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Blue Nile Coming to You

Big news for online jewelry store Blue Nile! For those of you who don’t recognize the company name, you’re not alone. Blue Nile’s stock has dropped more than 44% in the last year, and analyst Rick Patel believes this is largely due to lack of brand recognition. In 1999 Blue Nile became one of the first online ­only retailers of jewelry and today maintains a title as one of the largest.  Since that time, however, traditional jewelry stores, like Tiffany’s and Kay, have expanded into the virtual sphere, a presence that Blue Nile has begun to feel. Now that nearly every company has a webpage, Blue Nile has lost some of the exclusivity of its easy online service, and it doesn’t offer the benefit of a visual and kinetic buying experience. Especially when purchasing jewelry, people may want to see and ­­ more importantly ­­try on before they buy. Without a physical presence, that was one request BlueNile could not accommodate.

But CEO Harvey Kanter has not let this challenge go unresolved. Early last year Blue Nile set up showcases in a few Nordstrom stores, where customers could interact with the jewelry before ordering online.  Now, one year later, after having deemed this”experimental venue” a success, Blue Nile plans to open its very first freestanding brick­ and ­mortar outlet in the United States.  This venture is still exclusively for showcasing, which means customers will not be able to physically purchase items in the store, but it does allow them to interact with both products and employees in person. (They also plan to set up on­site tablets so that customers can order purchases online before ever leaving the store.) Information regarding future locations is still pretty vague, so be sure to keep an eye out for a Blue Nile opening near you!

 

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