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Articles from DIAMOND JEWELLERY (975 Articles), RINGS - ENGAGEMENT (220 Articles), DISPLAYS - SHOWCASES & CABINETS (17 Articles)










Online diamond and jewellery retailer Blue Nile is set to open a standalone, bricks-and-mortar store
Online diamond and jewellery retailer Blue Nile is set to open a standalone, bricks-and-mortar store

Blue Nile shifts to bricks-and-mortar retailing

In a move that arguably highlights the increasing importance of multi-channel retailing, online diamond and jewellery business Blue Nile has announced it will open a bricks-and-mortar store.

During a recent fourth quarter earnings conference call, Blue Nile president and CEO Harvey Kanter told investors the company would be trialling “a standalone showcase store”.

“What's critical for us is not just getting online customers to buy from Blue Nile, but also getting bricks-and-mortar customers to shift online,” Kanter commented, adding that customer migration to online retailing had been slower for jewellery than other product categories.

This is not the first time the US-based online retailer has tested the value of having a physical presence.

Harvey Kanter, Blue Nile president and CEO
Harvey Kanter, Blue Nile president and CEO

As previously reported by Jeweller, Blue Nile signed an agreement with US fashion retail chain Nordstrom in August last year to install displays in two of its stores. While this allowed customers to personally handle and examine the products, they were still required to complete purchases through the Blue Nile website.

Blurring retail channels

Kanter described the new venture as a “web room experience” and explained that the store would operate in a similar way to the Nordstrom tests in that customers would be able to see and feel products and speak to diamond jewellery consultants, but that sales transactions would be completed online via an in-store tablet.

This retail format would reportedly keep overhead costs to a minimum so that the company could maintain its competitive pricing.

Details were also provided on how the Nordstrom tests – which Kanter deemed a success – had informed the company’s plans for its new store: “What we’ve seen is what we believe to be a meaningful number in terms of revenue, conversion, growth, and the ability to engage consumers in the concepts of see, touch and feel.”

Although the location for the store was not disclosed, Kanter did say it would be in a leading US shopping centre. No further details were provided in terms of timing or whether the Nordstrom partnership would continue.

Blue Nile’s move follows news that Amazon would also open its first bricks-and-mortar store. While it doesn’t appear that, as rumoured, the online retail giant opened a physical store in time for Christmas, it did launch a pick-up and drop-off location at a US university on 3 February.   

Figures at a glance

Blue Nile’s top level 2014 financial results for the fourth quarter and fiscal year, ended 4 January 2015, were as follows:

• Fourth quarter sales increased 7.9 per cent to US$157.4 million (AU$202.5 m), compared to the previous corresponding period
• Full year sales increased 5.2 per cent to US$473.5 million (AU$609.3 m), compared to the previous corresponding period
• Fourth quarter income totalled US$4.8 million (AU$6.2 m), down from US$4.9 million (AU$6.3 m) in 2013
• Full year income totalled US$9.7 million (AU$12.5 m), down from US$10 million (AU$12.9 m) in 2013.

More reading
Blue Nile’s ups and downs
Amazon rumoured to trial brick-and-mortar store
Internet-only retailers start to slow











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