How Muscat Gems saw 11% spike in sales!

An online store. An app. And an 11% increase in sales

The Backstory

Three factors that absolutely scare the daylights out of online sellers are – no traffic, no social following, and no sales. Not in any particular order.

And Debbie Sutherland was no exception to this.

Her journey started in early 1990s – the pre ecommerce era – when she set up Crystal Clear, a store selling precious stones, in UK. Right after her first tryst with rubies, sapphires, onyx, amethyst, and diamonds she packed her bags and shifted to Bangkok – the gemstone capital of the world – to study various treatments that the stones go under.   

With a certified gemologist accreditation tucked by her side, she then set up Muscat Gems in Oman, and has been trading in these colored beauties since 2009. As the business grew, she took her second plunge in retail and opened a fine jewellery store by the same name. All the while maintaining her policy of full disclosure regarding the type and treatment of her stones. A rarity in her trade.


And then in late 2016, came the big move to cross shores and to make Muscat Gems an online-only retail store.

“Although both my husband and I were working in Oman, we never had any long term plans to stay. I knew one day we would be moving, and as my current jewellery collection is now manufactured in Thailand and Asia, I could then be based from any country. I feel that e-commerce is the way forward as more and more traditional jewellery stores close.”

With more than 7 solid years of physical retail experience under her belt, one would have thought that the world of online selling would be a shoo-in for Debbie. But even with a well-defined niche and a stunning product catalogue, this veteran seller found herself struggling with the one of the best sources of traffic for her store – social media.

“No social media (presence) equals to no business…My Facebook page was set up in 2009 and has a good following of around 9.5K. (But) My Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter accounts are all fairly new and works in progress. To find the time to manually constantly post on four different accounts is just NOT possible. No posts and all interaction stops.”

Building Trust on Social Media 

Muscat Gems collection

Debbie knew that her irregular posting on social channels was doing a disservice to her store, her followers, and herself. Her business was losing its sheen in this new unfamiliar terrain.

“Switching to ecommerce only is very different. You need to build up trust, people need to know who you are and when they don’t get to walk into your store and meet you, then you need to work so much harder to gain customers and keep them engaged.”

But one of Debbie’s discoveries turned out to be the kind of intervention that would not only help take care of her social media, but also do the work of 3 team members.

And this is when she decided to hand things over to OrangeTwig.

She soon found out that the app combined the skills of a graphic designer + social media marketing professional + scheduler, into one.

It was like getting her hands on the simplest control panel that let her schedule sales, create ‘24 hours only’ buying frenzies with the Daily Deal feature, promote coupons and generate a slew of social media posts to be posted automatically on her Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Tumblr accounts.

“The engagement has increased since using this app…There are far more likes for each post than before.”

The USP that caught Debbie’s attention was the Marketing Plan which gives the user an insight to the frequency and timings of posts on each social channel, along with the captions that include customized text like shop name, product name, and discount details. The user though still retains all control and can change each and every element of the plan.

“There was no trouble understanding the app. The whole set-up is very easy.  I think though, that I did have to ask a couple of questions right at the beginning, but all sorted out easily.”

Using Social Media Engagement For Facebook Ad Strategy

Within a few months Debbie has not only learnt how to work the app to maximize her social media efforts but also made the app part of her overall marketing strategy for the store.

Muscat Gems Debbie Sutherland

Currently, Debbie’s efforts are concentrated on bringing in more traffic and building trust. This means investing in Google & Facebook ads to help her widen the net. And the payback also reflects in her growing social following numbers for Muscat Gems.

Then, it is a simple case of letting OrangeTwig do the talking on her behalf.

Her favorite feature ‘Auto Pilot’ helps her promote latest arrivals, collections, and even her entire store. This set and forget feature is easily responsible for 25% of the monthly traffic to her store, bringing in a little over 1000 visits. With an average CPC (Cost-Per-Click) on Facebook ads for the retail industry at $.70, that’s worth at least $700 per month!

With her website traffic to sales conversion maintaining the ecommerce average of 3%, Debbie is in a good space.

And the traffic from these posts helps her close the loop because these followers/customers can then be re-targeted through Facebook ads, and also help in finding her lookalike audiences. All in all, a good exercise in expanding the sales funnel!

“Without this feature I would have to spend hours posting everyday. It would be a 7 day working week without being able to stop.  I literally could not run my business without this feature. It would be impossible to manually keep your followers engaged.”

Engagement reigns supreme when it comes to riding the algorithm for any social channel. The algorithm spares no one whether it be a big brand or even a seller like Debbie. Facebook, for example, limits a post’s reach to 2% of the total number of followers. AND it cuts down the reach of the next post if engagement on the previous one was poor.

To counteract this, Debbie creates engagement building posters through OrangeTwig, encouraging followers to like, comment with their product preference, and even tag a friend in a post.  

This not only keeps her engagement levels high but also helps her gain an insight that then guides her ad strategy as well.

“The posters with the ‘Tag a friend’ or asking to choose which product [buyers] prefer works well.  It is also quite interesting as I have identical jewellery items that are available in different gemstones, knowing what type they prefer means I can target that particular item for a promotion.”

The Results Are ‘Spiked’

In the six months that Muscat Gems has been with OrangeTwig Debbie has already seen an 11% spike in sales. And to keep this figure on the up and up Debbie is focussing on developing and growing her Instagram following with the help of the app.

She uses OrangeTwig’s Instagram certified ‘Instasuccess Toolkit’ to research one of the most important things on this social channel – hashtags. Using the right hashtags with her post helps her in attracting the right kind of target customer.

All she does is enter tags that she thinks will go along with the post and the Hashtag Research tool instantly throws up trending and related hashtags that she should consider and the frequency with which they are being used.

This helps Debbie mix up her 30 hashtags limit with high density and low density tags, essential to bringing in traffic.

With OrangeTwig in her arsenal Debbie is sure that she is going to stay on track to achieving her goals.

“All businesses have to use social media, there is no choice in the matter, so finding time to constantly engage without OrangeTwig taking care of my posts is unthinkable.”