Ramble On Ron

Diamonds, Music and other Facets of Life

When Will The Big Jewelry Companies WAKE UP?

Posted on | December 10, 2010 | 12 Comments

I was reading my friend Rob Bates’s column in JCK Online, Diamond Shavings, and came across this article about Blue Nile and their plans for mobile over the next few years. From the article:

But a phone call from a customer during the 2009 holiday season put the future into better perspective, says Diane Irvine, Blue Nile’s CEO.

“We had one gentleman, a customer who called us from a chairlift and placed an order for a product of over $40,000,” she recalled. “So we knew there was something there.”

Yes Diane, it’s smart for you all to be thinking about mobile and the fact that young guys getting engaged may want to buy diamonds on their phones or iPads. But what struck me the most was this retort from Signet Jewelers, one of the largest jewelry companies in the world:

But Signet Jewelers (SIG), which operates Kay Jewelers and Jared, two of the largest jewelry store chains, says Blue Nile’s strategy to allow more price comparison via mobile devices won’t dent its sales.

“Our customers tell us the in-store experience is the most valuable, particularly when you are trying to talk customers through carat, color, clarity and cut” of diamonds, said Signet spokesman David Bouffard.

David, you are missing it! What you should be thinking is how to beat Blue Nile at their own game. You should be

WAKE UP!

WAKE UP!

thinking about how to make a bigger and badder mobile app and experience for your customers. Do you still think that the internet is going away? I wish I had your cash and resources so I could do some really cool stuff, but I don’t…yet. However, Signet and Zale Corportaion, whose revenue was down 14% from last year, need to think outside the box.

From the Wall Street Journal:

Jewelry stocks like Signet Jewelers, owner of Kay Jewelers, and Zale suffered even more because they depend on appetite for high-dollar purchases.

Maybe they could use a few $40,000 purchases, dont’ you think?

WAKE UP big boys or you”ll be gone soon!

Comments

  • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

    I tend to agree and disagree. They are missing the boat if they are ignoring it, but I dont think the key is to beat blue nile at the game. Quite frankly, they wont. Blue Nile has too much of a lead there and too much invested in what’s next. What they can do is figure out how to reinvent the game. Figure out how this fits their model. How it helps drive customers into the store. Sure, they should also be enabling sales… but can the really beat blue nile at what blue nile does best?

  • http://www.RambleOneRon.com Ron Samuelson

    Hey Mike – thanks for the comment – hope you’re well. No they probably can’t beat Blue Nile, but it’s just such a typical comment from Signet. Their response read to me like mobile is not important – all of our customers want to come in and that’s how it will be forever. I will say this, they could definitely create a better mobile app then Blue Nile if they cared to try…

  • http://twitter.com/ronsamuelson Ron Samuelson

    Hey Mike – thanks for the comment – hope you’re well. No they probably can’t beat Blue Nile, but it’s just such a typical comment from Signet. Their response read to me like mobile is not important – all of our customers want to come in and that’s how it will be forever. I will say this, they could definitely create a better mobile app then Blue Nile if they cared to try…

  • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

    I’d bet good money they are already in development on a mobile experience. They would just never tip their hat.

  • Rob Bates

    Hi guys. Reading this prompted me to look … Neither Kay or Jared has a Facebook page, or twitter feed. On the one hand, they are an extremely successful company, so I assume they know what they are doing. Still, I’m a little struck by that. Perhaps it’s because they are a conservative company and facebook pages can often be a headache. (Blue Nile’s page just became overrun by anti-Israel posters.)

  • http://twitter.com/ronsamuelson Ron Samuelson

    They probably are after reading my post! :)

  • http://twitter.com/ronsamuelson Ron Samuelson

    Hi Rob – thanks for the comment. I think that they just haven’t put the time into social media yet, that’s all. If you have any contacts over there, send them my way – I can help them! :-)

  • http://michaelschechter.me MSchechter

    I doubt it is the headache, it is far more likely that they do not have a strategy or at team to make it meaningful and just decided that staying away is better than doing it wrong. Something tells me both companies will move into mobile and social, but that they won’t just throw up a page. They are very intentional about their brand and I assume they will be very intentional about the way they handle these two essential online aspects.

  • http://twitter.com/ronsamuelson Ron Samuelson

    Zales earnings have been going down for quite a while now, and I personally have no idea what their brand is. Don’t expect anything wonderful from them IMO…

  • Adam Kay

    Ron: you’ve clearly not bothered to actually look at the Jared website…they have many of the tools that BN have – and more. I guess their conservative culture stops them crowing about their achievements. Given their same store sales performance, I wouldn’t be so quick to condemn them…

  • http://twitter.com/ronsamuelson Ron Samuelson

    Hi Adam, Thanks so much for your comment. I see you’ve copied BN’s diamond search on your website so perhaps you can do the same with their app. I looked up GIA one carat E VS1′s and VVS1′s on your site and compared them to BN’s – yours are anywhere from $2-$4,000 more. Are you selling a lot of them online only? Anyway, Jared has done a fantastic job with their stores. I wish I saw more GIA’s in store from Jared than IGI deep stones, (I buy a lot of them from customers) but you know where your profit is. My only question is why would your rep answer that way? Anyway, as Adam Kay, head of investor relations, I’m sure you’re doing a great job. After all, you have the biggest in the world and I am just a little guy calling it like I see it. I would also love to see you all with a facebook page, as Rob noted. Best of luck and thanks again for your comment and for reading my blog!

  • http://DiamondsColumbia.com John Moseley

    Mobile is definitely a big factor for the future in jewelry sales!