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Blue Nile drives mobile purchases via app

Blue Nile Inc. is driving purchases via a revamped mobile shopping app that features an enhanced consumer  experience and a broader selection of products.

The updated shopping app was introduced this week and provides access to the company’s full jewelry line as well as inline checkout. Additionally, consumers from more than 40 countries can now purchase in their local currency directly through the app’s shopping card. 

“Our customers have signaled that mobile is the way they want to shop and we will be supporting this way more and more going forward,” said John Baird, director of brand and corporate communications at Blue Nile, Seattle.

“When we look out two to five years in the future, we believe mobile is going to be a large percentage of our overall sales,” he said.

Big payoff
Online jewelry retailer Blue Nile launched its mobile Web site last spring.

Its first iPhone app was launched in September 2010, providing consumers with the ability to shop for and purchase diamonds and settings. 

More than 200,000 consumers have used the original app so far. The most expensive item purchased via the app to date was valued at over $250,000.

Blue Nile expects its sales in mobile will be in the millions of dollars this year.

Already, 20 percent of consumers are using both their mobile device as well as a PC to shop for jewelry on Blue Nile.

Because jewelry, and especially a diamond engagement ring, is a considered purchase, many shoppers are using their mobile device to do comparison shopping and may make their final purchase through a PC, per Mr. Baird.

The revamped app features a more robust shopping cart.

Previously, consumers were sent to the Web site to checkout and the process was not optimized for mobile Now, the shopping cart is inline in the app.

“This helps increase the ease and the speed of shopping since the user interface and the entire checkout process is optimized for mobile,” Mr. Baird said.

In addition, Blue Nile’s full line of bracelets, necklaces, pendants and earrings are now available for purchase from the app. Prices start at $40 for a pair of sterling silver earrings.

“While diamonds represent the main reason why people shop at Blue Nile, they are not the only reason consumers come to us,” Mr. Baird said.

The navigation has been enhanced to enable consumers to shop by product type, popularity, customer rating and price.

Shoppers can also view Top 10 lists of Blue Nile’s bestselling products as well as gift recommendations.

Local shopping
The international shopping feature enables shoppers to add items to the shopping basket, select the appropriate currency and ship-to-country.

“The ability to be international and transact in local currency is something that our consumers want,” Mr. Baird said.

“Very few shopping carts provide the ability to shop in local currency – this is actually a pretty big breakthrough and super convenient for consumers,” he said.

The app is available to download in the iTunes App store.

One of the most popular features from the original app is the Dream Box, which contains thousands of one-of-a-kind rings. Shoppers can shake their mobile device to see a phone of one of these custom rings.

App users can view each ring’s details and view similar diamonds. They can also be saved, email and share rings via Facebook.

The hero feature from the original app is the ability to view more than 70,000 diamonds. It enables consumers who are shopping for a diamond engagement ring to search diamonds by specific criteria so they can comparison shop.

This feature has been updated in the new app with enhanced visualization and the ability to shop by ring style.

“Our customer is very much an early adopter, someone who is confident shopping for this product online and, increasingly, in mobile,” Mr. Baird said.

Final Take
Chantal Tode, Assoc. Editor, Mobile Commerce Daily