Other Gadgets

Best online shopping websites - A girl’s best friend…online

Anushya Mamtora | Updated on August 03, 2011 Published on January 26, 2011

Caratlanes pierdots   -  BUSINESS LINE

Acquiring a piece of jewellery is perhaps one of the most intimate and over-planned purchases made by us. But the dynamics of buying precious ornaments has seen a significant change with online portals encouraging jewellery shopping. The ‘click for the bling’ syndrome explored

Should I or shouldn’t I? As your cursor shifts doubtfully around the ‘Buy now’ button, it is time to answer the big question looming in your mind. You are not new to e-shopping; you’ve bought some perfumes, a dress and even some books online at heavily discounted rates and they were mailed to you in perfect condition. But buying gold, diamonds and precious stones is a different ball game altogether. Aspects of quality, grading, craftsmanship, authentication and parting with a sizeable sum of money without even trying on the selected piece are unimaginable for traditional jewellery buyers.

However, online jewellery portals have success stories of their own. Their growth is significant, their target customer base expanding, and their collections and offers are mind blowing. So, if you are willing to sacrifice the narcissistic moment of beaming at the mirror as you adorn one sparkler after the other, shopping online is a convenient and a slightly less expensive bet.

There are four prominent web options – stores which have their online portals as an add-on, full-fledged online jewellers, online auction houses which sell jewellery and exclusive shopping clubs with jewellery sales.

In store vs online

From national players to local jewellers, giving customers an option to shop for jewellery online is a strategy that is warming up. The advantages here are plenty. The element of trust is easy to establish as the customer would have already been a visitor to the store or is at least assured of its existence in case of any problem. For example, jewellery major Tanishq jumped into the web space in May 2010 with a simple collection of earrings, chains, pendants and rings in the range of Rs 5,000 to Rs 50,000, treading cautiously in its new avatar. The brand kept the pricing limited and has seen a good response from men who log in for easy gifting options, explains Calvin, Brand Manager, Tanishq, adding that the prices are slightly lower compared to the store.

While Tanishq has wide national presence and brand recognition that works to its advantage, there are local jewellers who go a step ahead and retail high-end exquisite pieces through their online portal. GRT Jewellers, which has a strong presence in Tamil Nadu, has a wide range of jewellery – from contemporary to antiques to wedding – to add to your shopping cart online.

In the web world alone

Giving a new dimension to jewellery shopping in India, CaratLane.com stepped in two years ago as the first online diamond jewellery store and was soon packing off solitaires to unheard-of towns in India. Apart from loose diamonds, precious and semi precious stone jewellery collections, bridal sets and wedding bands are also on sale. Kalaivani Sadagopan, GM of CaratLane.com says, “When we started in 2008, we thought low ticket items will sell but now our average ticket size is Rs 75,000 to Rs 80,000. We are also priced 10-25 per cent lower compared to other stores and online retailers since the inventory is virtual.”

This is perhaps the greatest advantage of shopping with an online jeweller, though people take time to develop a sense of trust and move to bigger transactions. She also adds that since solitaires are a specification driven product, the buying experience does not involve much of look and feel, making it easier for their loose diamond customers to purchase online. To establish a relationship with its customers, the website offers the services of diamond consultants with a 24×7 toll-free number and even lets them customise their jewellery.

Bidding for one

For connoisseurs who are always on the look out for exclusive pieces, heirlooms and limited edition creations, online auction houses have some out of the world options. Starting out as auctioneers of art and artefacts, popular auction houses like Bid & Hammer and Saffronart have embraced jewellery as a category. The latter recently had their Autumn Online Auction of Fine Jewels and Watches 2010 and saw a gorgeous pair of emerald and diamond earrings being picked up by a bidder for a whopping Rs 85.10 lakh. Minal Vazirani, Co-founder and President of Saffronart feels that unlike the art scene which is still nascent in India, the country is one of the largest and most sophisticated markets for jewellery, however, an online auction platform gives jewellery lovers an opportunity to see unusual jewellery, rare gem stones and historical pieces. While the most popular jewellery are traditional Indian craft like exquisite jadau, polki or meenakari, Minal adds that bidders can acquire them at lower prices at an auction when compared to a jeweller.

Shopping websites

Another online option for buying a piece of jewellery at a discounted price is by becoming members of online shopping clubs like www.fashionandyou.com, www.brandmile.com, www.99labels.com and others. These exclusive clubs offer you amazing discounts on luxury branded products and jewellery is a constant too. Apart from designer jewellery brands, luxury players like Mirari and Hazoorilal too have displayed select ranges at exclusive prices for members.

Golden trinkets as a gift for best friend, a colourful briolette ‘whim buy’ for yourself, an emerald and diamond drop-dead magnificent earring for your collection or just a stunning rock you want to self-design later into a cocktail ring, the virtual space is glittering with options.

 For a great experience

Online platforms have some neat features incorporated to up the shopping experience:

- Viewing from all angles and effective zoom to focus on the craftsmanship

- Details of dimensions to the minutest detail, sometimes even in relation to a familiar object like a coin

- Picture of jewellery on model to visualize how it would look on you

- Options of uploading your photograph and then donning on different jewellery, which is a great feature some websites have adopted

- PDF downloads of ring and wrist size for those who want to buy rings and bangles or bracelets

- Shipping in a complimentary ring or bangle sample in plastic to give customers a better understanding of the size

- Auction houses have exclusive previews where you can take a peek at the jewellery to be auctioned and even try them on

Look out for:

- The reputation of the brand and its presence in the market

- Details of the product – Gold cartage, 5Cs of diamonds and grading of other precious stones and metals

- Authenticity certificate with the product

- Policies on refund, cancellation and replacement

- Transparency of quality as well the prices

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

Published on January 26, 2011
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor