Trust is the key factor in any jewelry purchase, but particularly when the transaction involves sending gold to a jeweler for appraisal and sale. Ross-Simons Inc. is six months into its Gold Exchange service and customers accept the exchange offer for their jewelry 99% of the time, the chain jewelry retailer says.
“Video receiving,” a feature that permits the customer to watch the jeweler open a prepaid, insured package containing their gold items, goes a long way toward building confidence in the process, says Darrell S. Ross, president and CEO of Ross-Simons, No. 155 in the Internet Retailer Top 500 Guide.
“I’ve learned to never underestimate our customers,” Ross says. “They know what they want, they know what a good value is, they know what good quality is and you can’t fool them.”
The Ross-Simons Gold Exchange runs on web-based technology hosted by Refinement Services LLC., a provider of gold-buying transaction-management services. In 2009, Neil Kugelman, CEO of online jeweler Goldspeed.com Inc., No. 440 in the Top 500 Guide, launched Refinement Services to capitalize on a combination of high gold prices and a cash-hungry public. Refinement Services processes the gold a customer sells to retailers like Ross-Simons and sells it on the commercial market. The proceeds are divided among the consumer and the jewelry retailer, with Refinement Services keeping an undisclosed commission. Participating retailers also pay a small undisclosed set-up fee.
“With our embedded webcam system, we give customers a front-seat view of their packages being opened and their items being weighed,” says Kugelman, also CEO of Refinement Services. Goldspeed.com first introduced the gold-buying service on its own e-commerce site, and Kugelman later created Refinement Services to sell the service to other jewelry retailers.
Other jewelers using the Refinement Services platform include Kay Jewelers, The Galleria Of Jewelry, J.B. Robinson Jewelers, Belden Jewelers and Friedlander`s Jewelers.