Personalization Audit: Pura Vida

We've got a lot to unpack in our Personalization Audit for Pura Vida so we'll get right to it.

Pura Vida personalization strategy audit

True hustlers are always thinking of their next big business idea - even when vacationing on the beach! At least, that's what you might deduce after hearing the backstory of Shopify Plus brand Pura Vida.

Two friends were on a Costa Rica surfing trip when they encountered some local artisans selling handmade bracelets. The friends purchased a few hundred of the bracelets in an effort to help out the artisans, and sold out in days when they began distributing them locally in the U.S.

This initial pilot, largely done out of goodwill, sparked a big wave of inspiration to partner with independent artisans around the world to create an endless lineup of jewelry designs. Today Pura Vida donates millions of dollars to charities annually while selling an expanded range of jewelry; from their classic handwoven styles to collabs with major brands like Disney. Pura Vida also broke ground by using a subscription model to grow their business; a model that was typically associated with replenishable products only (like beauty or food). Today the brand is generating over $70M per year. Not bad for a couple of surf bums-turned-entrepreneurs!

When it comes to our expectations for personalization on the Pura Vida site, it's actually pretty similar to the goals of a site like Fashion Nova or Princess Polly: Take your massive product catalog and scale it down to be accessible to shoppers based on their preferences and personal tastes.

What Pura Vida got right

  • Product detail page cross-sells: Highlighting ways to 'complete the look' makes perfect sense for this accessories line. By positioning products high up on the page and having the ability to select their options right from the original product detail page, Pura Vida is making it a cinch to cross-sell matching looks. The brand could take things a step further by offering complete looks as one-click bundles, potentially by offering a discount if all items are purchased.
  • Product detail page recommendations: Pura Vida also includes recommendations on their PDP pages that are less about curating a look, and more about driving customers to other similar products on their site, in case there's another item that's more on point with what they're looking for.
  • Home page grid: We love a grid layout for product recommendations, and Pura Vida has given up a hefty chunk of real estate on their home page that automatically adapts to what a customer is interested in. This is a great way to recognize returning shoppers (even those who haven't made a purchase) and shorten the time to value for them to get exactly where they want to go.
  • Geographic recognition: Compared to a footwear or outerwear brand, the need to tailor a site experience to geography isn't as critical for a brand like Pura Vida. However, their U.S. and Canada sites are quite different, with unique promotions, different navigation, diverse collection sort order, and even distinct offers (Refer a friend, get $10 in the U.S. versus Give & get 50% off in Canada). The most likely reason why Pura Vida has curated two distinct experiences geographically is they're launching new collections to their domestic market first to maximize profitability with lower shipping costs. Even if that's the case, it is notable that they've advanced the customization between the two sites well beyond adapting to pricing.

Areas for Pura Vida to enhance
  • In-cart cross-sell: On the one hand, if all Pura Vida is aiming for is a small top-up to their order values, throwing in an offer for a 'mystery bracelet' (or ring or mask) feels like such a low financial commitment, the conversion rate is likely to be high (while also helping Pura Vida clear out dead stock). But there is a missed opportunity for an even higher basket size here, by featuring recent views, reinforcing 'complete the look' items, or highlighting 'you may also like' items. Given the brand is also tracking free shipping thresholds in the cart, they could also be cross-selling items to boost orders to hit that free shipping mark.
  • Collection pages: Pura Vida's collections do not reorganize themselves as a shopper starts browsing (curating their collection sort orders seems like an easy win they could be working on). But there is a 'Trending now' box at the bottom of collection pages. However, given some pages have an infinite scroll / lazy load effect (like 'bracelets'), the box can be pretty impossible to get to as it's continually bumped down the page as more products are loaded.

Missed personalization opportunities for

Pura Vida

  • Recent views: Pura Vida doesn't use any recently viewed blocks on their site, which is surprising for a brand with hundreds of SKUs that are relatively similar. A customer could easily get frustrated trying to find the 'blue string bracelet' they'd previously had their eye on without recently viewed boxes.
  • Search: The Pura Vida search pages are pretty generic, and aren't tailored to any buying or browsing behavior a customer has exhibited before conducting a search. Promoting recent views or using their browsing behavior to tailor the search could be a way to make the search pages feel more relevant to shoppers.


Pura Vida has one of the stronger uses of ecommerce personalization that we've seen in our Personalization Audit series to date. What's surprising is how they're missing out on a couple of really easy wins, like promoting recent views, to smooth out the customer experience and help the brand generate that much more revenue.

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