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As opposed to the would-be bridegroom of yesteryears, you have a lot more flexibility in deciding exactly where and how you want to buy an engagement ring. Brick and mortar stores still exist, and are doing very well in sales, but now you have a lot of stores to choose from online. You can sit in the comfort of your home, browse through vast collections of jewelry, decide on one and buy it, all with the click of a mouse. While this is truly very liberating, as with a lot of other things in life, there is another side to it, and before taking a step as important as buying an engagement ring, you should be familiar with the pros and cons of either approach, just so you can make a better, more informed decision.
In diamond engagement rings as in everything else, the selection and variety that you have to choose from when shopping online is simply unbeatable by any physical merchant. As opposed to brick and mortar stores that are limited by a lot of considerations including space, security and costs, online merchants do not have to worry about those things and can offer a virtually unlimited array of jewelry for you to choose from. Talking about costs, brick and mortar stores usually have quite a lot of overhead costs as a result of the many furnishings and facilities that are required in a jewelry store, think rent, special light fixtures etc. The only thing online stores have to operate and maintain is their website and a logistics base. That reduces their cost of doing business drastically, meaning they can pass on the savings to you by offering better diamonds for reduced prices. In a brick and mortar stores, the overhead is passed on to you, the buyer, meaning increased costs of the goods.
Online stores also usually have solid return policies, effectively giving you a period within which you can decide you do not want to continue with that ring. Be sure to go through the return policy very carefully to make sure that you will be getting your money back, not an exchange and not after bogus amounts have been deducted as “restocking fees.”
The nature of the internet itself is the first, most obvious flaw in the idea of buying diamond online. An unregulated market is definitely going to have it share of unscrupulous merchants who are just out to swindle unsuspecting buyers.
Your inability, as a buyer, to physically assess the stone before you buy it is another flaw, as it robs you of the opportunity to make the in-depth evaluation that only handling the diamonds can enable. On the flip side, most people, probably including you, simply cannot evaluate a diamond properly so the advantage conferred by physical assessment may not be so big, and pictures may just suffice for most people.
Seeing a diamond in person is an invaluable opportunity for someone who knows what they’re looking for in a stone. Inspecting it will be much easier and thorough than can be done via a picture. Brick and mortar stores also sometimes have long-term policies that could be very beneficial, such as buy-back, upgrade or maintenance policies. You may even find a store with a credit plan for long term financing.
The most obvious and often pestering drawback to buying a diamond from a brick and mortar store is the salespeople themselves. Although they tout themselves as diamond experts when trying to convince you to buy a particular diamond, most times; those self-certifications are nothing but hot air. The purpose of the salespeople is to sell you diamonds, not necessarily to help you make a good decision, as they would have you believe, meaning that you can generally expect them to mislead you in one way or the other.
Overhead is another very big problem with brick and mortar diamond stores. After spending a ton of money on staff, rent and fixtures, they have no choice but to transfer the cost to you, the buyer, meaning that you can generally expect higher prices for the same diamonds, when compared to an online store.