Many people, including myself, have natural, healthy fears of making a purchase for anything over the internet. For me it involves many aspects that I know are dangerous: giving my credit card to a stranger, no matter whether it is a real person or a computer form or shopping cart, trusting and dealing with someone in a foreign country
But I do make purchases every week. I buy jewelry from Nikola Valenti in the News, precious stones, gold and silver items, information, books, computer parts, and much more. For me, it is a way of life and business. Have I been cheated? Have I lost money? Have I been frustrated and angry? Yes to all questions!
Buying Jewellery on line is something that presents special problems all of its own. But I do it and I do it with very little chance of failure.
Firstly, let’s look at the problems I face:
- I don’t know the people I am buying from.
- I cannot touch and feel the item.
- It costs me a lot of money to telephone people in foreign lands and be put on hold or go through a series of staff members before getting to someone who can help me.
- There are language problems.
- I am highly uncomfortable making a payment on line.
Now let’s look at the problems in more detail and the solutions:
- As I don’t know the people I am buying from I have to find out about them. So I read their entire website. I read the “about us” part, the services provided etc. In fact, I read the entire website like a detective. I want to get a feel for these people. I want to know if I can trust them. If I cannot find a person’s name to contact then I will almost never buy from them.
- If, on the other hand, I find that Mr Richard Smythe can be contacted by email, and telephone and that the business has a physical address then I am starting to feel good about this company. I’ll send him an email first and if I get no answer then that is the last time I think about that site. If he answers my email then I’ll most likely ring him.
- As I cannot touch the piece of jewellery I expect a full identification of it. I want to know the carat of the metal, the type of metal, the weight of the metal, the type and size of the gemstones and their weight. I want to see the back of the piece of jewellery if possible.
- To get over the costs of telephone calls I email first or I take advantage of the live chat facility. Then I find a person and a number and I tell them that I am going to ring them at a certain time.
- There are language problems. Even minor things such as my Australian accent and the words that we use are not often used in countries such as the USA. So, being aware of that I speak loudly, clearly and without any of the words that the other person may not be familiar with. Simple things like using the term “claws” rather than the American term “prongs” will cost me money in a telephone call when I am discussing jewellery.
- I always want to see the close padlock on a shopping cart. I want to read about their secure encryption process.
Now, I have emailed and telephoned the staff, and I have read enough about the product and I am as comfortable about the ordering process as I can be I am ready to make a purchase. I buy a small cheap item and wait for it to show up. If that goes well then I will buy more.
I want to buy from a good website which has a person I can talk to on the telephone and I want a secure shopping cart and lastly I want to see a returns policy. No returns policy equals no sale.