Even your grandma knows the best deals are available exclusively online. Traditional brick and mortar stores are closing their doors every single day because they simply cannot match the prices of their online competitors. Now before you shed a tear for these bad luck ridden businesses, just remember that if they are being hurt by online retailers they have a product that can indeed be sold online. Why are they not selling online? Businesses need to evolve to survive.
Online business is bigger than ever and most luxury brands have embraced the possibilities of online sales with great zeal. Online consumer confidence is booming and many new checks and balances can aid prospective customers in thoroughly researching an online company before even reaching out with a query. A simple Google search can get you a full online profile of almost any established business.
Three Shades Of Online Jewellers
1.) The Online Business Card
When browsing online for an engagement ring you will soon find that many smaller jewellers have websites that are nothing more than expensive online business cards. You can find the business hours, a telephone number and their physical address. You can bargain on a few product photos and maybe, if you are lucky, even some fancy background music that will destroy your data package. As everyone knows; “you gotta be online” so an online business card is better than nothing. Probably?
2.) The Online Catalogue
Many prominent brick and mortar jewellery stores have slick Flash websites that are merely online catalogues. Apart from the occasional “Online Special”, you’ll be paying in-store prices even if you buy online. These businesses will not sabotage in-store sales by offering much better deals online. Customers that bought engagement rings and other jewellery in-store will be outraged if they find out they could have paid much less purchasing online from the same retailer.
These websites are great for browsing and gathering ideas for your engagement ring's design, but if you are looking for a great deal - wrong place, my friend.
3.) The Studio/Online Jeweller
The studio jeweller is a lean business concept where jewellery is manufactured on an order basis. Costs are further minimized by operating out of normal office spaces instead of extremely expensive shopping mall stores.
Very reputable studio jeweller brands have been built online in the past few years. You will find yourself dealing with innovative companies that focus more on products than on shop fittings and brand image. The lack of a store front does not mean that these jewellers can’t be physically visited to view the designs and diamond options - you’ll just be visiting an office block instead of a mall. You can also bet on much more personalized service as your scheduled visit will be more of an in-depth consultation than just a random conversation with an eager beaver sales rep in a store.
If you find the right studio jeweller you can enjoy savings of up to 50% or more from the prices of mall based jewellery stores.
A Word Of Caution
When shopping online your considerations need to stretch much further than the price. Please, keep the following in mind before impulsively placing your order:
- Red Flag Prices: If the prices seem too good to be true - maybe they are. Just remember that mall based jewellers are grossly overpriced and paying 50% less online isn’t out of the norm.
- Social Media has become a fantastic tool to see how the business interacts with its customers. Read the testimonials and pay attention to the number of online followers. Businesses with larger online communities have much more to lose if they don’t perform.
- Money Back Guarantee: Studio jewellers will usually ask for a small deposit upfront when you place your order. Ensure that the jeweller has a full money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with the finished product. Full upfront payment is not common practice.
- Referrals: No one should take offense when you ask for a list of references. If the business can’t provide these you might be safer taking your business elsewhere. You don’t want to be anyone’s maiden voyage in the world of custom jewellery.
- Visit the Jeweller: Make an appointment with the jeweller to view the diamond you intend on purchasing. A physical visit will also help you in gauging the credibility of the business. Only visit the jeweller after you are 100% sure and comfortable with the credibility and reputation of the operation. Although recent research from the Institute for Wishful Thinking (I.W.T) has shown that jewellers are generally not aggressive, you don’t want to get stuck in an awkward situation in Bubbu’s basement workshop!
Good luck shopping around, and remember, as with any purchase - research is key to getting a great deal! Get in touch with a few studio jewellers and you will quickly see what massive savings are available.
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