Independent jewelry retailers have a new option to broaden their market reach — an online site called Bright Society.
The consumer-facing site is the latest addition from White Pine Trading, one of the largest recycled diamond and jewelry trading companies. The aim is to give independent jewelers an accessible and affordable e-commerce solution, and provide shoppers with access to a diverse online inventory held by bricks-and-mortar stores.
According to the company web site, White Pine traded more than $100 million worth of recycled diamonds and jewelry in 2014. The recycled gems are removed from jewelry, aggregated, sorted, recut and sold back to the industry for use in new jewelry. Its four main service offerings are buying and selling surplus jewelry inventory; retail partnerships such as store buy-back programs and in-store buying events; certifying diamonds, and experience in valuing estate and antique jewelry.
U.S. Census Bureau data indicates that in 2015, total U.S. retail jewelry store sales were $30.54 billion, up 0.07 percent from $30.51 billion in 2014. Annual growth in global industry sales is projected at 5 to 6 percent, including both in-store sales and those online. Further, according to White Pine, in-store sales remain stagnant and closures in traditional retail channels are at an all-time high, with e-commerce at the forefront of the projected annual sales growth. The company cited data from comScore and M-Commerce Measurement indicating that across e-commerce channels, when comparing 2016 and 2015, the jewelry and watch category saw total retail digital commerce dollars — in billions — grow by 39 percent. That compares with apparel and accessories, which saw growth of just 20 percent for the same period.
Last month, White Pine expanded its buying service to better meet the needs of independent jewelers. The newest option gives independents the ability for specialized bulk purchasing for events such as store closings, and a new purchasing process that allows them to liquidate any amount of inventory for competitive cash pricing or trade-in value.
The company also showed its first-ever house label, WPJ, last month at JCK Las Vegas. The collection is comprised of one-of-a-kind pieces using colored diamonds and rare gemstones ranging in price from $50,000 to $100,000. White Pine said it will continue to introduce new pieces throughout the course of the season’s trade show circuit.
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