Cover Story: A Beautiful Marriage
"I'm pretty bullish on it," says Flaherty in regards to social commerce. "We have a very long purchase cycle, and I go back to that trust factor. I don't think there's a single consumer that's bought from us that hasn't checked out our Facebook page or Pinterest site to make sure we're legitimate. It may not be the one impetus for purchase, but it's certainly among the many credibility factors that people are looking for. They want to know if the brand is there and is going to respond or is this some fly-by-night organization. Social is very important to that."
Primed for Growth
With the jewelry industry a $180 billion market worldwide ($60 billion in the U.S.), Ritani has begun to look internationally for growth. Working with global e-commerce and international logistics solutions provider Borderfree, Ritani went from shipping only in the U.S. to shipping to over 50 countries worldwide in their local currencies within nine months.
International customers get free shipping and free returns on all purchases, just as U.S.-based customers get. All Ritani shipments, including returns, are fully insured at zero cost to the customer. In addition to selling internationally online, Ritani will soon be launching its free in-store preview program in Canada.
"We find that it's a very compelling proposition in a retail environment that's unique and different than the U.S.," says Watkins about Ritani's in-store preview program coming to Canada. "We think this online component, given the distribution of Canada's population, has great appeal."
Ritani also recently signed a multi-year agreement with GE Capital Retail Bank for a branded private label credit card program. With a 25-year-old to 35-year-old target demographic, Watkins believes this move is a differentiator for Ritani on two levels.
"One, that credibility that we get from our customers and retailers in working with a company like GE Capital," he says. "More importantly, financing is a key part of the jewelry industry. From day one, we've had many consumers come to us and one of their first questions is, 'Do you offer financing?' We're really happy to now be able to say 'yes' to that question."