This inspiring story is of a rising startup called Ringcommend started by Evian Gutman. Ringcommend’s objective is to help hopeless romantics find high-end engagement rings at wholesale prices. Here is the story of Ringcommend in Evian’s own words.
We are focused on providing our customers with incredible savings, a massive selection, and rapid turnaround times.
Our aspiration is to transform the dated, slow-moving, and expensive jewelry industry; by becoming the one-stop-shop for finding your perfect engagement ring without breaking the bank.
Introduce us to the idea of Ringcommend
Ringcommend takes a tired and old idea and brings it into the 21st Century.
When it comes to buying an engagement ring, most guys have only a few requirements for what they’re looking for: they want something that will make their girlfriend happy, they want something that’s good value and within their budgets, and they want the buying process to be simple and painless.
That’s basically the opposite of how things work right now. I wanted to change all that.
At Ringcommend, we created a platform that takes the cost and complication out of the buying process. We basically ask our customers four simple questions: What is your budget? What is your preferred setting? What is your preferred diamond shape? And what is your preferred ring metal?
With these four answers, we’re able to recommend an engagement ring that’s 100% right for them. Not only that, but the ring that we recommend is also optimized across the diamond’s “4C’s” of color, clarity, cut and carat weight. All of our diamonds are GIA certified too.
We’re able to do all of this by eliminating standard retail overheads, and by utilizing our network of wholesalers, to pass on these savings directly to our customers.
The customer not only gets exactly what they want but at the best possible price. And all of this happens in less time than it takes to make a cup of coffee.
What’s your strategy story? What led you to start Ringcommend?
When I proposed to my (now) wife in 2018, I thought the task of finding an engagement ring would be relatively simple and straightforward. I was wrong. I spent two months looking into my different options also spoke to fourteen different jewelers. Moreover, I looked at over fifty different rings.
I ended up purchasing a ring that was way out of my budget. But I learnt that I could have got the same ring for $2,500 cheaper only a few weeks later.
I was shocked to learn that the average customer will look at 26 rings over 3.5 months before making their purchase and that if paying retail, will likely overspend by no less than 35% too. There’s also the challenge of needing to understand the million-plus combinations of diamond attributes that determine an engagement ring’s price, which few first-time customers are equipped to get their head around.
I became fixated with making sure that other hopeless romantics just like me were saved from the headaches and hassles that I went through. Hence I became determined to provide guys in my shoes with a high-end engagement ring at rock-bottom prices.
I knew that there had to be a better way, so I created Ringcommend.
My goal is to disrupt the tired, expensive, and cumbersome jewelry industry with a modern refresh that delivers superior products, at incredible prices, with an unparalleled customer service experience.
What marketing, operation strategies are you adopting at Ringcommend?
When you are a new bootstrapped startup operating without funding, you need to be not only cost-conscious, but effective in your marketing too.
In addition to our “conventional” marketing channels (e.g. PPC), we also employ a number of innovative and creative tactics too. For example, we focus on ‘quick-wins’ like asking for referrals to win new customers. In contrast to other marketing and sales tactics, leads from referrals tend to be of better quality, convert more readily, and are typically faster to close.
I integrated this into Ringcommend, with our Refer-A-Friend program. This program incentivizes both the giver and receiver to make a purchase, by giving the ‘giver’ a $100 gift card and a $250 discount to the ‘receiver’. We make it as easy as possible to take advantage of these discounts by creating a pre-populated email that can be sent with the click of a button from the website to share the discount code and information about the opportunity to both the giver and receiver.
We also have a Borrow-A-Ring offer, that enables customers to borrow a ring for the purposes of the engagement. That way, they have what they need for getting down on one knee, but also the opportunity to shop with their (soon-to-be) fiancé for the perfect ring together.
In addition to initiatives like these, we also partner with key industry stakeholders like florists and proposal planners, who are well placed to provide access to shared target customers.
Any strategy mistakes you have made and what did you learn?
In previous startups, I adopted the naïve approach of ‘build it and they will come’. In my head, the formula seemed straightforward: provide best of class products, at rock-bottom prices, with excellent customer service; and you have yourself a recipe for success.
Unfortunately, what I failed to appreciate, was the necessity of having a detailed omnichannel go-to-market plan that informed prospective customers about all of this.
There is no magical magnet that simply attracts customers to your business, so if you’re doing something right, make sure you’re communicating this to the market and getting the word out on the street.
After struggling at first to share all of the wonderful reasons that customers should consider Ringcommend before making their purchase, we developed a holistic marketing strategy that cut across all dimensions of the marketing mix: owned, earned, and paid channels.
Finally what advice do you have for your fellow entrepreneur readers?
I was not previously aware of the Iceberg Illusion: the idea that when it comes to starting a business, all too often, people only ever see the successes.
The reality however, is that there are an infinite number of things happening behind the scene to make that all happen. Frequently, the entrepreneur’s persistence, sacrifice, hard work, discipline and dedication happen in the background; out of sight to the rest of the world.
The world of entrepreneurialism is full of many riches and rewards. However, it is not without its challenges & difficulties. Entrepreneurs that choose this life should do so with an unclouded understanding of the world that they are about to walk into; warts & all.
Disclaimer: The information in the above story is provided by the startup and The Strategy Story takes no responsibility for the authenticity of the product and services offered by the startup. Reader’s discretion is advised.
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