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• The New York Times has an interesting story this morning about alliances being created between online and bricks-and-mortar retailers as a way of giving each what they need to bolster their relevance.

In this case, the physical retailer in the Massachusetts jewelry retailer Long's and the e-tailer is Ritani, described as "a privately held company that designs and makes engagement rings for independent jewelers in the United States and Canada."

According to the story, the deal "enabled customers from the Boston area who shop on the Ritani site to have their jewelry delivered to Long’s store, at which point the customer could review the ring and decide to exchange it or even return it.

"To give Long’s an incentive to serve customers who come in to pick up rings they have already paid for, the store is given a small percentage of all sales closed in the Boston area, since Long’s had been Ritani’s exclusive retailer in the area for the last 10 years. The retailer also earns performance incentives for selling additional Ritani products over the counter."

The story notes that "Aida Alvarez, senior vice president for merchandising and marketing at C.D. Peacock, a 178-year-old jeweler with four stores in the Chicago area, said her company’s two-year-old partnership with Ritani had already paid off. She said 84 percent of the customers who visited her stores to pick up Ritani products had come back for either a service call or to buy something new, from wedding bands to birthday presents."

You can read the entire story here.
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