History of Blue Nile
The entity that would eventually go on to become what we now know as Blue Nile has its origins in 1995. This started out when Doug Williams of the eponymous company Williams & Son Inc. based in Seattle, Washington created a website called www.internetdiamonds.com with the purpose of selling diamonds online. Soon after this in 1998, Bain & Company management consultant Mark C. Vadon, who would go on to become the first CEO of Blue Nile, bought a diamond engagement ring from Doug’s website, having become interested in it as the result of his very own frustration with his countless futile attempts to find the right diamond engagement ring, coming across the realization that diamonds were basically just another commodity he needed to learn about in order to make the best pricing and purchasing decisions possible given the information and available options. A year after all this, Mark C. Vadon would go on to raise six million dollars in order to buy eighty five percent of the retailer and refurbish the website layout in order to attract new customers, forming a partnership that would lead into the world of venture capital. The name officially became “Blue Nile” near the end of that very same year in November. Over the following year, Blue Nile was able to raise another forty four million dollars and attract a variety of well known investors including Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Bessemer Venture Partners. Then in May of the year 2004, Blue Nile managed to amass seventy six million dollars for its initial public offering (IPO), which would go on to be managed by Bear Stearns Cos., Thomas Weisel Partners LLC, and Merrill Lynch & Co., among all of whom amounts of nearly five and a half million dollars would go on to be shared. The IPO of shares in the Blue Nile company rose by thirty nine percent during the very first day of trading. Unfortunately for the Blue Nile company, it would go on to lose sixty eight percent of all the revenue that it had managed to amass in the year 2000, though a year later the company’s investors invested another seven million dollars, which helped offset this loss to a degree. Six years later, the Blue Nile company sold nearly two hundred million dollars in wedding bands and diamond engagement rings in comparison to sales by competing company Tiffany & Co. which amounted to eleven million dollars less than those of Blue Nile. Five years after this near the end of the year 2011 in the month of November, Diane Irvine who had been a part of the company for a grand total of 12 years and was CEO of the Blue Nile company for three of those years suddenly abdicated her position without prior warning, and was temporarily replaced by Vijay Talwar, the general manager of international as well as the senior vice president, who in turn was replaced by Harvey Kanter, formerly the CEO of MooseJaw, in March of the year 2012. With net sales and net income of four hundred and seventy three million dollars and nearly ten million dollars, respectively, as of the year 2015, Blue Nile prides has itself in being committed to ethically engaging in business and sourcing diamonds free from origins stemming from conflict and crime, all with an airtight policy of zero tolerance. During the summer of that very same year, Blue Nile went on to open their very first showroom at the Roosevelt Field Mall located in Long Island, New York, with new showrooms opened at many other malls in many other parts of the country since that time. This illustrious track record of Blue Nile culminates in its reception of the prestigious Bizarre Circle of Excellence Award during the succeeding year of 2016.
What Makes Blue Nile Stand Out
Things that make Blue Nile stand out are an unparalleled work ethic and constant desire for improvement and innovation, which have consistently bolstered customers’ confidence in and satisfaction with their purchases. One innovation that Blue Nile implemented was the three hundred and sixty degree ring display, allowing consumers to see what exactly they expect to buy and receive, without the usual discrepancies that result in customers being limited to a few select stores and limited display options beforehand. Not only is this important for customer satisfaction safeguarded by saved trips to the jewelry store, the ability to see diamonds in their proper three dimensional shape, symmetry and clarity are almost essential to make informed purchase decisions that one cannot make solely from the listed specifications on paper. While brick and mortar jewelry stores are often characterized by limited viewing times, travel burdens, biased salesmen driven by commissions, and passed down storage costs, Blue Nile removes many of these inconveniences beforehand, allowing the focus to be on customer satisfaction and service quality. Having adopted Amazon’s model of keeping a large inventory worth millions dollars without the expenses of maiming them there, Blue Nile has a breathtakingly massive inventory of engagement rings to select from. Not only that, it’s streamlined business model allows it to offer them to customers at very reasonable prices. Despite the size and variety of their inventory, there is no compromise in ethics, as all their engagement ring diamond are certified to be conflict free, having been sourced legitimately. To top it all off, they are all easily available to be seen on the company’s website beforehand in the form of videos. Blue Nile‘s main product was engagement rings. As a result, Blue Nile initially lagged behind a bit in regards options that weren’t bridal or matrimonial in nature. This is no longer the case now, and in addition to the presence of an impeccable quality that has not been compromised, there is an even wider selection that has steadily been growing for customers to choose from. Quality remains constant across many different choices.
Outstanding Consumer Experience
While finding the right engagement ring with excellent quality and at a reasonable price is the primary goal of customers, the experience of purchasing the item and dealing with the company from whom you are buying it is extremely important in maintaining the reputation of the company and getting customers to return and new ones to buy the company’s products. Even a high quality ring may not have good sales to match if the customer service is not so satisfactory. Given this reality, Blue Nile provides 24/7 customer support, with staff possessing an extensive technical expertise and unfaltering willingness to answer questions and resolve issues for their customers. Blue Nile also offers customers free shipping so as to minimize any discomfort the customer might have over the transit of such a sensitive, personal and valuable item. The company figures it is the least they can do. In addition, Blue Nile offers easy returns within a 30 day period. This is to further ensure that for a product that is not seen directly prior to purchasing it, there is minimal risk on the part of the customer.
