Personalized Product Recommendations Fuel Conversions For Pura Vida

Jewelry retailer Pura Vida has a compelling story to tell. The company began with two Americans, Griffin Thall and Paul Goodman, who were visiting Costa Rica on a post-college surfing vacation. To help defray the costs of the trip, they decided to see if locally hand-crafted bracelets would sell well back in their home town of San Diego. The 400 bracelets they placed in a bowl at a local boutique sold out quickly, and a business was born.

Now, six years later, Pura Vida (Spanish for “pure life”) has grown large enough to provide dozens of well-paying jobs for artisans in Costa Rica. The bracelets and other items, including apparel, are sold online and in approximately 2,500 retail locations, such as small boutiques and natural food stores.

“Pura Vida started with two guys, Jorge and Joaquin, making jewelry in Costa Rica,” said co-founder Griffin Thall in an interview with Retail TouchPoints. “Now the company has taken more than 100 people in Costa Rica out of poverty. People like supporting our product, in part because we’re not just adding on a charity aspect; it’s part of the organic story.”


Pura Vida also is associated with more than 190 charities and has donated nearly $1 million to date. The company is a member of 1% for the Planet, meaning 1% of annual net revenues go to environmental organizations worldwide.

Improvements In CTR And Conversions

But a good story isn’t enough to be successful in today’s highly competitive market. Brands also need targeted marketing, an agile web site and data-driven product recommendations. When Pura Vida deployed a solution from Nosto one year ago that added those capabilities, results included:

• A 9% overall CTR (click through rate) on product recommendations;

• A 6% conversion rate on product recommendations; and

• A 14X ROI.

Thall and co-founder Paul Goodman adopted the Nosto solution because they wanted a more agile marketing solution. “Now we feel that we have a better way of presenting our product on the web pages than we did before,” said Thall. “People don’t want to have to go to the navigation bar to find products, they want them to be recommended to them. We use a mixture of the most purchased items, those that are trending, along with those that have been newly added to the catalog, to give people a good mix.”

Other improvements include keeping the retailer’s monthly subscription service in a prominent position on all the site’s web pages. The Pura Vida site also features pop-ups identifying recent purchases by individual customers in different locations, e.g. “Jill from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania bought a Gold Wave Ring about 2 minutes ago.”

Product recommendations are also personalized with the use of structured data, factoring in elements such as a shopper’s price point affinity and category affinity. In addition, the solution includes a revenue optimization layer: “We try to find the right balance between what the customer wants and what will provide the best margin for the merchant,” said Jan Soerensen, Head of Customer Success, North America for Nosto.

The retailer’s goals for 2017 include driving more organic traffic to the Pura Vida site as a way to “bring new people to our brand,” said Thall. “We will be looking to do our basic marketing and also to refine our Instagram feed. We will also continue to gather data from multiple sources about who our customers are.”

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