By Laura Kuhn
Montreal, Canada–Years ago, Pinny Gniwisch, executive vice president of jewelery site Ice.com, went out with a woman who wore staggeringly high heels. Gniwisch laughed at them initially, but when later in the night they snapped in a sewer-grate he held her up by the arm and offered her his own shoes.
Gniwisch, 38, is now married to the woman, no doubt in large part thanks to his charm. In fact, as executive vice president of Ice.com, a discount jewelery website, he has made a business out of wooing. Currently in what he describes as the “customer acquisition” phase of his business, Gniwisch uses a variety of marketing tools to attract customers.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” the ordained rabbi says paraphrasing the Hebrew scholar Hillel, of his business philosophy.
In this vein, Gniwisch’s company is careful to provide excellent customer service. When shopping on other websites, he takes notes on his treatment and reports back to his team at Ice.com. Additionally, he employs a person to scour twitter and the internet for bad reports in order to pacify dissatisfied customers.
The company focuses heavily on marketing, spending 40% of its revenue on it. It places a particular emphasis on social media. Pinny and his 97-person team have written blogs, tweeted and made youtube videos with rappers Three 6 Mafia.
This Valentine’s Day ice.com is holding a contest on Facebook for Best Valentine’s Day Love Story. The winner will receive a topaz and diamond pendant and chain worth $3, 750 retail.
Next to Christmas, Valentines Day is Ice.com’s most profitable holiday. This year they expect to earn 15% of their revenue from Valentine’s Day sales of heart and key pendants, silver bracelets and diamond rings.
Valentine’s Day is also a big holiday for Pinny. This year he plans to romance his wife at the W hotel where he will take her for drinks at the bar and have the doorman causally offer up the room. No doubt, he’ll be noting the customer service.