Even with offering a deeper discount over the Thanksgiving through Cyber Monday weekend, accessories and apparel merchant Pura Vida Bracelets posted a 10% increase in sales during the Thanksgiving weekend compared with 2020, says Dan Brady, customer success manager at Pura Vida Bracelets.

During the 2021 Cyber 5, Pura Vida offered 50% off its website, plus free shipping, deeper than 40% off the prior year. The deeper discount did, in fact, drive more volume in sales. Plus, this was the first year Pura Vida added apparel and bags to its merchandise (previously, it sold only jewelry), which helped drive a 5% increase in average order value and a 10% increase in units per order during this sales period, Brady says.

While many shoppers did capitalize on that 50% off, several shoppers purchased before the big sale and wanted Pura Vida to refund them the difference between what they paid for the product and the sale price.

Typically, Pura Vida’s policy is to not refund the difference. An agent, however, brought it to Brady’s attention that several customers were calling in and asking for the price difference. Brady chatted with the customer service manager at its parent company, Vera Bradley Retail Stores LLC (No. 285 in the 2021 Digital Commerce 360 Top 1000) and learned that it already gave a price match for on-sale products to customers who recently purchased that product and contacted customer service. Brady ran the idea for the price-matching policy by the Pura Vida finance team. Because its owner already implemented this, Brady’s agents had approval to price match several hundred orders.

By the end of the holiday season, fewer than 100 customers called in asking for the retailer to match a deeper-discounted price. While it did lose margin on these orders, the new policy is well worth it to Pura Vida to keep its already acquired customers happy, Brady says.

“In general, it costs five times more to acquire a customer vs. retain an existing one. That is industry standard, and we are probably close to this figure,” Brady says.

He plans to continue this policy for next year.  This might pay off for Pura Vida, as 48% of online shoppers said a previous good experience with a retailer was the reason they chose to shop with a specific merchant over the 2021 holiday season, according to a Digital Commerce 360 and Bizrate Insights survey of 1,033 online shoppers in January 2021. 21% said good customer service was the reason. Consumers could pick more than one response.

How Pura Vida handles the influx in customer service inquiries during the holidays

But with the influx in sales comes an influx of customer service inquiries. In December alone, Pura Vida’s customer service team fielded 70,000 inquiries. That is up three times its normal volume compared with October 2021, where it filed 25,000 customer service issues, Brady says.

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