Shopping online is an experience you can relish, especially if you’re buying an engagement ring for the person you’re in love with. Online shopping has some advantages that are absent when shopping from your local jewelry store. Online shopping is convenient in a number of ways. Imagine shopping from your smartphone while relaxing on your couch after a long day at work. You can also shop at any time of the day or night.
There are several online jewelry stores available for you to compare, giving you access to the best prices and a wide range of engagement ring variety. You can also afford to take your time comparing prices from the different stores for the best bargains. However, despite these appealing pros of shopping online, it is important that you are careful when shopping for an engagement ring. The fact that you don’t see the actual product that you’re buying means that you can never be 100% sure that you’re paying for the best quality. The chances of you being swindled are high, especially since the internet is full of malicious cons ready to defraud you of your hard earned money. Therefore, you should tread carefully.
Here’s a beginner’s guide to buying an engagement ring online to make sure you enjoy your shopping experience and get the best value for your money.
Online retailers have lower operational costs. Because of this, they are likely to sell their products cheaper than in brick-and-mortar stores. Online stores do not have to pay rent. They do not have to install expensive security systems and pay security personnel to guard their stores. They also need fewer employees. An online store does not need the services of sales managers, accountants, cashiers, and salespersons. And many also don’t always have to keep inventory themselves, as many are affiliates of bigger chains which handle the distribution for them, allowing you to enjoy even more savings.
All of the above explains why online retailers have fewer expenses. They may also cut the middlemen in the supply chain and deal directly with the manufacturers or wholesalers. This further reduces the overall costs on each product. Therefore, they can afford to sell their products at cheaper prices and still make decent profits. Don’t be surprised if you make savings of up to 40% on your emerald cut engagement rings that you’ve found online. In traditional stores, these expenses would trickle down to you; the customer. You’re therefore likely to get the best bargains shopping online.
Jewelry stores have been charging their customers exorbitant prices for their products, preying on their customers’ ignorance about the prices of precious stones. Not anymore. The internet has empowered shoppers by providing information about the price and quality of diamonds and other precious stones. Shopping online enables you to take advantage of the vast sources of information about pricing and quality, whether the rings are made from gold, platinum or other popular materials. Armed with this information, you can search for the best prices from vendors.
Furthermore, online shopping enables you to compare prices easily among the various vendors and jewelry stores. If you were shopping in the typical fashion, you would probably have to drive across town from one store to another to make such a comparison. Online shopping saves you this hassle and you can easily compare the products and prices of the various chains with the click of a button.
Shopping online also allows you to remain anonymous. If you’d like to keep your engagement private and something to share with close friends and family, and not the entire world, shopping online will guarantee that you remain off radar. While shopping online, transactions are automated. The worst thing you want to do is get caught exiting a jewelry store by one of your fiancée’s friends if you’re trying to keep it a secret.
Now that we’ve established some of the pros of shopping for engagement rings online, here are a few tips to make sure it is a good experience.
Before you provide your credit card details and buy your engagement ring online, make sure you have ascertained that the company you’re buying from exists and will actually deliver your product. Online shopping is based on trust. You make a payment before physically seeing the product you are paying for. You rely on pictures of the product displayed on the website and so you need to be sure the product looks the way it has been depicted in the pictures.
Therefore, it is your responsibility as the buyer to safeguard your interests. Find out how long the company has been in operation. The longer they have been in operation, the more you can trust them based on the ideology that if they were crooks they probably would have closed down or been forced to do so by government consumer protection agencies.
Try to find out if there are any reviews and testimonials from previous customers who have worked for the company. If the company has customer service, try contacting them and see how fast they respond, if they respond at all. An online company without a dedicated customer service department is automatically fishy. Consider that you might want to take your business elsewhere.
The security of the company and its website is also something you need to verify. One way to do this is by looking for the locked padlock sign with the words ‘secure’ that appear on your browser address bar (that part of your browser with the website’s URL).
Also consider how your engagement ring will reach you. Make sure that the company is insured for lost goods and verify the shipping policy. Does the company refund for lost goods in transit? If not, you’re probably buying at your own risk if your treasured engagement ring gets lost before reaching you.
As mentioned earlier, online transactions are susceptible to cyber-attacks. Your credit information can fall into the wrong hands and your bank account wiped can be clean by hackers. Though it doesn’t happen every day, it is a reality you should always keep at the back of your mind.
Some established stores provide customized modes of payment to increase your options. These are always welcome since they are always secure modes of payment. For instance, Amazon.com has Amazon Rewards Visa Signature Cards which enable you to gather reward points every time you shop at their store. You can also load money onto the card and use it for shopping.
Such payment methods help to enhance your security since you don’t have to input your credit card information every time you shop at their stores. You should always take extra care when providing your confidential information online.
The US has been a pacesetter on online shopping and has gathered experience over the years. Learning from past experience, the US has one of the best systems for recourse in case you’re not satisfied with the outcome of an online transaction.
A number of federal agencies are charged with the responsibility of protecting online consumers. You can seek help from the Jewelers’ Vigilance Committee if your engagement ring falls below your expectations, and chances are that your grievances will be addressed. However, such recourse avenues may not work for companies operating outside the US. Additionally, most other countries overseas do not have such a well-regulated online business industry. The chances of you being swindled are triple if you are dealing with companies across the border.
The development of a universal code of ethics for online businesses is currently underway and the global internet space may be tame in a couple of years. Until that happens, exercise a lot of caution while dealing with online companies outside the US.
I don’t dispute the fact that there are a number of online companies outside the US that are genuine; I just want to caution you that you’re not fully protected when dealing with such companies. In case you are swindled, finding redress can be frustrating.
Shopping for an engagement ring is not something that you do every day. Because it is an opportunity to show your lover how much he or she means to you, it is important that you make it count.
Shopping for your engagement ring online provides you with lots of options. First and foremost, it enables you to compare the different styles of engagement rings and choose one that suits you best. Engagement rings can also be pretty expensive and shopping online provides a unique opportunity to easily compare prices and get the best bargains. Online stores also offer a lot of discounts and sell their products much cheaper than traditional stores. You can easily make savings of up to 40% by shopping online. However, it is advisable that you remain vigilant while shopping online to avoid being swindled. Ensure that the company you deal with is credible and can be trusted.
With these tips, you are ready to get started. Have fun shopping for your engagement ring online!