Blue Nile Opening 3 or 4 Stores Next Year

Blue Nile will open three to four more brick-and-mortar locations in 2016, CEO Harvey Kanter told the B. Riley & Co. and Great American Group Consumer Conference on Sept. 16. 

Kanter did not specify the locations of the new “webrooms,” as the company calls them. So far, the company has limited the stores to states in which it charges sales tax (New York and Washington), but Kanter hinted the store may eventually venture beyond that. 

“The belief is that, at some point, we will see the Marketplace Fairness Act maybe pass and sales tax for Internet retailers maybe happen,” he said. “And we want to make sure we have a road map.” 

Its first webroom, in Garden City, N.Y., has a small, 479-square-foot selling space, which keeps costs down, Kanter has said.

He said that first store has seen strong traffic as well as “measurably better conversion.”

“We have a thesis that if you could see, touch, and feel [the items], conversion would measurably grow,” he said, adding that the store has so far exceeded expectations. 

Spokesman Josh Holland said the company “may evolve the concept execution” based on what it’s learned from its first webroom.

The company will also run a TV commercial this fall to rectify a “lack of awareness for the brand,” Kanter said.

The sample spot he showed featured an intimidating retail jewelry sales associate and ends with: “Blue Nile. Buying a ring any other way is ridiculous.”

“We are not looking for this to go national,” he said. “You won’t see this ad all over TV. We are using very efficient, selected targeting.”

The company has generally been reluctant to do TV advertising, though it ran a few ads in 2011 and a substantial campaign when the site first debuted as Blue Nile in 2000 and 2001.

JCK News Director