What are the most important variables you would look for on a website selling engagement rings to convince you to trust the retailer?


I am hoping this question will start a conversation on trust in e-commerce, in particular for e-tailers selling high value items where this is very important. By "trust" I am referring to:

  1. trust that the product advertised is of a high quality
  2. trust that the retailer is a legitimate company
  3. trust that your shopping experience and payment data is secure
What boxes would you need to tick before purchasing from such a retailer?
I have now put a bounty as a reward for the best answer, I am looking for answers that do not only include the standard trust queues (SSL, live chat, press endorsements etc.), but possibly psychological or jewelry-specific factors that, in your opinion, will increase the conversion for such a website?

Ecommerce Trust Shopping Jewelry

asked Apr 13 '11 at 19:14
Nikolay Piryankov
683 points

12 Answers


IMO, BBB badges and TrustE mean almost nothing - anyone can buy a badge and stick it on a site.

Here are the things I look for:

  1. The quality of the content, layout, and writing. There's no bigger turn off than a spelling error somewhere or a misaligned item on the page.
  2. The ability to quickly get a question answered. Having a clear phone number at the top, and a quality live chat system. Poor quality live chat systems are the worst... I've been using snapengage at my startup and it's my favorite so far.
  3. Clean, easy, and concise shopping policies... like Zappos: 365 Day Return Policy, Free Shipping Both Ways

As far as buying diamonds goes, if the content is great and I can easily chat with a live agent and get on the phone if I need to - I would totally buy an expensive item online through a site I hadn't used before.

answered Apr 15 '11 at 14:26
Alex Cook
641 points


A trustworthy online brand... in your industry has to be one of your top objectives and you are clearly trying to achieve this so well done. To create an online brand that people trust is important for most eCommerce sites, but for one selling very high value items it is imperative.

Legit company

  • Easy to access contact details (preferably not Unit 9a, Industrial Park...)
  • Use freephone or regular phone numbers (not premium etc)
  • Clearly state who the trading entity is
  • Before you have built up your brand, piggy-back off other trusted brands. If you have relationships with any trusted companies/brands, ask for permission to use their logo on your website and explain why their logo is there.
  • High res photographs of the product, at various angles (plenty of pictures). A big big turn-off for me is realising that pictures of the rings are not actual pictures, but computer renderings: this $42,000 ring on Gemvara doesn't have a photo, just a pixel perfect computer rendering. How do you know what you are going to get? I was considering buying my wife an eternity ring on this website recently, but as soon as I realised that all of the pictures were computer renderings they lost the sale beyond hope.
  • Detailed descriptions (if well laid out, there cannot be enough)
  • Transparent customer testimonial/review system (a system, not a few quotes thrown up)
Security of payment data
  • Make sure you have plenty of time left on your SSL cert
  • If you know customers are wary of buying high value items online consider 3rd party escrow
Increasing conversion
  • Segment your market and fine-tune your website with multiple facets to target each one. For example, some of your customers will be grooms-to-be that don't know much about rings/stones/jewelery/ring-sizes so create a section just for them, explaining everything there is to know with them in mind. Explain how ring sizing works and tactics for getting your fiance-to-be's ring size! They are spending a months wages on a ring here so be understanding to that plight! Some people like to be led through the process - should I buy a sapphire stone or an emerald? Are there any connotations to triple diamonds or single sapphires? A guide/wizard that helps with the process can differentiate you from the competition that just has a confusing number of rings on display.
answered Apr 14 '11 at 00:04
2,333 points
  • The renderings are beautifully done, it's interesting that prevented you from buying. I wonder if the renderings have the same effect on other people? – Alex Cook 13 years ago
  • I don't know about other people but the effect it had on me was that as they are computer renderings, of course they are perfect, but how accurate a representation are they of the real product? I don't want to take the risk. – Edralph 13 years ago
  • That's a good point. That's where things like proactive chat and real customer testimonials might help. I'm sure Gemvara is well on their way to solving that problem! I actually had no idea they were renderings until a friend told me - how did you find out? – Alex Cook 13 years ago
  • Beneath the images there is a small disclaimer saying that 'Gems shown are renderings'. I think that the entire piece of jewelery is a rendering too, judging by how the edges of rings look slightly jagged. Also if you look at the page of rings, each ring is identically angled, pixel perfect, etc. Too artificial for me. http://www.gemvara.com/Gemstone-Rings/jewelry/b/rings-fashion/Edralph 13 years ago


At the risk of trying not to sounding redundant with edralph and alex cook both making excellent arguments on how to get your jewelry business to a new level of trust.

