Two diamond engagement rings are nestled in a white box’s cushioned slits for a lucky recipient to have her pick–one round-cut stone set with a white gold pave band and a second oval-cut stone atop a classic yellow gold band.

To the naked eye, they appear to be real. The sparkle factor is impressive, the luster is spot on, and each feels like a conventional piece when slipped onto a manicured finger. But they are actually 3D-printed replica rings that online jeweler With Clarity ships to the consumer’s home for a free test drive before he plunks down money for what’s likely to be the most significant jewelry purchase in his lifetime.

The retailer uses a diamond simulant and metal alloy that mimics the look of white gold or platinum to make the sample rings appear nearly identical to the customized engagement ring the shopper designed. The innovative “home preview” facet of With Clarity’s business model–along with its robust educational content on frequently researched diamond topics–helped the startup generate $19.0 million in revenue last year, up from just $3.2 million in 2017.

With sales ballooning 496.2% last year, With Clarity is the second-fastest growing merchant in the first-ever Internet Retailer Next 1000 ranking of mid-market online retailers. And the New York-based, direct-to-consumer company, which launched in 2015 and falls in the No. 1181 spot in the Next 1000, is continuing to gain traction this year. Its first quarter sales were two and a half times greater than the same period in 2018, and in late-May co-founder and CEO Anubh Shah reported 900.0% year-over-year growth. While executives declined to disclose a nine-month, year-to-date growth rate, Shah says the retailer is on pace to generate “meaningful” gains this year.

“Researching and shopping for an engagement ring is extremely daunting, and I think With Clarity has tried to bridge the divide,” he says.

The home preview concept has been in place since the company’s inception, when the retailer was known as Four Mine (it rebranded to With Clarity in spring 2019). The tactic aims to solve an industry-wide problem by eliminating what the retailer has coined “FOBRO,” or the fear of buying rings online, by allowing potential customers to visualize their creation and get acclimated to the look of a ring on their hand over a few days’ time rather than feeling pressured to make a big decision with a sales associate hovering over them, With Clarity’s executives say.

Shah, who abandoned his career in financial services to learn how to cut and polish diamonds in India, says he founded the retailer with the hope of disrupting a portion of the jewelry sector that wasn’t catering to young shoppers. Roughly nine out of 10 millennials who researched engagement rings online bought them offline, according to Shah. He sought to change that.

While ecommerce penetration for rings is now closer to 14.0%, Shah believes there’s still a large, underserved segment of consumers who are generally inclined to buy online and don’t like the high-pressured sales environment of the in-store fine jewelry visit, but end up purchasing from a store because they’re uncomfortable making a high-end purchase sight unseen.

Shah and co-founder and chief marketing officer Slisha Kankariya decided to test an approach that would allow soon-to-be-engaged shoppers to try on ring prototypes at home and reduce return rates for highly customized items that aren’t inherently…

To read the rest of this article and learn about how With Clarity expanded the personalization options of its home preview program, which boosted its conversion rate, and built out the educational content on its website, please sign up for a free site membership or sign in below.

 

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