Retail Jeweler vs Online Jewelry Store
Shopping for a wedding ring or an engagement ring can be a nerve-wracking experience. Should you buy your partner's ring at a retail jewelry store? Or buy from one of the many online jewelry stores? Which choice is better?
After all, purchasing such a ring is an investment, both in terms of dollars and in terms of your lifetime commitment. You certainly don’t want to waste your hard-earned cash on a ring that is not up to snuff.
It’s important to thoroughly research the vendor you choose to do business with so that buying jewelry remains an enjoyable experience. Make sure they have a stellar reputation, with transparent policies and indisputable product guarantees before you even think of doing business with them. If anything feels off or questionable, keep looking.
We’ve come up with some points to consider as you embark on your hunt for the perfect ring.
Shopping in a Retail Jewelry Store
Though shopping in a brick and mortar jewelry store may be the more traditional route, it doesn’t mean it’s the best route. Modern day convenience and new ways to shop are taking the lead and many online jewelry stores are outpacing their traditional brethren in every area.
In-Person Value Not All It’s Cracked Up to Be
If you’re shopping at any jewelry store worth their salt, they should do their level best to educate you on pricing and possible trade-offs when considering different rings, cuts, and styles that fit your budget.
Note however, that not all traditional stores do this. There are many an uneducated jewelry clerk that either willing or unwittingly, offering bad advice just to make their commission.
Though one might think it’s easier to build a relationship with someone you can go back to whenever you have needs, such as resizing a custom wedding ring, tightening prongs, or having your investment inspected for damages and cleaned, in many traditional stores turnover can be high, making it difficult to build the relationship you’re looking for.
You can build relationships that are just as good (if not better) with an online jeweler. The concept of relationship-building is the same, the only difference is the mode of communication.
Store Financing Not Always Wise
Some traditional jewelry stores may offer long-term credit and finance options for buyers looking at a ring that is on the higher end of their budget. Finance options allow you to buy now and pay off the ring over time.
Though offers like these can feel like a good deal, it may not be the best idea to finance a ring if you don’t have to. Money matters can make or break a marriage, so starting off in debt over your wedding band might not be the wisest move. If you do choose some kind of financing option, always read the fine print.
Alternatively, you can finance your online jewelry purchase using a low interest credit card. You’ll get the same benefits of financing through a store, but you aren’t limited to that store and can purchase your ring from anywhere. Interest rates will likely be more attractive too!
Size of Inventory
Depending on the location and the size of the store, some traditional retailers can offer a decent selection, but they are hindered by how much stock they can keep on hand. Any items they don’t keep in stock, you would have to special order anyway, which can be quite a hassle in a store that doesn’t do special orders very often.
An online jewelry store allows you to skip all that and browse as large an inventory as the store cares to offer, and they are often much quicker at shipping your wedding band out once you’ve placed your order. After all, it’s just what they do!
Misleading or Inept Sales Staff
The reality is many sales clerks care more about making the sale than making sure you know what you’re buying. They are less interested in helping educate you and more concerned with taking your money. While this may not be the case with every jewelry sales clerk you meet, to think that many are not just there to make a sale is naive.
Another drawback is that they could actually mislead you, either intentionally or unintentionally by giving you poor or inaccurate information. Yes, there are some sharks out there that are perfectly willing to prey on people that don’t do their homework. Sad, but true.
Also, Stores Got Bills, Yo!
A retail location, regardless of size, will have overhead costs in order to open their doors each day. They have a staff to pay, rent to pay, utilities to pay, more inventory to purchase (sometimes with very little room to wiggle on pricing), and other costs associated with running a jewelry store.
That means all those costs get rolled into their pricing structure on their inventory, which means—you guessed it, less savings for you. Therefore, you might pay more for a ring purchased in a retail jewelry store than you would for a ring purchased at an online jewelry store, with the ring being equal in all aspects except price.
Before shopping a retail location, ask people you know and trust for recommendations and compare similar prices and styles to what you might find online.
Sometimes you might be able to approach a jewelry store and gain a bit of leverage armed with knowledge of a competitor’s pricing. This can prompt them to be more willing to work with you in meeting your budget, so they don’t lose your business. Or, you can just buy from your favorite online retailer in the first place, reap the savings and skip the headache!
Shopping in Online Jewelry Stores
Shopping for your next ring with an online jewelry store can be a very different experience from shopping at a traditional jewelry store, and offers several benefits. When you find an online jeweler that’s reputable, you can receive personalized, high-quality customer service and expert guidance just as you would anywhere else. The bonus is that guidance is only a few clicks and key taps away, and you don’t have to get dressed up to experience it.
Because an online store doesn’t have overhead costs like a traditional brick and mortar jewelry store, they can roll those dollars saved into attractive and competitive pricing for you. An online jeweler will have a lot more wiggle room in negotiating with you and may be more inclined to come down in price to beat out a competitor.
This is self-explanatory, but if you shop for your ring online, you can shop virtually anywhere, at any time of day or night, and even do it in your underwear, should you so choose. Shopping is done at your leisure, with no sales clerks hanging over your shoulder with bated breath and no agonizing pressure. You can browse through all the products in peace.
Unless the retail store is huge, they can be somewhat limited in their selection and variety of inventory, due to space constraints. An online retailer, on the other hand, really has no limit on the size of their inventory, other than how much space they need to stock their wares.
This means that online retailers can often offer a much wider selection than the family jeweler down the street. Even if they don’t have the ring you want readily available, you may still be able to view it online, order it, and have it delivered once it’s back in stock. Just make sure if you do this, to do it well in advance of your wedding date, so that there is plenty of time for it to arrive.
With all jewelry stores, it’s important to find one that is reputable. Look out for any store that offers a poor customer experience, regardless of their location or mode of operation.
Fast Delivery Times
Most online retailers offer fast shipping. When shopping, pay attention because many sites will indicate when a ring or piece of jewelry is out of stock, and state when it will become available again. Even with items that are in stock, deliveries could be delayed through no fault of the retailer. You should factor that into your purchase decision to ensure your ring arrives in a timely fashion.
Many online sites offer a state of the art shopping experience, with high-resolution zooming that allows you to really inspect the ring you are considering in minute detail. Who needs to brave all that traffic just to look at a ring?
Online retailers allow you to look over the ring you’re interested in to your heart’s content, without a pushy sales clerk hovering over your shoulder. When you’re ready to buy, you buy. Until then, you get to browse all the pretty things at your leisure, with zero pressure.
Once you decide on what you want, you can simply pop your purchase into a virtual shopping cart and check out. Could shopping be any easier? Even custom designed wedding bands are simple to order.
Tips for Protecting Your Investment
Whether you choose to shop through online jewelry stores or opt to go with a local retail jewelry store, you should always investigate the merchant before doing business with them. All good jewelry stores will grow in popularity through good, old-fashioned word of mouth.
Often it’s really just the relationship you build with a vendor that is the icing on the cake. Relationship increases the perceived value of your purchase and when you find the right one, you can build an excellent rapport with an online jewelry store. Always look for that online retailer that is willing to go the extra mile.
We at His Ring Shop, strive to provide you with exactly that. We are one of the best online jewelry stores for men’s wedding rings, with customer service that goes above and beyond to provide you with a premium experience. With our help and expertise, you’ll discover there’s not much that can beat the advantages of modern-day ring shopping online.