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Conventional segmentation strategies might distinguish singles from families. But the auction site Worthy goes a step further, specifically targeting people who have gone through a divorce that left them with a diamond engagement ring that they no longer want. The company promises not only to help them sell it but also to support them as they redefine their lives after marriage.

For many of these consumers—mostly women—the expensive jewelry represents a sad reminder that they would be glad to be rid of. But selling such a specialized product requires knowledge and expertise that they lack. Putting the ring up for sale on a website seems risky and challenging, and jewelry stores often make relatively low offers, below market value, to purchase the used products. Noting the need in the market, Worthy thus decided to establish a platform that would help the owners sell their rings.

The potential sellers send their diamonds to Worthy, which offers them an estimate of its value. Then the seller can list the item on Worthy’s auction site, with a minimum bid set, and small retailers and dealers bid for it. If no bids meet the minimum, the seller gets her diamond back. If the minimum is met, the diamond is sold, and Worthy takes an approximately 20 percent cut of the purchase price as its commission.

But beyond this specific service, Worthy also promises its clients that it understands the difficult emotional process they are undergoing, so it commits to supporting them in other ways too. Articles on the site address financial strategies, coping mechanisms, and ideas for learning how to socialize again. In addition, customer service representatives with the company are willing to spend substantial time talking with clients, explaining the process they use to value the ring or why bids might not be coming in for the item they are trying to sell.

Worthy’s recognition of the market need appears highly accurate. When it first started, it sparked only about 30 auctions per year, but today, it hosts nearly 100 every day. As more women realize its benefits, word of mouth about the service is spreading rapidly too. It gives them a means to break from the past, provides a potentially lucrative start for their new life, and helps them feel empowered. Such outcomes can be especially meaningful for newly divorced people, many of whom know others who fall into the same segment and thus have vast networks to whom they can recommend the service.

Discussion Questions:

  1. What is Worthy’s segmentation and targeting strategy?
  2. How did Worthy identify this new market?

Source: Alina Tugend, “Company Markets Itself to the Newly Divorced With a Ring to Sell,” The New York Times, December 3, 2017