Online retail is becoming a bigger and bigger business these days. Most of us have plenty of experience purchasing things on Amazon or eBay now. We’re familiar with Pay Pal and we understand the online checkout process.
But we’re often hesitant to make big purchases online, especially expensive jewelry like engagement rings. Often times we still want the comfort of talking face to face with a salesperson. We like to hold the diamond in our hands and do side by side comparisons with the other diamonds in the store. Sometimes we like the packaging from well known stores such as Tiffany & Co. When we talk to someone wearing a suit we feel better about the experience. They appear to us to be more of an expert.
But have we reached the day when it is actually better for us to purchase expensive items like diamond engagement rings online? I believe we have and here are some reasons why.
The internet makes our society faster at nearly everything we do. In just a few minutes it’s possible to surf the internet, find a product you want and buy it. If you’re willing to pay for overnight shipping you can have the item on your doorstep the very next day. Not bad for 5 minutes of your time. When it comes to diamonds, you can view dozens or thousands of diamonds in a very short amount of time. You can compare diamonds from different stores without driving across town. In fact, if you’re impatient, you can see the diamond rings now and have her engagement ring bought in the next 10 minutes.
This is another huge plus for online shopping and it goes hand in hand with speed. These days you can buy diamonds while sipping coffee in your underwear. Are you having a bad hair day? Are you getting a touch of the flu? Would you just rather not leave the house today? Why should that stop you from taking care of the shopping that you need to get done? Online diamond retail outlets allow you to stay in the comfort of your own home. Maybe you’re a night owl and prefer to do your shopping at 2:00 A.M. That’s no problem with online purchases.
Another big advantage of shopping for diamonds online is the vast number of diamonds you can choose from. Now, instead of a few hundred rings in the jewelry store’s showcase box, you have access to multiple thousands of diamonds. You’re also able to tailor your diamond to the exact specifications you want. Do you want a diamond with a particular cut that is not common? Or maybe you like the cuts your brick and mortar store has, but they only have diamonds with a color grade that is more than you want to pay for. With online selection you can mix and match the exact grade of diamond on each of the 4 Cs to come up with the perfect selection for you.
We’ve come to the biggest advantage of online diamond shopping. Since stores do not have to pay rent for an expensive storefront location on a busy street, jewelry store outlets can keep far more diamonds in a large warehouse out of town for huge savings. In our competitive marketplace those savings get passed on to you, the customer. Some estimates say that online diamonds tend to be anywhere from 20% to even 50% cheaper than high end stores downtown.
The amount of information available about diamond rings on the internet is staggering. Just about everything you want to know can be found. What makes a good diamond good or a poor one poor? What’s the difference between a $10,000 diamond and a $1,500 diamond of the same style? Just look up the 4 Cs of diamond quality and you will find your answer. How do you clean your diamond ring? Do you need to insure your diamond? Where do you do that? How do you know if your diamond is real? Online diamond stores usually have the answer to all of these questions.
Choosing an Online Retailer
So those are the advantages of buying diamonds online. How should you go about choosing an online retailer? What steps should you take to be safe?
For starters, just like in the non virtual world, it’s helpful to choose retailers with strong name recognition. Zale’s, Tiffany & Co, and Blue Nile are all consistently among the most used and best known online retail shops. And believe it or not, Amazon.com has become a major player in the online diamond retail business. It stands to reason that Amazon could take all the experience they’ve gained from selling books and other products to selling jewelry as well and they are very trusted around the world for the online shopping experience.
Check the return policy
It’s good to analyze an online retailer’s return policy. If the diamond turns out not to be exactly what you want, can you return it and get your money back or at least get store credit? What happens if the ring was not as advertised? Is their satisfaction guarantee a true guarantee meaning they will fix any problem you might have? Sometimes stores have a re-stocking fee they charge you for returns. The important thing for you is to know and understand their policy before you buy so that you can feel safe and be safe when buying a $4,000 ring.
Does the company use a major shipping carrier such as Fed Ex, UPS or DHL? It is pretty standard these days, but be sure that they do. Also make sure the retailer is insuring the package for delivery in case it is lost or stolen during delivery.
Does the company have certificates of quality for their diamonds? Certificates are sort of like an I.D. badge verifying that your diamond is of the quality you are paying for. Now, just because a diamond does not have a certificate does not mean that it is not a quality diamond. It just means that you need to be more cautious when purchasing. There are many labs out there certifying diamonds, but the two best are AGS and GIA certifications. You can be sure these two are not giving a grade that is inaccurate just so the retailer can make a sale.
Encrypted transactions with credit cards
Make sure the company uses safe encryption for processing your order. If the retailer does not accept credit cards it is a huge red flag. Take your business elsewhere.
Accepting credit cards is important for you because part of the agreement with your card company is they will go after fraudsters on your behalf. Also, if you do not receive the goods as advertised then the credit card company will fight for you. Using credit cards for all of your online purchases offers you tremendous protection that cannot be overstated.
It is also helpful to check the feedback other customers give. Amazon is great at letting customers rate and rank their purchasing experience. Choose retailers who have scores closer to 100%.
Buying diamonds online is safe and can save you time, money and stress. There is no longer any need to feel excessive anxiety about the purchase. Follow the steps listed here and you can focus your attention instead on the more pressing issues of asking your sweetheart to marry you.