Blue Nile, the online jewelry store, continues to draw up blueprints for physical storefronts, as it tries to wed internet sales to a brick-and-mortar presence.
The Seattle-based company announced this week it plans to open a store, which the company calls a “webroom,” this summer in Tysons Corner Center mall in Fairfax County, Va. This would be Blue Nile’s third physical storefront and first outside the state of New York. The company’s first bricks-and-mortar location opened at the Roosevelt Field Mall in Garden City, and has another planned for White Plains, New York, later this year.
Blue Nile, founded in 1999, is aiming to offer customers the convenience of internet shopping while providing physical storefronts where precious stones can be seen and touched. At the stores, customers can size up the items but all transactions remain online “via in-store tablets and with the help of non-commissioned consultants,” the company said.
Julie Yoakum, Blue Nile’s chief merchandising officer, said in a statement: “The Webroom is on the other end of the spectrum from traditional jewelry stores, in terms of both physical look and shopping experience. We’re going to shock some people, in a good way.”
Blue Nile needs to get this webroom strategy right. The company is trying to rally from a disappointing 2015. Sales in the fourth quarter, as well as the company’s fiscal fourth quarter, fell short of analyst expectations. The jeweler reported sales of $150 million for the fourth quarter, down 4.8 percent from the year-ago period, and short of the $165.5 million analysts expected. For the year, revenue came in at $480.1 million, a slight increase from 2014, but still well below the $498 million Wall Street predicted.