According to Goldman Sachs, Harris Interactive, and Nielsen/NetRatings, Christmas online jewelry sales more than doubled, hitting a new record of $1.89 billion, up from $888 million last year. The jewelry sector becomes the highest riser in today’s booming online shipping. If you type “jewelry” or “diamond rings” on Google, a few hundred of jewelry retail websites comes out. To do research online before purchasing is very important.
Three things consumers look for are quality, price and customer service. Good websites always states everything clearly. Blue Nile clearly states out the color, clarity, numbers of diamonds, total diamond weight, setting type, metal, and width in their diamond ring pages. There are websites stating their diamond color is F/H and clarity is VVS/VS. F color, VVS1 clarity stones are very different and much more expensive than H color and VS2 stones. How can consumers be clear with the quality they are getting?
We can see that most websites have good returning policy, and the big ones offer up to 30 days returning policy. This is the most important service for online jewelry stores. Good returning policy shows the website confident with their quality and service. It covers a lot of potential risk of online jewelry shopping. Mondera, Ice and Diamond.com all provide very good customer service. Unless you are very confident and familiar with the jewelry website, purchasing from any one with poor returning policy is risky.
One of the major reasons consumers purchase jewelries online, especially high end diamond pieces, is because of the price. With sufficient amount of research, you truly can purchase some high quality jewelries at 30%-60% off the retail market price. We should first understand these jewelry websites’ business model. Many of the sites are run by previous retail jewelers. They have many years’ experience and connections in the industry. They memo jewelry pieces and diamonds from wholesale vendors in New York or Los Angeles, add a margin and resell them out. Some jewelry sites are run by students fresh out of college. They create great websites, and get their vendors drop shipping directly to their consumers. Because they don’t have to pay high rent in expensive location, they don’t have the same high mark up as local jewelry stores. They highly threaten traditional jewelry stores, and with financial experts’ prediction, 1/3 of the traditional jewelry stores will either disappear or go on line in the next 5 years. Recently, I have found few companies take it to a new step. Like Dell, they manufacture jewelries and sell them directly through their website. Their prices are surprisingly low. For the same high quality diamond jewelry pieces, their prices are almost 1/3 of the retail market price and ½ of other jewelry website’s price. With 30 days return guarantee and Free FedEx overnight, their existence speeds up the existing competitive jewelry industry. It is not surprising if we are going to see more and more jewelry wholesalers and manufacturers coming online in the next few years.