”

By embracing changes in consumer buying behaviour and investing in new digital opportunities, the team at Michael Hill are demonstrating that those who innovate and adapt can not only survive, but thrive, during these extraordinary times. 

Discussing the Medley site build on LinkedIn, Michelle Thomas, Strategy & Project Office Manager at Michael Hill said:

“So lucky to have had the pleasure to work with the amazing team at Swanky on this. Great team, great experience, and a great result.”

Bring your ecommerce vision to life with Swanky

Looking to kickstart or upgrade your ecommerce venture? Here at Swanky, we know what it takes to build beautiful online stores that reach more buyers and sell more products.

To find out how we could help unlock your ecommerce potential, reach out to our Shopify experts today!

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