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Signet to Co-Brand Jared and James Allen

Nov 3, 2020 10:21 AM   By Leah Meirovich
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Signet Jewelers will offer James Allen products in nearly half of its Jared stores through a new, dual-branded model.

The Jared + James Allen locations are part of the jeweler’s efforts to reposition Jared as a more exclusive, luxurious destination, and provide customers with an “elevated and superior” experience, Signet executive vice president and chief marketing officer Bill Brace told Rapaport News Monday.

“That is a tier that Jared has historically been successful at,” Brace noted. “It was the original positioning of Jared, and over the years we saw that we brought Jared down a little bit, and there was a lot of overlapping with some of our sister banners, Kay in particular. But we’ve always seen Jared performing better at the higher price points.”

The combined store is also a way to test James Allen’s performance in brick-and-mortar without too much heavy lifting, Brace said. And while both James Allen and Jared offer many similar products, including a focus on engagement rings, Brace believes there is enough differentiation in the products to avoid overlap.

“James Allen has always been digital, so this allows its customers to come into a store and see the product before they decide to purchase, and for Jared customers, it allows us to bring some of the James Allen aspect of self-exploration so customers can experience the jewelry in a way we haven’t provided before,” he elaborated.

Broadening horizons

In the coming weeks, Jared will have refurbished about 16 stores to include James Allen design elements, with an additional 83 that have the new signage and expanded inventory assortment. The joint stores will primarily feature in areas where James Allen has proven to perform well online, Brace noted.

In total, 40% to 45% of Jared stores will become dual-brand, with the rollout to be completed in the next few weeks. Depending on how those stores fare, Signet may choose to rebrand more. Three test stores, which the company opened last year, have already seen a “terrific” response, Brace said.

Raising the bar

Tying James Allen to Jared is the first step in Signet’s major overhaul of the Jared brand, since the online retailer competes very effectively in the higher tier of the category, Brace noted.

Other steps include offering higher-priced, higher-quality jewelry, including exclusive lines, such as Jared’s Chosen brand, a new collection of Royal Asscher pieces, and Italian gold jewelry line Italia d’ Oro. The company will push further into the lab-grown sector as well.

Signet will also revamp the way the Jared stores operate, creating more of an experience for customers, complete with self-exploration tables. These 10-foot-long tables are to be covered in diamond engagement-ring replicas sorted into groups such as “romantic” or “glamorous.” The arrangement will enable customers to get “up close and personal” with them, hold them and try them on — all on their own, or next to a consultant.

“This enhances the interaction between our customer and the jewelry consultant, because what has historically been a very distinct separation, with [the worker] standing behind the counter with a key, now puts them on the same side of the table, in a very open, collaborative and comfortable environment,” Brace said.

Each store will also feature a Diamond Studio, where consumers can learn more about the different ranges or sizes, colors and cuts.

“The vast majority of customers start their jewelry-purchasing journey online, exploring and educating themselves,” the Signet executive stated. “It’s more self-guided than it’s ever been, and this is a way that they can continue that self-guided shopping experience once they get to the store.”

Signet will also work with social-media influencers and celebrities to help introduce the brand to new audiences, including livestream product launches that allow customers to buy products directly through the event.

Singling out James Allen

For now, physical James Allen stores will only be located in co-branded Jared locations, but Signet hasn’t ruled out launching stand-alone James Allen shops.

“Whether we do or not is still to be determined,” added Brace. “We’ll continue to monitor the performance of the co-branded stores, and the performance and development of the James Allen brand, and make decisions accordingly. I wouldn’t rule it out.”

Image: The new Jared + James Allen store, (top); The self-exploration table, (top right), and the Diamond Studio (bottom, right)
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Tags: Bill Brace, Diamond Studio, James Allen, Jared, Jared + James Allen, kay, Leah Meirovich, Signet, Signet Jewelers
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