Our Secret Shopping Experience: Buying Online from Blue Nile
Blue Nile has a website with an accessible interface that makes the purchasing process fast and free of hassle. Once a product is ordered from the site, it takes just a few days to deliver to the customers residence, with status notifications provided every step of the way to assure the customer. Adding to this is the fact that the ordered item will arrive in a lovely box with nice packaging to pull together the experience. The process of returning the item is as easy as that of receiving it. After a fast and painless phone conversation with a representative from the company, you will receive a return label with which you can drop off your package, with the issued refund showing up after a few days and on your next credit card bill.
How to buy a diamond ring on Blue Nile
Even with all the available information provided, the process of buying an item from Blue Nile can still be a challenge, especially if it’s your first time doing so. The best solution then is to simply call and talk to a representative from Blue Nile so that you the valued customer can be personally guided throughout the process and maybe even given personalized recommendations at every single step along the way. However, asking yourself three things to consider before you buy anything can help you narrow down just what exactly it is that you may be looking for. The first thing to consider is setting your budget. You should spend however much you are comfortable with, being flexible but staying within your allotted range. Paying a bit more than desired for a much more desired ring is probably worth it, but try not to fall into the salesman’s trap of assuming that because a diamond ring is costlier it must necessarily be bigger or of proportionately better value or quality. Focus on the item you want, not the cost or specifications alone. The next thing to consider is the shape of the diamond. Like budget, this is something you must decide for yourself ultimately based on personal preference. However, there are some general rules of thumb to help you do so. For one, a rounder diamond is certainly going to be more brilliant than others, as well as being costlier per weight of each carat. The last thing to consider is itself comprised of two additional things to ask yourself. The first question is approximately what proportion of the overall budget will be taken up by the diamond ring setting, because finding the right diamond only to find it can’t fit into a setting that isn’t affordable for your budget. The second issue is that the style of the setting may affect the recommended color grade for your chosen diamond. The gallery on the website for Blue Nile can help you decide if you are having trouble doing so. Once all these questions are considered and answers and all the matters are resolved to satisfaction, the next step, for which following guidelines can greatly help, is to conduct a search with the right filters put in place. Mistakes made in this part of the process can greatly diminish your diamond’s luster and appearance, in turn affecting your decision. The next and last step after this, and unfortunately the most difficult one, is to select the cheapest diamond that is visibly clean and clear. This process, even if done countless times, can still be nearly impossible to master, requiring more intuition than anything. Once again however, as with each and every single step in this entire process, talking directly with a company Blue Nile representative can help you if you feel stuck.
Packaging and Unboxing Video
Though this process has fallen short of expectations in the past, Blue Nile has responded well to criticism and performed better the second time around, which is in itself a big and unsung plus for the company. While the packaging is not quite as elaborate as that which is offered by James Allen, it is nonetheless quite befitting of a luxury brand of diamond engagement rings, with a sleeker and more minimalist modern design, which might in fact be more palatable to some.
Why We Like Blue Nile
There are many good reasons to love Blue Nile, including but by no means limited to their massive selection of quality diamonds, personalized customization that puts the customer satisfaction first, revolutionary imaging software that lets you look at items at many different angles before you buy, impeccable craftsmanship and high standards of manufacturing, excellent 24/7 customer service, a lifelong warranty, and fully refunded returns within a period of thirty days.
Comparing Blue Nile to the Competition
In terms of things like customer service and return and upgrade policies, Blue Nile is very similar to its closest competitor in the world of online jewelry retailers James Allen. However, in certain respects, James Allen outdoes Blue Nile. These include more cutting edge display technology that lets the customer see their purchase in as close to real time as possible and the packaging and unboxing experience, as James Allen sells its merchandise in elegant yet functional and reusable form fitting boxes with miniature compartments that house the documentation.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the most frequently asked questions in regards to buying diamond engagement rings at Blue Nile are whether Blue Nile has an on site showroom in addition to its online store, which it indeed does in New York City and Washington D.C. though only by appointment, whether it offers a life time warranty for repair and maintenance of each and every purchase one of any its items, which it indeed does, whether it offers resizing for each and every purchase one of any its items, which it indeed does for a year after the purchase to add yet another layer of reassurance for the customer, whether it charges a sales tax for purchases of their diamonds, which indeed they do in most states as can be seen on their most recently fully updated list of states, whether the prices of the diamonds purchased from them are low, which they indeed are and quite competitively so both online and in store with a price match offered to you, whether their diamonds are certified by GIA, which the vast majority indeed are and with a filter to select among certifications you wish to see, and last but by no means least whether they offer financing, which it indeed does via a multitude of options, the best being interest deferred over a period of six months, or half of a year.
Blue Nile has been referred to and recommended many times over by many different people and companies, and while everyone has a different personal experience, they mostly seem to be positive. Furthermore, the reasons can generally be boiled down to a common set of reasons. These include but are by no means limited to fantastic quality and selection at decent prices, good customer reviews and referrals and experiences in dealing with the company and its representatives, and last but certainly not least is the cutting edge three hundred and sixty degree virtual visual display that lets customers see and know exactly what they are getting before they actually buy it.
Bottom Line Recommendation
All in all, the bottom line is that based on numerous positive customer reviews and feedback, you are very likely be satisfied with your Blue Nile purchases, as well as with the ordering process itself and interaction with the company and its representatives. Their determination to achieve customer satisfaction and professional perfection, along with their improved technological savvy in the form of adding supplementary videos and their distinctive willingness to accept constructive criticism and make improvements accordingly are among the many things that cement their well deserved prominence in the industry of online diamond sales that is most likely to remain steady into the foreseeable future. Whether or not you ultimately decide to buy something from Blue Nile or not, it certainly can’t hurt to take a look at what they have to offer.