Digital Marketing Redux   //   May 13, 2024

Why Marrow Fine is betting on a new mobile app to capture more online shoppers

DTC bridal and fine jewelry brand Marrow Fine is planning to launch an app this month in an attempt to capture more customers in the online jewelry market. 

Marrow Fine worked with California-based tech company Tapcart to launch its standalone shopping app this month. The company hopes to drive more purchases through its app by offering exclusive deals and content.

For a while, shopping apps have fallen out of favor among shoppers. For instance, outdoor brand Patagonia discontinued its mobile app back in 2016. Marrow Fine founder Jillian Sassone acknowledged that convincing people to dedicate space on their phones to yet another app can be challenging. But, she thinks it can be a useful channel for brand loyalists. And, she also believes that as other marketing channels like SMS become more crowded, that actually, apps can stand out again as people get branded text message fatigue.

“It’ll be our clients that engage with the brand the most that will probably download it first. We want to give those people incentive and perks to open the app and to engage with the app,” Sassone said. “There’ll be more opportunities for them to engage with the brand than on your traditional e-commerce site.”

Founded in 2016, Marrow Fine offers 400 line pieces and 200 one-of-a-kind items. The company offers rings, earrings and custom jewelry services. In addition to its direct-to-consumer site, Marrow Fine has three standalone retail locations: Del Mar, Newport Beach, and Chicago. The company also plans to do over 40 trunk shows in 2024.

Sasson’s background was in sales before launching Marrow Finebut she always had artistic hobbies like jewelry and drawing. “This was just something I kind of started on the side,” she said. “Then like a lot of passion projects, people get drawn towards that because you’re excited about it, and so it started to grow very quickly.” 

The company declined to share current revenue figures. In its early days, Marrow Fine grew its revenue by 350% in 2017 and 400% in 2018, the San Diego Business Journal reported in 2021. Sassone said Marrow Fine has not received any funding and is completely self-funded. 

Marrow Fine said an app would fit the business given that 82% of its e-commerce traffic came from mobile devices in the last 12 months. E-commerce also generates about 10% to 15% of Marrow Fine’s business.

The brand is also drawn to the extra bells and whistles that apps could offer. Sasson said that Marrow Fine can use apps to send push notifications to users instead of relying too much on SMS. She added that every time the company deploys an SMS campaign there is a fee associated with it but push notifications won’t have any extra costs. Apps also make checkouts smoother because many people already have their payment information saved on their phones.  

Melissa Minkow, director of retail strategy at digital consultancy firm CI&T, said that apps allow brands to establish a more personal relationship with customers through customized messaging and shopping experiences. Although having a shopping app can be beneficial for brands, it can be hard for them to convince people to use up precious real estate on their phones, she said.  

“Even though consumers prefer to use their smartphones to shop to actually get them regularly, using an app that they’ve downloaded is a very steep hurdle to overcome,” Minkow said. “Our data shows that on average, consumers only have one to three apps that they’re downloading and regularly using.”

To incentivize people to use the app, Marrow Fine is planning to give users early access to new products. For example, the company is planning to launch a summer Fridays series, where it will unveil a new ring or design every Friday, and people who have the app will be able to access it a day sooner. The company also plans to have exclusive sales on its app.  

Marrow Fine also creates 90% of its content, such as photography, in-house. As it launches the app, Sasson said it plans to have more content of its products on the app than on its website, such as additional pictures and video.

“It takes a lot to get someone to download an app and to take up screen space on their phone,” Sasson said. “You have to make the offers appealing, and you have to give a little bit more than what you would normally give.”