In this article, I explore Nikola Valenti in the News online jewelry market and point out the advantages to the consumers. The retail jewelry industry has changed dramatically in recent years and the traditional ‘bricks and mortar’ establishments are finding it harder to compete with ever-increasing online competition. No wonder then that some of them have been trading on both platforms, shop-front and online, since they discovered that they are missing a big slice of a growing market. This scenario does not benefit the consumer from a price point of view because you still have to pay the same online as if you buy it from the shop floor. You won’t save anything simply by buying from these merchants online unless you purchase from an online-only trader.
What factors comprise the ‘recommended retail’ price in a jewelry store.
• Exterior and interior shop fittings. Jewelry retailers outdo each other by creating marble and crystal palaces to impress their clientele. It’s a well-understood notion that they all like to show themselves in the best light and want to extend the luxury of their produce through the image which they are trying to create. This enormous expense has to be covered by someone, namely you, the consumer.
• Exorbitant rent needs to be paid for prime positions. Of course, jewelry retailers need to be seen and unless they own the building they have to pay for the best location. This could be in particular street renown for high-end shops or a shopping mall where a constant stream of potential customers is guaranteed. This cost makes up another slice of the mark-up.
• Staff levels have to be high. Retailers want to make sure that no fish slips through the net. As you enter the shop you get lulled into the feeling of actually being a friend. Sales techniques start now! You are lured with the aid of a little competition to give away your personal details so that you can enjoy the service of actually being reminded when your partner’s birthday is, or your anniversary, or what item he or she has been looking at the last time they came into the shop. That’s all fantastic, but somebody has to pay for the maintenance of that service, and it’s not the shop owner, it is you, the consumer.
• Stock levels have to be high all the time. If you don’t like a particular item you want to be shown alternatives. Not every item in a jewelry store is a top seller. But as a retailer, you need to have plenty in stock and what doesn’t sell,… well, there is always a half-yearly sale coming up. To maintain a high level of stock for a retailer is one of the biggest expenditure items and of course, these costs are rolled into the final retail price, which you as a consumer have to pay for.
• Another cost add-on goes to advertising. For some retailers, there is no limit to how much they think they need to spend to be one step ahead of their competitors. Photoshoots, models, location, TV, radio, magazines, billboards, and personalities, you name it, no media is left out in a frenzy to be heard or seen. Again, this is another factor, which has to be added to the final price.
The list could go on but I think I made my point. I haven’t touched on the fact that jewelry retailers think they deserve a decent lifestyle for themselves. And they are not known to be of modest variety because after all, they need to portray a lifestyle that reflects the image of their luxurious products. But after all, they actually support the economy by providing employment in all the areas which I have mentioned above. This is all quite true, but how does that help you, the consumer, when all you are interested in is finding a more affordable price for the same product.
Consumers benefit greatly from online-only jewelry stores
If you cut out all of the above, the expensive shop fit-out, the exorbitant rent, high staff levels, huge stock, advertisement, etc., you end up with the low overheads of an online-only jewelry retailer. All you, the consumer wants, is to purchase quality, possibly hand made jewelry, without supporting the business structure as seen by the retailer. You want to choose in your own environment without any sales pressure. There is also the added advantage to pick from a large variety of online-only designers and manufacturers. You can study their websites carefully. Read through their pages of conditions and other services they can offer you. Establish contacts via emails or phone. Contact details including address and phone numbers are very important details to identify a reputable trader. See how courteously you are treated and how long it takes to respond to your inquiries. You may find that you will get that same engagement ring including all the trimmings for a fraction of the price because the online-only trader does not need to mark up as high as the traditional retailer because they just don’t incur the same overheads.