Online Jewellery Stores

shop onlineToday we are taking a look at the pro’s and con’s of shopping at an online jewellery store.

Pro’s

Lower Pricing

Online stores have lower overheads than their retail store rivals and often can offer much better pricing on the same or similar jewellery. Retail stores often have very high markups to compensate for the 50% off sales they seem to run every two weeks. Online stores tend to keep their prices relatively stable, but may have special offers from time to time where you could save further.

Open All Hours

An online store runs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week which makes it very convenient to shop when the mood takes you. Retail stores have fixed hours and these may not suit someone working long hours away from shopping centres. Customers living in rural areas may not have access to more than one or two small jewellery shops without considerable travel, whereas shopping online opens the doors to many jewellery stores without leaving your seat.

Product Range

The range of products available from a single online store can be considerable and may well match or exceed that of a bricks and mortar store. Some websites have a smaller range of products that won’t compete with a large retailer. However the range available from the websites of all the online jewellers well exceeds that of any single retail shop. Some online jewellers will have a range of products that are exclusive and cannot be found anywhere else as well as other manufacturers products.

Payment Choices

Most web based jewellers will accept the same credit cards you could use in person, but may well offer additional payment methods. PayPal is probably the most widely used online payment gateway and it also gives a level of protection to the buyer if things go wrong. Many stores offer additional processors including AmzonPayments, Authorize.Net, WorldPay, Paygate or Eway.

Product Comparisons

Having so many stores available at the click of a mouse gives customers a great opportunity to make comparisons between the products, services and pricing of different stores. Two or more shops may have the same products available and it would be wise to consider not only the pricing of the product, but the shipping and handling fees and delivery times. You should also consider the amount of time each store has been in business and the customer satisfaction levels of each. A simple search will provide the thoughts and experiences of previous customers experiences with the business you are considering purchasing from.

Product Reviews

Many online stores will follow up their customers after a sale with a request to provide their feedback on a purchase. This feedback can be invaluable in determining not only the product itself, but the service they received. As these reviews are entirely voluntary, bear in mind that people are more likely to respond to leaving reviews if they were disappointed or exceptionally pleased with the product or service. These reviews should be a good guide as to the service you might expect to receive, especially if there is a trend across many product reviews.

Con’s

Trust

This is probably the biggest single issue when customers are considering a purchase from an online store. There are many smaller retailers and boutique jewellers that are not household names, and these businesses can have trouble establishing trust with new clients.

Anyone can write anything they like on a website, so customer reviews are often viewed with a level of suspicion.

Look for a business running a secure website with an EV (extended validation) certificate. A thorough check must be done by the issuing entity before an EV certificate can be implemented.

Search the business name with these additional words – scam, problems, reviews. This will reveal any complaints about the business which you should consider before buying. Although rare, some negative reviews are written by competitors, so keep that possibility in mind.

Delivery Times

Normally there will be a delay of a few days or weeks between placing your order and receiving it. Products need to be packaged, labelled and shipped by the store and then there is a delivery time set by the courier. Stores where the products are made to order, like Fraser Ross, will take longer to deliver than stores where the jewellery is held waiting for despatch. The store should have information on expected delivery times and charges clearly listed.

Touch and Feel

You obviously can’t touch and feel the products when buying online. To compensate for this, the website should have detailed information and photos and be clear with their dimensions, materials and weights.

A fair returns policy should allow you to return the goods if they don’t match the description on the website without any penalty to you.

Summary

It is possible to purchase online and be very pleased with the outcome.

Be diligent and investigate the store if you have not dealt with them before.

Even large national stores that are household names don’t always provide exception products and service, a quick business name search with ‘review’ will quickly show who they are.

Small businesses often provide exceptional products and service and rely on word of mouth to grow their businesses.

A recommendation from a friend who has shopped there previously can be more valuable than any claims printed on a website.