It is going to be imperative to have a completely open system of reviews on the products you are selling. Both the good and the bad.

Customer support, like the others have mentioned, is going to be the biggest thing towards gaining trust from prospects you have never met. Every customer is not going to jump on and buy an expensive product the first time they see it. They will likely come back five to ten times before they make that final purchase. So you being there for them every step of the way will go a long way with building trust and legitimacy within your market.

You can take this a step further and start web video chat to bring the customers one step closer to touching the piece of jewelry they are going to buy. This can easily get face time with your customers and give you an easy opportunity to display the product in a real light. Think of it as actually going into the jewelry store. This can definitely set you apart from many other retailers.

Lastly, being active in your jewelry community is going to make you look like an authority. Get to know your target market intimately and build those relationships.

I have made all of my recently jewelry purchases based on a personal relationship I have made with my friends who also happen to be jewelers.

Good Luck.

answered Apr 27 '11 at 09:11
61 points


Please allow me to elaborate:

First of all, I have been in the jewelry manufacturing business for over 20 years. I was involved in the creation of Mondera.com (now closed as jewelry e-tailer), Gemkey.com (B2B jewelry/diamonds/gemstones trade site ) and Fameo.co.uk (selling jewelry online to the UK Market, now also closed).

In all these ventures, I was the co-founder and CTO but in Fameo.co.uk I was the owner. It was supposed to be the front end of our manufacturing facility based in Bangkok, Thailand. Despite it being closed for reason I won't discuss here as they are out of topic, we still serve the clients who need repairs done, adjustments etc.

To answer your question straight to the point:

  1. You need to make sure the site is operated by legitimate owners who KNOW the business: It is very easy for anyone today to come up with a site that sells jewelry online but this does not mean that the people behind it understand jewelry. It is preferable that you purchase jewelry from websites that are run by people who actually do manufacture them or at least have been in the business for long time and understand their product and customer needs.
  2. What you see is not necessarily what you get: Many sites out there retouch their products extensively and the retouched items can be far away from reality. In my idea this deceiving the client. Other sites display computer generated photos of their product and I do recommend you to absolutely AVOID such sites because there is NO WAY that you will get the product you see on screen. Jewelry making is far from being a perfect product like such CAD generated designs.
  3. You cannot determine 100% quality: You cannot know for sure of the quality of the item by looking at the photo but if the photo has not been retouched beyond norms, then you can get a very good idea of the product quality. At any rate, if you are buying from a company with reputation and who preferably have their own manufacturing facilities, check their history and what they produced and for which market. As technical questions (if you can) and see the answers (chat live if possible so you know the person knows the business and did not prepare for the answer).

From my humble experience, most of the products out there are mass produced and of low quality, few sites provide high end jewelry that you can satisfy your desires. In the end, what matters is trust. In our business trust is above all and if your online jewelry store can establish that trust and make you confirtable and assure you of your purchase then I am sure you will get back for more.

If you need to know more about my credentials to you know what I am saying is true, visit my G+ community https://plus.google.com/u/0/communities/100689153072781340162 to know more. I can help you making your purchase experience a nice one and I won't charge you for my advice :-)

answered May 24 '13 at 13:34
Wadih Saghieh
11 points


One year money back guarantee ?

answered Apr 26 '11 at 20:10
201 points
  • we'll do 30 days, I think its a bit of a gamble on long-lasting healthy marriages for us to provide one year money back guarantees, although it would give us some good press. – Nikolay Piryankov 13 years ago
  • I don't understand. Rings are not like underpants, shoes or anything that degrades rapidly when used. Have you checked how easily/cheaply it can be refurbished into a new ring ? When I bought my ring, it was too big. They could reajust the size with no problem. So a repolish, changing size and changing written text inside can't be that expensive. Keep a short cut on the refund for business processing so that it covers your refurbishing cost. I think it would be worth to investigate this option. I would be a blasting commercial argument ! – Chmike 13 years ago


When I shop online I'm rarely concerned with payment data security. I have no liability for credit card fraud with my bank, so I'm not overly paranoid about loss of card info.

