design:retail - January 2016 - (Page 20)

clicks & mortar 020 SOMETHING OLD, SOMETHING NEW C HECK OFF ANOTHER e-tailer headed down the bricks-and-mortar aisle. Seattle-based Blue Nile popularized and perfected the process of buying a diamond sight unseen through online education and a wide selection of diamonds for every budget. Not only did Blue Nile make its name by simplifying and demystifying the purchase of an engagement rock, it undercut traditional jewelers' markups by 20 to 40 percent. But the coming-of-age Millennial generation signaled a change in approach. While they might be unconventional in other areas, it seems marriage and engagement rings are still on the table for these couples. In 2013, Blue Nile engaged Nordstrom, which placed Blue Nile-branded jewelry cases in two stores, for a little test (since ended). Based on its success there, Blue Nile took the plunge, opening a 470-sq.-ft. "webroom" (rather than a showroom) in Long Island's Roosevelt Field Mall. True to its digital roots, Blue Nile's in-store experience bears little resemblance to traditional jewelers. However, the storefront is in keeping with JANUARY 2016 DESIGNRETAILONLINE.COM its mall-based neighbors-and that is definitely by design says Ken Nisch, chairman of Southfield, Mich.-based JGA. In fact, shoppers can see inside the entirety of the store from the lease line. Materials are modern, with see-through qualities designed to appeal to the Millennial sensibility of transparency and accessibility. Like the Blue Nile website, the in-store experience is simple. "They purposely stayed away from visual cues found in traditional jewelry stores," Nisch explains. "They wanted a high-tech look that skewed more toward the place where diamonds are cut, polished and graded." An illuminated back wall is loaded with changing brand content that connects customers to Blue Nile's heritage, plus plenty of references to a diamond's sparkle and brilliance. But shoppers won't find any real diamonds inside to consider. Instead, the more than 250,000 stones on offer can be navigated with the assistance of a tablet-toting store consultant. The selection of ring settings is actual and housed in three jewelry cases. With the virtual stone and actual setting selected, the sale can be completed and the final product retrieved in-store at a later date. The perfect marriage of convenience. - Janet Groeber Photos by RODERICK AICHINGER http://www.DESIGNRETAILONLINE.COM

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of design:retail - January 2016

design:retail - January 2016
Editor’s Note
Show Talk
On Trend
We Love This!
Designer Picks
Clicks & Mortar
Have You Heard?
The Visual Eye
Searching for Steve Jobs
Searching for Steve Jobs
Winning Windows
Visual Eye
Visual Products

design:retail - January 2016