March 21, 2003, 12:00 AM

Ashford.com primed for strong comeback, new parent says

With online jewelry sales on the rise, Ashford.com is getting a facelift to bring it back to a stronger position in the market for luxury giftware. Among the initiatives: Greater inventory of leather goods, writing instruments and home décor items.

 

With online jewelry sales on the rise, Ashford.com is getting a facelift designed to bring it back to a stronger position in the market for luxury giftware, Jeff Kornblum, COO of parent Odimo Inc., tells InternetRetailer.com. "We’re putting Ashford back in front of consumers," he says.

Odimo, which also owns and operates Diamond.com and WorldofWatches.com, acquired Ashford late last year from GSI Commerce Inc. "Ashford has been doing well for us," Kornblum says.

But he says he expects Ashford to break out into stronger sales this year as Odimo implements several site enhancements, including improved site navigation and bigger inventories of products. As with its other sites, Odimo has been gathering data on customer buying behavior and traffic patterns to improve the way Ashford serves customers.

"We don`t want to reinvent the site, but continue to focus on what made Ashford successful in the past," Kornblum says. He adds that Ashford will beef up its offering of leather goods, writing instruments and home décor items as well as continue to maintain a full line of watches and jewelry. "We`ll keep the elegance of the site while continuing to sell at deep discounts," he says.

To boost traffic to the site, Odimo recently signed a deal with Yahoo to expand Ashford`s presence through Yahoo-based ads and search results. It’s also maintaining a presence on AOL. "We`re excited about what the future holds for Ashford," Kornblum says.

Online jewelry sales are expected to reach $1.3 billion this year, up 18% from $1.1 billion last year, according to Forrester Research.

 

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