The practice of obtaining our goods and our services through online mediums has become ubiquitous during the last decade. Diamonds and jewelry products are no exceptions as businesses join the online fray to fulfill needs of tech savvy consumers. It’s no coincidence that the number of online distributors has kept increasing as more and more people get connected to the Internet.
As with anything else online, judging the security of a certain service is highly subjective. For a consumer, the trust and security issues are even more important considering the typical expenditure spent on a diamond ring purchase.
There are a few checkpoints which should be met by your chosen vendor before you hit the “Pay” button. Let us take short look at online security and safe practices when it comes to buying diamonds.
The Internet has been around for more than 20 years with e-commerce becoming well-established and consumer awareness being raised. For newcomers or distributors to the diamond industry, he/she would most likely not be able to hold out and gain short term profits in the market. The industry doesn’t work like that.
You see, skepticism runs high when it comes to spending thousands of dollars by entering a credit card number. Given a choice, who would you choose to do business with? The business that had built a brand around their products for years or an anonymous website that was just created last week? The answer is pretty clear – most renowned companies can overcome that skepticism and establish trust with a potential customer.
Telltale signs of good online jewelry distributors include being around for a decent period of time and a good amount of past customers. In fact, you can check the brand through customer review websites like Yelp, iVouch or via Google. Generally, you should not trust sites branded along the lines of “very cheap diamonds” or “un-certified diamonds”, but that probably seems obvious.
When you start browsing the product range of online vendors and compare it to what you seen at your local store, don’t be surprised to see a 10,000 times difference in inventory size. Heck, you might even be thinking that Bill Gates must be funding the company in question.
Well, I do not know much about Mr. Gates’ investments in the jewelry market, but I might know the reason behind the choice abundance that online distributors have. They simply download and connect several databases of diamond lists from their suppliers and don’t actually own the diamonds themselves. By adding an interface with different search filters, you could tweak the parameters to narrow down choices that suit your needs.
Also, no “offline” jeweler can come even close to the prices offered by online competitors. Online distributors can spare a lot of money by not having to pay rent for showrooms and lesser overheads like salary to a salesman in a physical store. Lower overheads equal lower costs. That ultimately results in unbeatable prices as the savings get passed on.
Diamonds are products where their beauty is based entirely on their visual performance. A diamond’s cut quality is actually defined by its capacity of reflecting light. The question here really is: “If I can’t see it, how do I know it sparkles well?”
There are businesses that operate both storefront as well as virtual operations. One example of such a vendor is Whiteflash.com. Not only do they run a credible online business, they had recently launched a showroom in Houston, Texas to enable customers to arrange walk in appointments.
That said, unless you are staying in that particular part of the world, most headquarters of online diamond distributors are probably located at a distance from you. Also, not every online store has a physical location that allows walk-ins. This means you cannot take a look at the gemstone physically and put it behind a jeweler’s loupe.
What should you do in such cases?
The REAL trick to shopping online is to utilize evaluation tools. This will make your shopping even safer than buying one in store where you rely on the jeweler’s recommendation. For example, does the website provide real photographs of their products at high magnifications? Do they also provide light performance evaluations like ASET or Idealscope?
Once you have these data on hand, it allows you to make rational decisions without the hassle of being pressured into a sale when dealing with in-store salespeople. In fact, I personally think that it is better to buy diamonds online rather then walking in store because you are less likely to make impulsive mistakes.
Buying diamonds online is not something that you are likely to pioneer. The fact is, millions of people have done it and are still doing it. However, you still have to be really careful to end up with proper products for your money.
First of all, do your own research. Make sure that the company you had chosen has some positive reviews. If they have negative feedback being posted, find out why and how the company deals with responding to such reviews.
I personally think how a company handles complaints is even more important than reading testimonials of previous customers. Good businesses take care of customers in the event of problems. Bad ones? Well, they don’t and won’t even bother trying to address issues.
Finally, you should make sure that the vendor offers a money back guarantee on your purchase. This is really to safeguard yourself and removes risks in the transaction. In the event that you are not satisfied with the diamond bought, you can still to send it back and have your money returned.
All in all, applying some common sense and doing a little legwork in research will go a long way to ensuring a successful purchase. Lastly, we recently posed as customers and tested out some of the most well-known companies in the industry. Some are great but the majority of them just fall short. If you would like to read our reviews in detail and find out which companies came out winners, click here to find out more…