Upscale Jewelry Firms To Form E-Commerce Site

In an effort to improve the upscale jewelry industry’s relatively minimal use of the mass-merchandising nature of the Internet, 16 upscale brick-and-mortar jewelry manufacturers and retailers are joining together to sell their branded fine jewelry online.

The new site will be “sensitive to the specific concerns of the jewelry industry,” according to its founders, while preserving the high-profile image of fine jewelry.

The companies formed a new group, tentatively dubbed “Designer Jewelry On Line (DJOL),” to establish a sales and service strategy for the online retailing of branded fine jewelry. DJOL will develop the as yet unnamed site, which is slated to go online this summer.

The initial retail participants are Bachendorf’s, Diamond Cellar, Fink’s Jeweler’s, Greve Jewelers, Hamilton Jewelers, Hyde Park Jewelers, Lee Michaels Jewelers, London Jewelers, Lux Bond & Green, and Tivol Jewels.

The manufacturers are Honora, Lagos, Lazare Kaplan International, M. Fabrikant & Sons, Penny Preville and Scott Kay Platinum.

The group is looking to add more companies and a wider variety of jewelry products after it launches the site this summer.

Zale Takes its Own Path

Walking that fine line between selling jewelry to mass markets and maintaining its image has apparently not been easy to do, as evidenced by the relatively low number of brand-name jewelers doing business on the Web.

As reported earlier this month in the E-Commerce Times, Zale made the jump through an alliance with an already established Web property — Weddingchannel.com — that would present Zale as the Web’s authority on fine jewelry.

Unlike Zale, which is looking to help the average consumer master the art of picking out the appropriate gem or piece of fine jewelry, the DJOL site will be positioned as one that “defines luxury, high-quality brand name online retailing — a position currently unoccupied by any e-commerce jewelry competitor.”

The site will go after “the affluent and the style-conscious,” both of which are underrepresented in the e-commerce world, said Joel Schechter, DJOL instigator and president of jewelry manufacturer Honora Co.

Channel Conflict at Issue

By working together, Schechter said the retailers and manufacturers will be able to eliminate the “channel conflict” for certain products, explaining to online shoppers which retailers and manufacturers specialize in which types of products.

“DJOL affiliate retailers and manufacturers both will benefit from technology efficiencies for communications, customer reach, inventory management and supply-chain processes. Both will further benefit from marketing efficiencies of national media and promotion efforts in establishing a ‘mega-brand’ affiliation,” the group said.

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