Blue Nile yesterday upgraded its shopping agreement with America Online to become an anchor tenant within the jewelry category in the Shop@AOL online shopping center. The new agreement gives Blue Nile top placement with three other companies, a larger banner link, placement in a rotating banner window and more promotional and special opportunities.
The new agreement with AOL puts Blue Nile in a top position in jewelry shopping categories with two major online communities, AOL and the Microsoft Network. In July, Blue Nile made an agreement with MSN to make Blue Nile the number one merchant in the jewelry category. Both agreements give Blue Nile greater visibility to online shoppers and increase its sales potential. "In general, these portal placements enhance our integrated marketing program and provide opportunities for brand awareness, customer acquisition and call-to-action to drive sales," says Paula Gottlob, director of public relations.
In other online shopping news, Ashford.com obtained a three-year, $25 million revolving credit line from Congress Financial Corp., a division of First Union National Bank. The new debt-financing commitment increases Ashford's working capital without dilution to its shareholders. It's secured in part by the company's inventory of luxury goods. "We believe we are the first Internet retailer to secure senior credit financing based on a business model of selling high-end, high-margin merchandise," says CEO Kenny Kurtzman. "This loan provides us with an even greater cushion in working capital to help us manage through seasonal demand."
- by Julia M. Duncan