Zale Joins WeddingChannel In Cross-Marketing Deal

Zale Corp, one of North America’s largest specialty jewelry retailer, will add the sparkle of diamonds to WeddingChannel.com’s online wedding planning service.

In an agreement announced Tuesday, Zale (NYSE: ZLC) and WeddingChannel have joined hands in a brick-and-click marketing deal to cross-promote each other’s products and services.

As part of the deal, WeddingChannel’s online services will be promoted to Zale’s 700,000 retail customers, while Zale’s diamonds and other jewelry will be promoted to WeddingChannel’s 450,000 registered couples. Zale operates 1,359 retail stores in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.

Diamond Buying Tips and Other Info

WeddingChannel agreed to create and market an exclusive online jewelry boutique within its Web site to promote Zale’s merchandise. The boutique will include news and information about wedding-related jewelry and tools to help couples, their families, and guests select jewelry and gifts online.

Basic information on purchasing a diamond ring, including how to understand a diamond’s four characteristics — color, clarity, carats, and cut — and how to care for the stone will be posted.

The boutique will also feature tips on proposing, information on cultural and ethnic traditions, and some of the more entertaining engagement stories. WeddingChannel.com will also provide ideas for coordinating fashion and jewelry.

Brick To Promote Online Service

Zale agreed to promote WeddingChannel.com in all of its retail chains — which include Zales, Gordon’s, Bailey Banks & Biddle and Peoples — and on its Zales.com Web site. The company will also include WeddingChannel.com in its national marketing campaigns and advertisements.

“This partnership is designed to introduce a substantial share of an estimated five million couples throughout the U.S. and Canada who wed each year to WeddingChannel.com before they get engaged,” Zale said.

Brand-Building Online

Although Zale is the more established name in jewelry and wedding-related items, the company said it hopes to continue to strengthen that brand through its alliance with WeddingChannel.com. As an “old reliable” in the jewelry business, increasing its profile on the Internet may help the company reach young, techno-savvy couples.

The bridal market already accounts for nearly 40 percent of Zale’s annual sales. “This agreement will deepen our relationship with our bridal customers,” Zale President Beryl Raff said.

The alliance with Zale is part of an overall strategy at WeddingChannel.com to line up well known brick-and-mortar retailers to drive business toward the Web site.

According to WeddingChannel.com President Adam Berger, the bridal market consists of about 20 product and service categories that generate $32 billion (US$) in annual sales. The company has already lined up Macy’s, Burdines, The Bon Marche, Stern’s, Rich’s, Lazarus and Goldsmith’s to create comprehensive online gift registry and shopping services.

“With [those] registry partners and our new partners at Zale, we have achieved exclusive, long-term leadership positions at the beginning and end of the engagement period, and as the couple starts a family,” Berger said.

WeddingChannel.com also has exclusive agreements with BRIDE’s Magazine, Federated Department Stores, Yahoo.com and Go Network.

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