Signet Jewelers' online diamond bridal jewelry retailer JamesAllen.com has officially opened its new concept retail store in Georgetown, Washington DC. The brick-and-mortar location is a first for the online retailer, and is intended to lure and engage consumers by encouraging them to interact with the product as well as their staff. The initiative launches Signet's effort to draw traffic to their digital platform while tapping into the "immersive" experiential aspect shopping, a combination favored particularly by the younger generations.
“We’re excited to continue executing Signet’s Customer-First OmniChannel strategy with this new shopping experience from JamesAllen.com, integrating both our digital and physical retail platforms,” said Virginia C. Drosos, Chief Executive Officer at Signet Jewelers. “The world-class innovation and technology at the core of JamesAllen.com’s business will come to life in the new location, redefining the jewelry shopping experience for our customers.” Oded Edelman, co-founder and president of JamesAllen.com, said: "This in-store shopping experience in Georgetown brings our brand to life and creates a truly one-of-a-kind immersive experience for our customers.”
The concept store features a virtual reality headset to watch a 3D video to teach customers about the 4Cs and how to make the best decision when buying diamonds, a Coffee Bar with “iGrade” (patented tablet-based technology that enables customers to browse and grade diamond quality online for peer-to-peer preference comparisons) and a ring Try-On Photo Booth that enables customers to take pictures with diamond rings and upload the images to their social channels. It also has a Self-Service Diamond Display Table, which is 10-foot table display featuring best-selling engagement rings, giving customers instant access to diamond rings without needing a key or associate.
National Jeweler's Michelle Graff visited the store at its opening, describing it as "light, airy and open", noting that it is, "not crammed full of showcases that are, in turn, stuffed with jewelry because it is not all about product." Indeed, armed with a coffee bar, interactive technology, green (planted) walls and wearable jewelry, as Signet Chief Digital Innovation Adviser Oded Edelman told her, “This is intended to feel as much like a store as a place to hang out,” Edelman said. "And," Graff remarks, "like Signet or not, the company’s succeeded in this aspect." But, she points out, the objective is more than just entertaining a few customers in a digital playground at one location. Instead, Signet wants to guage reaction before it spends money to expand them into thousands of Kay, Jared and Zales locations. In that sense, Signet intends to use the store as an incubator for testing design plans and digital initiatives for all its brands.
Image Source: James Allen Instagram, @deirdreroache