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Blue Nile Case Study: Brand Perceptions Study, Shopping Experience

Study Scenario:


Do first impressions matter? You bet! In this study, users were tasked to review Blue Nile and James Allen live websites, and evaluate user impressions based on jewelry discovery, the shopping experience to checkout. Questions here were targeted to not only gather first impressions, but evaluate how those impressions changed over the course of the shopping experience.

At the end of this study users rated the sites for trust, reputability, level of luxury/exclusivity, aesthetics, and the end-to-end shopping journey.


During this study a major holiday for jewelry companies was underway, so prominence of advertisements was slightly higher than other times of the year. The style and format of these specials did have an affect on the user’s overall impression of the brand experience, and at times, even before they began shopping.




The aim of this study was to both evaluate insights, assess any design new directives and/or discoveries, and better understand the mental model of users as they shop over the course of the experience as a whole.




Study Outcomes

• The impression of Blue Nile and James Allen maintained an equal rating—60% of users noted the sites being consistently positive from the beginning to the end of the shopping experience.


• Both sites allowed users to easily find jewelry they liked, with slightly higher approval rating for James Allen


• By the time users ended up in the shopping cart, users had a tendency to prefer James Allen, mainly due to the simplicity of the journey to that point. 90% said they would return to James Allen, whereas 70% said they would come back to Blue Nile.


• James Allen had a perception of “luxury” from 70% of users in this study.


• James Allen and Blue Nile had a 50/50 split approving aesthetics throughout the site, as well as 50/50 for the sense of reliability.

• Both sites portrayed a sense of honesty and reliability (nearly 50/50), however James Allen gave users a better sense of trust given the manner of what was displayed on PDP and checkout, as well as the clarity of the shopping process.


• In the end, 70% of users tested noted that James Allen did the jewelry shopping experience “better” as a whole.

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