Unquestionably, e-commerce has become ubiquitous in our lives. Most of us are accustomed to buying everything online. From pizzas, new laptops, clothing and even groceries, I’m sure you probably had bought something online before. However, when it comes to larger expenses, most people still have a slight skepticism towards spending money online.
Just like how buying a new car online doesn’t make you feel comfortable, buying jewelry is also probably going sound weird at first. If you do a simple search on Google, you will probably find a myriad of websites offering their wares at various prices. While most of the websites are serious and legitimate businesses, there do exist a minority of unethical people who could be scammers trying to trick you.
The important question now becomes: how do you choose between which vendors to go with? Well, there are a few key features that can help you differentiate between these sites. And the best of it all, we had also done the legwork and put the vendors to the test.
Anyone can download stock photos of different diamonds and put them online. Also, anyone can upload CAD (computer-aided design) drawings of different jewelry artwork and claimed that they made the design. What you should expect from an online diamond distributor is the willingness to share information and data with you.
For example, a series of actual photographs of the stone you are about to buy, videos capturing the performance of the diamond in different lighting or even essential information like grading reports should be made readily available to you.
When buying online, you should also do your own due diligence when sizing up a potential purchase. For example, you could start by comparing the stone’s image with deep zooming or virtual loupes against the grading report. Doing so can help you verify the genuineness of the photographs/videos provided. Needless to say, this is a practice you should bring to your local jeweler too if you intend to shop offline.
Another aspect of good e-stores is whether or not they provide good customer service. Buying diamonds is usually heavy on your wallet and the industry is full of technical jargon that can easily confuse someone new. So, it’s normal to expect and ask for a live voice or messaging system that will help you clarify any questions you might have.
In fact, you could test a sales person’s product knowledge by asking them a few simple questions: “How can I tell that the diamond I am looking at matches the descriptions in the lab report?” or “Are all GIA triple excellent diamonds the same?” If the answer is to trust them on their word or that all GIA triple excellent stones are the same, you should probably look for another vendor.
Another question can go like this: “What’s the difference between EGL and GIA certifications?” If the jeweler tells you they are of the same standard and tries to push for an EGL stone, you will know he/she isn’t being honest with you. Of course, you probably need to ask other questions pertaining to cut or doubts you have and see how they respond to your queries.
One of the biggest advantages online distributors have over physical stores is the immense inventory size and product range they can offer. In contrast, the assortment a local store can offer might be limited to what the local market is interested in buying.
On this note, if you feel you need something rather exquisite, an online store should usually be able to provide more options and meet your needs easily as compared to a traditional brick and mortar store.
Due to the amount of choices and options available, the usability of the website becomes a priority since making a selection out of tens of thousands of products might be daunting. E-commerce services with categorized search criteria and neat layouts will help you narrow your selections in an organized manner.
All of the requirements mentioned above may seem like bare replacements for features the majority of “offline” stores have to offer. However, the truth is far from that. Great photography and videos are very useful and more important than you think it is.
Now, I’m sure you have all heard what the local jewelers had been saying in defense of shopping online: “Nothing beats seeing the stones in reality.” Well, let me rephrase the question and turn it around to you. If you were given 2 diamonds to examine in the store, do you know which to pick or what to look out for?
Most consumers can’t and don’t understand diamonds sufficiently enough to make a smart decision. In fact, you would more likely be able to make a rational decision when there’s no one pressurizing you into a sale compared to having a salesperson talking non-stop beside you.
Of course, you could argue that most physical stores will probably have a “qualified professional” who can help you find what you want and explain why you want to choose a particular diamond or setting design. If you want to have a great variety of options, you can still drive to, say, New York and find a huge store that has a wide range of products where you can get ideas from. Needless, these are all features you have to pay for and the prices in a physical store (usually double of online prices) are indicative of it.
My question to you is: Do you really need to do that in today’s modern age? You can get the same kind of experience via shopping online too. In contrast to local stores, online jewelry vendors are required to offer all the above-mentioned features and more if they want to survive in this competitive market. That is the change we are seeing in today’s online businesses and consumers are the ones who benefit the most.
Internet vendors have a different business model which is based on the absence of expensive rentals and steep advertising fees. With increasing technology and better broadband speeds, you will be surprised at how advanced the experience of Internet shopping can be. For that reason, a good online diamond jeweler can even offer to design an identical ring replica found in your local store, with significantly lower prices and turnaround time.
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