An exterior shot of the Blue Nile “webroom” located inside Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City, N.Y., its first physical location. Neither photos nor renderings of the online retailer’s new stores on the West Coast were available as of press time.
An exterior shot of the Blue Nile “webroom” located inside Roosevelt Field mall in Garden City, N.Y., its first physical location. Neither photos nor renderings of the online retailer’s new stores on the West Coast were available as of press time.

Seattle--By year’s end, Blue Nile will have at least five “webrooms” across the United States, brick-and-mortar locations where customers can try on--but cannot buy--merchandise.

The online jeweler’s fourth webroom, located in Washington Square mall in Portland, Ore., opened Friday. Its opening marked Blue Nile’s first space on the West Coast.

In addition, the e-tailer announced Monday that it plans to open a fifth webroom in the Seattle suburb of Bellevue by Thanksgiving. The store will be located in the Bellevue Square shopping center, a mall that’s already home to Tiffany & Co., Na Hoku, Ben Bridge and a Rolex boutique run by Ben Bridge, among other fine jewelry sellers.

Bellevue Square is located near Blue Nile’s corporate headquarters in Seattle. Because of this, the webroom’s opening will not have any sales tax implications, as Blue Nile already has to collect sales tax in Washington state due to its physical presence there.

CEO Harvey Kanter said during the company’s second quarter earnings call in early August that the retailer was pushing to get a fifth physical location open by the end of the year but did not provide details on the location.

Investment in webrooms, plus upgrades to its website, are part of Blue Nile’s plan to “improve the user experience” and, ultimately, increase sales.

Blue Nile’s webrooms are 500 to 700 square feet in size, employ five to six salespeople and a general manager.

The webrooms give the website’s customers a place where they can try on engagement rings--which are set with cubic zirconia--and other jewelry, which features real diamonds. All sales still happen online though; shoppers do not walk out of the webrooms with their purchases.

The e-tailer’s other three physical locations are located in New York state (in White Plains and on Long Island) and in the Tysons Corner Center mall in Fairfax County, Va.

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