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STORE SPACES

Specialty online jewelry retailer opens first physical store

BY Marianne Wilson

A fast-growing diamond jewelry retailer has make the jump to offline.

JamesAllen.com has opened its first-ever brick-and-mortar location, in the Georgetown area of Washington, D.C. The space is designed to offer an omnichannel experience that integrates the retailer’s digital platform and a physical shopping experience. JamesAllen was acquired last year by Signet Jewelers, the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry.

The store uses virtual reality technology to help educate about diamonds, with customers using a VR headset to view a 3D video (with narration). The best-selling engagement rings are spotlighted on a 10-ft. display table that allows for instant access to the rings without the help of an associate. Other features include a ring try-on photo booth where customers can take pictures with diamond rings, and upload the images to their social channels, with added visual elements including GIFs and animation.

In addition, shoppers can browse JamesAllen’s online selection on tablets at the store’s coffee bar. Store associates are also available to assist customers.

“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,” said Virginia C. Drosos, CEO, Signet Jewelers. “

JamesAllen was founded online in 2006. Its site, which allows customers to personalize rings and other fine jewelry, includes an augmented reality “ring try-on” app and proprietary display technology that shows what each actual diamond looks like from every angle in HD.

For over a decade, JamesAllen.com has offered a savvy base of younger consumers access to beautiful engagement rings and other diamond jewelry. The site currently features:

• More than 200,000 high-quality, certified loose diamonds, each magnified up to 40x and presented in 360° HD.

• Hundreds of customizable ring styles.

• Simplified ‘design your own’ selection process that allows site users to build their dream piece of jewelry online.

Now customers can experience the JamesAllen.com brand in an immersive gallery experience in a physical environment enhanced by the brand’s technology-forward approach to shopping.

JamesAllen.com was acquired last year by Signet Jewelers, the world’s largest retailer of diamond jewelry. Signet seeks to expand its omnichannel strategy by blending e-commerce with brick-and-mortar shopping experiences.

“Our new brick-and-mortar location allows JamesAllen.com to continue innovating and pioneering the future of retail,” said Oded Edelman, co-founder and president of JamesAllen.com. “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.”

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