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If you’ve ever considered the pros and cons of buying a diamond online versus in person, you may be interested to know that Blue Nile, one of the largest online retailers of diamonds, just announced plans to grow its showroom presence from five to 55 locations within the next three years. Others are also dipping their toes back in the showroom waters, according to The International Council of Shopping Centers.
This brings us to the question of why. As a company, we’ve always believed in the value of in-person shopping, especially as it relates to something as important and meaningful as an engagement ring. Ten years ago, when La Bijouterie was formed, we made the purposeful decision to open a brick and mortar location, not an online store, because we value the importance of helping customers in person, especially when making one the biggest and most emotionally charged decisions of their lives. It seems as though today’s consumers value the same.
According to CBRE Retail Services Group Senior Vice President Danny Jacobson, “all retail is reimagining their store experience, and showrooms are a way to draw more people into their space or to supplement their online offering.” Consumers are wising up to the uncomfortable at best, rules around buying a diamond online, and companies like Blue Nile, implementing the rules, are taking a hit because of it.
For instance, did you know that online diamond stores do not offer any quality guarantee? If something is in fact wrong with the diamond you purchased, (say an imperfection you weren’t expecting, or the color is off), it would result in you overpaying for a diamond you thought was a great deal. The truth is there is a lot to consider outside of the 4Cs that someone who isn’t in the diamond profession would have no way of knowing.
This brings us to quality. A diamond should be inspected top to bottom with a magnifying glass by both the jeweler and the buyer, so you have a clear understanding of what you’re actually purchasing. An online website has no pressure to offer you a top quality diamond at a reasonable price since there is no official face to the brand. No one person's name or livelihood is on the line.
Although the customer experience may be at the forefront of why mega online retailers are opening brick and mortar stores, we would be remiss if we didn’t mention the need to offset the monetary ramifications of the Tax Lawthat was recently implemented for online diamond retailers.
More than anything else, placing trust in the establishment you’re buying your diamond from is of utmost importance as it goes hand in hand with the customer experience you hope to receive.
Buying a diamond online means making one of the biggest financial purchases of your life completely blind. As you might imagine, it takes years to understand and learn how to evaluate a diamond, which is why buying online can be so tricky and unforgiving.
Do you really want an AI bot determining the future ring or earrings your partner will wear for the rest of their life? Do yourself a favor and go with a jeweler that prides themselves on the customer service they offer, and has many repeat customers. Having a tangible location allows us to meet you in person (safely), and help you every step of the way.
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