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Many retail jewelers view e-commerce sites—and online auction sites in particular—with a skeptical eye.


But some are discovering how to use these sites to their advantage. For example, Maryland-based Mervis Diamond Importers recently announced a partnership with auction site Bid4Assets.com to sell older diamond jewelry. They will offer "last season's" diamond earrings, pendants and necklaces for a deal.


Company owner Ronnie Mervis said the move allows his three-store business to reach a new, national audience.


In theory, these sorts of partnerships are a win-win for retailers and the sites they choose. The jeweler has a new and easy way to cash in on the e-commerce trend; the sites get more credibility by associating with brick-and-mortar sellers who have a good reputation.


The challenge for jewelers is in balancing traditional sales with new information-age ways. Can an independent retailer successfully negotiate the new channels without undermining the old ones? The answer could be a matter of survival.






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