August 19, 2014, 12:14 PM

Creating consumer trust with an open pricing model

Bob’s Watches lists the buy and sell price for Rolex watches to instill consumer confidence.

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With an average order value of just under $7,000, a purchase from luxury watch e-retailer Bob’s Watches is not likely an impulse buy. And consumers spending that kind of money on one purchase need to trust the retailer they’re buying from, says founder Paul Altieri. “Building trust is still the major obstacle for online retailers, and it is for us, too,” he says.

One way the retailer, which started an online Rolex exchange before morphing into a buyer and seller of Rolex watches, instills confidence and trust is by listing the buy and sell prices for all of the watches on the site.

“We’re selling a very expensive item,” he says. “On Amazon, when you buy a book for $20, you don’t think twice about fraud. But when you’re buying a $20,000 watch, you certainly have to have a lot of trust in that merchant. We have not taken that token of trust for granted. By listing the buy and sell price, it’s part of building that trust.”

For example, a pre-owned, unworn Rolex Oyster Perpetual DateJust is listed on the site for $6,595 to buy from Bob’s Watches and $4,300 to sell to Bob’s Watches. In addition to that transparency, the company also offers a three-day money back guarantee for both buyers and sellers.

“Our buyers have an unconditional three-day right to return the watch for any reason for a full refund,” Altieri says. “Our sellers can change their mind at any time and we return their watch free of any charges.  We pay all the shipping.”

Another way Bob’s Watches creates consumer confidence in the business is by making sure a real person answers the phone when a consumer calls.

“While we fully embrace the latest in technology, we still hold true to many old fashioned business philosophies,” he says. “For example, when a customer calls us, a human being answers ‘Hello, how can I help you.’ Not a phone robot asking you to dial a menu of options.” Altieri says the company’s phone number and address are listed on every page of the web site.

In a typical month, Altieri says the company is buying and selling between 400 and 500 watches. The average price of a watch that Bob’s Watches buys is about $4,500 and the average price of a watch sold on Bob’s Watches is just under $7,000, he says. The company uses FedEx to ship the watches, and Altieri says in four years of working with the shipping company, not a single package has been lost.

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