Jewelry Industry’s Clicks and Bricks model turns successful

[Image Courtesy: The Plunge]

Ritani, which was a wholesaler earlier, has transformed into an USD 50 Mn online jewelry company. It is the 40th Most Promising Company of America according to the Forbes’s list. The online jewelry company sells mainly engagement rings, wedding jewelry along with the other diamond jewelry. Started retailing in 2012, it gets 8 million unique views a year. Julius Klein Group, one of the largest manufacturers of diamonds in the US, partly owns Ritani because it understands the power of internet, according to a representative of the Klein group.

Being online has helped Ritani gain consumer insights to boost sales. But this is not the only reason behind its success. The major reason is the way it chose to position itself. Ritani has used strengths of both, ‘online’ and ‘brick and mortar’ business models to find the golden mid-way and be future ready.

Limitations of E-commerce are bigger for Diamond Industry. Physically handling and trying the product is one of the most important factors in high ticket purchases like diamond jewelry. Brick and Mortar jewelry shops in today’s world seem to be giving a tough fight to the online counterparts by enhancing customer shopping experience, providing customers with education and right guidance for their purchases, highlighting celebrity endorsements etc.

To tackle these obstacles, Ritani has found ‘Clicks and Bricks’ model, in which it has partnered with independent jewelers across the country. Customers can browse products, custom design and order a product online from Ritani’s website, and after a week, visit the local store to try the ordered product on. Customer can also deny buying the product. But Mark Keeney, VP – Marketing says, “the close rates are very, very high’.

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The 230 brick and mortar jewelers who partnered with Ritani have the exclusive rights to their own zip code. They get percentage of profit of any sale within their area, even if customers order products to their own residential addresses. A hundred year old company Wilson & Son, now owned by Michael Wilson in Westchester, collaborated with Ritani about two years ago. He was excited by the idea of partnership when he was approached.

He says, “The traffic through our door had waned because there was too much competition on the internet… as a regional store, I don’t have the same marketing power that Ritani does.”  While expressing his content with this partnership, he says, “Westchester is a very affluent community but there’s a very high level of intimidation when it comes to walking into a jewelry store. It’s brought me a slightly younger demographic and a more culturally and economically diverse demographic. It’s created some terrific relationships.”

2015 was the best year for Ritani , with USD 75 million in revenue. The company gives most of the credit of this success to the ‘clicks and bricks’ model. Similarly, several other jewelers worldwide have started adopting this hybrid business model.

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