Though one does not get to see the physical product, aspects such as variety, exchange policy, ease of access and near-absence of ‘size’ hassles seem to be drawing consumers to online jewellery shopping.

Recently, when I accompanied my mother to one of the prime fashion markets famous for jewellery, I noticed there were hardly any shoppers. When I asked a vendor why the market was so empty, he sighed, “Bhaiya kya kare, aaj kal kaal saare log loog toh computer se shopping karte hai.” (What do we do? Everyone’s shopping online these days).

It is true that online shops have lured many buyers with a wide variety of jewellery designs. But then, variety alone is not the reason for consumers shopping for jewellery online. Neha Ratta, a corporate executive, says, “Amidst all the work pressure, I hardly get time to purchase my accessories. Moreover, why should we go the market and haggle with the vendors, when we get better stuff for a better price online? I’m fascinated by so many portals that offer deals on jewellery. That’s something not usually seen in stores.”

Real vs. virtual

With virtual shopping gaining prominence, even reputed brands now eye a strong Web presence. But there are a few designers / brands such as Nine By Thirty by Aparna, who believe in building a strong Web presence and then setting up a store. “I think shopping on the Web works well because you’re shopping across a hundred stores at a given time, from the comfort of your chair. You save a lot on travel and fuel too! Also, today we have several talented designers and artists who have set up shops online, since they don’t have the capital for a physical store. Besides, their work is unique and not mass-produced,” Aparna says.

Social networking sites have proven to be an important platform for online sellers as well as shoppers. A lot of niche designers market / sell their products directly on such sites. Adding to the advantage is the fact that mobile phones these days have access to related apps, making it easy for shopping on-the-go.

“One good thing about shopping on the Internet is that there are usually no middlemen; hence the prices are less than what they are in the store,” says Avanti Desai of The Bling Bazar. “Sites such as Facebook are no longer just a means to catch up with old friends and colleagues. It serves a myriad of roles by helping small and upcoming businesses to extensively market themselves on their page and get recognition,” adds Avanti.

The merchandise in the store and those online are mostly the same, and hence there are no qualms attached to buying it. “Marketing on social media is very powerful and universal. As there are no ‘size’ hassles for jewellery, I think buying jewellery online works out quite well,” says Avantika of Aaraa. “When we launch our new collection, it is sold out within a few hours. Our clients can access our products from anywhere, and get hold of their favourite pieces,” she adds.

A click away

With the advent of the Internet, it has become easier to procure your favourite piece of jewellery from the comfort of your home. “I don’t have to run around the city and keep hunting for jewellery that matches my dress, when it is just a click away. The other day, I purchased a pair of earrings from the market and after I returned home I found it was damaged. Even after a long dispute, the vendor did not take back the piece. I’m glad there are Web portals that have 10-day return / exchange and cash-on-delivery policies,” says homemaker Nikhat. It’s true that not just jewellery, but umpteen number of online shopping portals too have come up with consumer-friendly policies.

By and large, shopping for jewellery online seems to have more benefits compared to physical stores. It is a win-win situation for both retailers and consumers, and the future of online jewellery business look to only shine more.