In the jewelry business, there are many bricks-and-mortar shops, from independent mom-and-pop stores to big brands like Kay Jewelers and Jared. There are also jewelers like Blue Nile that have built their brand online and have a handful of stores sprinkled throughout the country.
But there is one retailer that has been successful with its “clicks-and-bricks” model, after realizing that the internet and storefronts can indeed mix, and well.
As Forbes reported, jewelry company Ritani was once a wholesaler but is now a $50 million business now selling direct to consumers and joining and climbing the ranks of Forbes’ list of America’s Most Promising Companies. The company sells engagement, wedding and other diamond jewelry, and its site gets more than 8 million unique visitors each years. It has a partnership with Julius Klein Group, which is a top U.S. diamond manufacturer, and has received $15 million in funding care of Cantor Fitzgerald.
Ritani’s clicks-and-bricks model allows users to shop and peruse online and have an item they’re interested in shipped to a store to try it on. The company works with more than 230 independent jewelers who have exclusive rights and percentage of profits within the region for Ritani purchases. This model bodes especially well with millennials, who do their research online but still want to see it in person. Especially when shopping for big-ticket items like engagement rings, many millennials still want the champagne in store as they try on the gems. Even if the shoppers don’t end up coming into the store, if they purchase online and fall within the ZIP code of a partnering store, the store gets that percentage.
The model has worked well and Vice President of Marketing Mark Keeney told Forbes that “the close rates are very, very high.”
Just two-and-a-half years ago, the brand added another feature to the model. In certain stores, each engagement ring is embedded with a microchip synched up to an iPad app, allowing customers in the store to see the specifics of the piece on screen and to instantly customize it.
In 2015, Ritani had its best year yet, finishing with $75 million in revenue and giving much of the credit to the clicks-and-bricks model.