Like many before him, Steven Passer was lured by the sparkle of diamonds and gold. Although he knew nothing about gems, Passer became CTO of New York City-based jewelry maker Andin International, in part because the company had recently purchased the Web address Jewelry.com. Passer didn’t need a jeweler’s loupe to know a fine URL when he saw one.
In his new setting, he was charged with building and operating an IT infrastructure that supports business in New York and Los Angeles and a jewelry manufacturing plant in the Dominican Republic. The Dominican plant includes hundreds of computerized weigh stations that ensure workers don’t skim the occasional diamond, and a security system that protects a vault containing a veritable mountain of gold bars. However, it was the website launched last November that truly captured Passer’s imagination.
The site isn’t a direct sales channel for Andin, but rather an elaborate marketing campaign. Jewelry.com has pictures of Andin rings, necklaces and bracelets along with links to popular merchants such as J.C. Penney, Macy’s and Zales. The goal isn’t to get revenue from consumers, says Passer. Instead, the website provides free advertising for retailers?provided they carry the Andin product being advertised.
If you were selling Andin’s version of the ring, you could “get it in front of more eyes,” says Passer. “Can you make the leap that you are more likely to sell at least one more?” It appears that retailers can. In its first month alone, Jewelry.com had 1.3 million unique visitors, and orders for Andin products were on the rise.