HISTORY OF JAMES ALLEN
When James Allen Schultz was looking for an engagement ring to propose to his wife, Michele, he found himself dissatisfied with those he saw. In 1998, James Allen Schultz and Michele founded Jamesallen.com. Soon after the launch, the site grew rapidly and became established as one of the premier online engagement ring stores out there. As their rings became higher quality with GIA and AGS certified true ideal cut diamonds, they decided to relaunch their site in 2005 as JamesAllen.com. For almost 20 years, James Allen became the go-to for American consumers who are looking for engagement rings. Now, they are considered as one of the titans of online diamond sales.
For this review, we will take a look at how James Allen contrasts with one of its counterparts and “co-titan” in the diamond industry, Blue Nile. The reason for this comparison is simple. They are both very high-quality niche sites that are best recommended and used by almost 95% of average Americans looking for engagement rings. Below is the review:
Similarities between James Allen and Blue Nile (Business Model)
The business model of James Allen or JA runs by working with a group of wholesale diamond vendors. These vendors list their diamonds on the JA website for JA to sell as their own. The same goes with Blue Nile where the listings are virtually added by the wholesale diamond vendors. Furthermore, both of their listings go without a glitch and are fully integrated. Consumers can never tell that the diamonds don’t actually belong to James Allen or Blue Nile.
For James Allen, however, vendors are given secure exclusivity agreements with James Allen to ensure that the diamonds listed by the vendors won’t be found on other diamond sites.
Differences between James Allen and Blue Nile
Unfortunately, the similarities between the two end with their business model. Nothing can be said more when it comes to how the two are alike. In the following sections below, you will find the differences between the two and how, ultimately, James Allen is more superior to Blue Nile:
Difference in User-Experience
Unlike other diamond websites like Blue Nile that pride themselves on the massive size of their inventory by just thinking about their goal to expand, James Allen puts importance on user-experience when it comes to their diamonds inventory. They have invested millions in their imaging technology that puts their diamonds in high-quality interactive videos; ensuring that each diamond taken from their suppliers are of good quality before it is listed on their site.
Quality Inventory Vs. Quantity Inventory
Furthermore, while James Allen has an impressive amount of diamonds listed in their inventories (more than 115, 000), this doesn’t ignore the fact that compared to Blue Nile, the numbers are smaller (more than 151,000). This is a good indicator, however, that JA holds more value in the quality of their inventory than their quantity. The limited number of choices makes it easier for consumers to browse through the website. Surely, these people looking for a diamond engagement ring thinks only of buying one. So if the number of choices is too many, it could be quite overwhelming and cumbersome for people to find the right one.
Wide Setting Collection
The settings in the quality and craftsmanship of James Allen have proven to be very impressive. They have a wide variety of setting collections that helps people see and experience different combinations of diamond and ring. They use a tool such as the Inspiration Gallery to help guide the consumers in the setting and shape choice.
The first miss, however, when it comes to James Allen is concerning with their shapes and sizes. For shapes, other than rounds and rectangular shaped diamonds, like the heart, oval, and Marquis, there are no measurements that indicate the flatness, the boxiness, or the slope of the curve.
Fancy Shapes Requiring Photography
Furthermore, there are also no numbers that will tell the consumer whether the Oval has a bow-tie effect or not. Also, without the presence of a photo, consumers will have a hard time identifying if the cushion cut looks like crushed-ice or not.
Impressive and Secure Packaging
The packaging of James Allen truly sets it apart from the rest. It is truly impressive that it stands out above all their other competitors in this aspect. The box that contains the James Allen product is a full-sized thick board box with the name “James Allen” embossed in red together with their signature butterfly logo. When it comes to the package fillers, James Allen also has their own special way. Instead of using the usual cutouts to put inside the package for pieces not to bounce around like Blue Nile does, James Allen uses full-sized foam with a space cut out at the very center of the polished hardwood jewelry box. Furthermore, the box is made to perfectly fit inside the FedEx Box which means that the delivery won’t jumble up the contents of the packaging.
In terms of presentation, James Allen holds the top spot as well. Just like their jewelry box, the outer box is also meant to be kept as handsome and functional. So you can easily use it for your other jewelry too. Moreover, the package includes the necessary accompanying documentation such as an appraisal, a GIA certificate, an envelope containing the invoice, and other documentation. It also has a polishing cloth included.
Overall, the packaging and presentation show the dedication of James Allen when it comes to giving quality products and services to their consumers.
James Allen functions with the “virtual listing” model; making them the only vendor to do it. They also offer magnified photos of their inventory.
Blue Nile, on the other hand, is known to be the reigning champion in terms of the size and exclusivity of their inventory.
Accurate Product Portrayal
When it comes to having the product and comparing it to the photograph online, James Allen really did well in accurately portraying the diamond’s appearance in real life. The diamond, just like the photo, is exceptionally clean with the cut properly captured and the diamond brilliant and lively.
Ultimately, even with the little miss in terms of fancy shapes, James Allen has managed over the years to offer high-quality products and services atop of its competitors. It shows through how they value user-experience more than anything else. This in itself puts them a very deserving place of recognition. It truly goes without saying that James Allen is definitely the best source for engagement rings online.