I would be concerned about the integrity and stability of the retailer. Having brick and mortar stores (ideally multiple locations) would lend some credibility and trust to them.

Diamonds are a particularly interesting case because they are so easily faked or misrepresented to the average consumer. For diamonds specifically, some sort of EIA/GIA/AGS cert and laser inscription would be a good way to let the buyer know what they are buying (and verify receipt of correct product).

answered Apr 13 '11 at 20:25
Brian Karas
3,407 points


  • Great UI and user experience
  • Customer Reviews
  • Partnerships with well-established businesses
  • Clear contact information, I should be able to find an email address and a phone number
  • About us page with details about the people who founded and work in that site.

Good luck!

answered Apr 26 '11 at 22:52
4,815 points


I'd suggest you look at adding "badges" from organizations like the Better Business Bureau and TRUSTe. These let consumers know you care about being trusted and they both provide independent complaint resolution processes that consumers tend to trust.

answered Apr 14 '11 at 01:14
Fitness Guy
316 points


I purchased an engagement ring a year ago from an online retailer (NSC ).

Trust is definitely a key issue if you want in to the business. I normally have no hesitation purchasing from online retailers, but rings cost much more than a typical purchase. I spent much more time trying to establish validity than I normally would.

Things that helped:

  • Accredited with the Better Business Bureau.
  • I was able to Google the company name and find people discussing it in forums. Plus I didn't find any pages with people writing "this is a scam".
  • The company has been around for many years.
  • The company has stated security policies to prevent themselves from being defrauded. It helps show me that they're serious.

Finally, these weren't around at the time I was shopping, but a bunch of newspaper articles mentioning the firm would have helped too.

answered Apr 14 '11 at 01:28
251 points
  • I'm surprised you mention the BBB. Most people recognize the BBB as a shallow extortion scam. I'm actually surprised they're still around, but personally BBB data carries ZERO weight for me. – Brian Karas 13 years ago
  • I don't really care about the BBB itself. I care about validation from outside organizations. Specifically, the BBB provides address/contact info, (dubiously useful) customer feedback, and years of operation/BBB-accreditation. It's just one data point in separating a legitimate specialty business from a scam operation, but it's still a useful one nonetheless. – Nsanders 13 years ago
  • I like your last point about protecting ourselves from fraud as a sign of our trustworthiness. – Nikolay Piryankov 13 years ago


Almost nothing. I just use Amazon, and rely on the return and redress policy.

answered Apr 13 '11 at 23:44
526 points


Ability to try it on.

I only intend to get married once, I intend to spend a LOT compared to my income ... its a personal, once off experience ...

Possibly something like the following:

  1. the ability to measure my fingers somehow
  2. make up my ring on the site
  3. put my money into an escrow situation where if I keep the ring you get the money, if it return it you release the money back to me.

We did a web based application for wholesale rings a few years ago quite successfully, they 4X their order volume in a few months.

I had the designs worked out for software and business model at the time but our client wasn't in the retail market and didn't want to go there.

answered Apr 29 '11 at 10:22
Robin Vessey
8,394 points


SSL is mandatory for this type of site. I don't know how many sites I have seen from fairly big companies asking for personal info without SSL. I went to one financial site that wanted to do a financial assessment and asked for salary info, all revolving credit info, etc. and no SSL.

And please, please... if you ask them to register for an account. Do not provide their full password in plain text when you send the confirmation email.

answered May 1 '11 at 15:00
Ho Wi Web
31 points

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