Blue Nile opens ‘webroom’ in Long Island mall
Blue Nile learned a number of things from its test of jewelry cases at Nordstrom. It learned that most who came to the cases weren’t Nordstrom customers, but people who wanted to shop at Blue Nile in a physical store environment. The online retailer also learned that customers who ordered products through the Nordstrom counters spent eight percent more than those who shopped solely online. After its Nordstrom test, what else could Blue Nile do but open a store of its own?
Last week, Blue Nile announced it would open a 325-square foot "webroom" store in the Roosevelt Field Mall on Long Island. The retailer previously had one of its Nordstrom test cases at the same mall.
"It’s all about carrying on tradition of what made Blue Nile really successful … which is the experience," Blue Nile CEO Harvey Kanter told Yahoo! Finance. "Millennials want to be in the driver’s seat, whether it’s on a PC, phone or tablet, or now in New York, in-store … it’s all about the experience."
The Blue Nile experience in its new webroom, according to The Seattle Times, will involve three cases of jewelry showing various ring styles. One of the six employees on staff will be able to walk customers through the more than 250,000 stones Blue Nile has to offer using "an oversized tablet." Customers, once decided, can then place the order online from the store. Customers can pick their purchases up at the store, which also offers to clean the jewelry for free.
"We’re known for making diamonds and fine jewelry simple by providing education, mobile comparison tools and non-commissioned advice so shoppers can get great quality without overpaying," said Mr. Kanter on an earnings call (via SeekingAlpha) with analysts last month. "And now, we’re giving shoppers in the New York area the chance to try jewelry on in person at our new webroom concept experience at Roosevelt Field on Long Island, testing our no pressure online experience in the physical environment of a retail showroom."
As a number of articles pointed out, Blue Nile is among a small but growing number of online merchants including Amazon and Warby Parker opening showrooms and physical stores as consumers seek to shop when, where and how they find most convenient.
- Blue Nile (NILE) Harvey S. Kanter on Q1 2015 Results (Earnings Call Transcript) – SeekingAlpha
- Blue Nile: Online retailer gets physical with New York store – Yahoo! Finance
- Blue Nile opens first stand-alone store in Long Island mall – The Seattle Times (tiered sub.)
- Nordstrom makes room in stores for online jewelry – RetailWire
Do you expect a significant uptick in the number of e-tailers opening physical shops over the next couple of years? Will most shops opened by e-tailers be full service traditional stores or showrooms like that offered by Blue Nile?