How Jewelry Brand Kendra Scott Is Pivoting During the Pandemic

Did you get a chance to listen to the JCK Events webinar “10 Things You Can Do Right Now to Prepare Your Business for the Post-COVID-19 Recovery” with JCK editor-in-chief Victoria Gomelsky? It’s definitely worth a watch/listen. The topic of getting your digital platform up to snuff and ways to modernize your business were key topics.

Adding chat functionality to your site features, exploring the possibilities of livestream events, and adding augmented reality (AR) tools to your digital storefront were just a few of the enhancements discussed.

One brand that’s completely on it? Kendra Scott, the wildly successful  jewelry powerhouse that JCK has covered on several occasions, including the opening of its New York store and flagship in Austin, Texas, where Scott is based. We’ve called Scott a jewelry tycoon: She’s also made philanthropy a key component of her business since founding her line in 2002.

A few of the retail tactics she’s put into play with alarming speed since COVID-19 temporary closed most of her stores include working with supply chain solutions company Manhattan Associates to build a curbside pickup program in order to meet Mother’s Day demand while following all health and prevention habits as guided by the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control.

The company is also localizing distribution efforts to meet customer demand during temporary store closures with a new ship-from-store program to supplement the Austin distribution center. “While it typically takes three to six months to execute this system, it took only nine days for Manhattan Associates to have fulfillment running out of eight of our stores,” according to a brand statement.

Kendra Scott Charleston SC
The Kendra Scott boutique on King Street in Charleston, S.C., is part of the new ship-from-store program that allows two to three retail employees to be working in the store at a time, following strict social distancing guidelines and cleaning measures as outlined by the CDC/WHO.

One of the most innovative pivots in terms of modernizing the brand’s e-comm customer experience is the roll-out of a virtual try-on feature. It launched just a couple of weeks ago in a rather astonishing example of coincidental yet perfect timing.

The mobile-based feature had been in development for months, but with so many abiding by stay-at-home guidelines right now, the company is anticipating an increased appetite for try-before-you-buy services and virtual experiences and hopes to see considerable engagement.

Hoang Kim Cung Kendra Scott
Dallas blogger @hkcung test-drives the Kendra Scott virtual try-on feature. The brand is launching first with earrings, as the category allows for the most dynamic movement, with the intent to roll out necklaces, bracelets, rings, and more later on (image courtesy of Kendra Scott).

The virtual try-on allows customers to compare multiple looks at once (in the Earrings section only for now), sampling several products simultaneously and in live motion, and to seamlessly short-list and add items to cart.

It’s powered by AR firm Mirelz, which chose Kendra Scott as a partner to pilot the program, but the technology is available to other retailers.

“We are thrilled to offer this new experience to our customers during a time when she is unable to shop with us in our stores,” Scott told JCK. “This technology helps solve the problem of wear-testing by allowing our shoppers to preview how a new style will look on them, without leaving the comfort of their home.”

Top: Some new releases from designer Kendra Scott, who is pivoting with aplomb and alacrity in the face of the pandemic. Philanthropy is key to her brand’s DNA, and since mid-March it’s been donating 50% of proceeds from the sale of the Everlyne bracelet to Feeding America. Kendra Scott has also been donating its yellow branded bandannas to local female volunteer groups that are sewing masks for hospitals in Texas, Louisiana, New York, and California. Finally, it’s temporarily transitioned its customer-hosted Kendra Gives Back charity events to a virtual platform so that communities can continue to give back to local causes during this uncertain time.


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Amy Elliott

JCK Contributing Editor

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