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E-Commerce Business Makes Popping the Question Easier

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This story appears in the February 2013 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

It's a tale as old as e-commerce: You fall in love, start shopping around for engagement rings and notice that pricing and selection online are superior to what's in stores. But then come the cold feet. After all, who wants to spend thousands of dollars on a once-in-a-lifetime purchase without actually handling the merchandise first?

In October 2012 Ritani, a name that has been around the wholesale jewelry business since 1999, set out to change this scenario, offering jewelry buyers the best of both worlds. The Seattle-based company has relaunched in a clicks-and-bricks format that uses strategic partnerships to keep overhead low while expanding its online and offline reach. Customers can make straightforward online purchases of necklaces, earrings and other jewelry items that are shipped directly to them. With engagement rings, however, the website also provides a platform for customers to create their own designs, which are cast by Ritani and shipped to local affiliate jewelry stores (or directly to customers), where they can be examined in person before purchase. Change your mind? No problem--there's no cost for handing the ring back to the jeweler and walking out the door. (In that case the ring is returned to Ritani and disassembled.)

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