Edinburgh Assay Office published findings today (Oct 26) which reveal that 70% of consumers will look for a trust scheme on an online site before committing to a purchase.
The results of the survey, commissioned in partnership with QP Jewellers, demonstrates how important provenance is to the internet consumer. The survey also revealed over 90% of shoppers say knowing their online jewellery purchase is the genuine article is ‘very important’.
In 2014, UK online retail sales rose to £37 billion. While more and more people shop online, this latest survey shows that trust remains one of the biggest barriers to trade with 80% saying they will only consider buying from retailers they are familiar with.
The problem for retailers is that in this digital age, counterfeiters are able to replicate a brand’s website, including photography, in exact detail. So much so that it may take an expert eye in distinguishing it from the legitimate entity.
Online counterfeiting has a real and very negative impact on the jewellery retail industry incurring both financial and reputational loss to the company. When a purchase is made via the internet the customer won’t get to touch the product until it arrives and items are sold mainly on the basis of photos which, sadly, are simple for the counterfeiters to copy.
To combat this, Edinburgh Assay office launched Assay Assured, the world’s first jewellery specific consumer online assurance scheme, in 2012.
The survey findings today support the need for the Assay Assured digital trust mark with over 70% of consumers more likely to buy from a site displaying the accreditation. 84% of the people surveyed said that they were more likely to trust the Assay Assured trust mark as it is a jewellery specific scheme supported by an independent expert arbitration service.
Scott Walter, chief executive officer of Edinburgh Assay Office, explains: “UK Hallmarks have provided consumer protection for hundreds of years by guaranteeing the precious metal content in a piece of jewellery. Today online shoppers have no way of physically checking whether a piece of jewellery is hallmarked or not. The results of the survey show that Assay Assured is a mark that the customer trusts and provides peace of mind when making a purchase. Our survey results clearly demonstrate the importance of giving a jewellery specific trust mark scheme front of stage on your website. ”
Sam Shanks, marketing executive of QP Jewellers, adds: “We take pride in the integrity and quality of our collection. To convey this to our customers we participate in the Assay Assured scheme. Since we began displaying the Assay Assured trust mark we have experienced a marked increase in the number of orders we receive each day. This clearly demonstrates that consumers really do appreciate the peace of mind this scheme brings.”
The Assay Assured trust mark is underpinned by a strict code of conduct for online jewellery sales, in compliance with the Hallmarking Act and also covering the sale of counterfeit branded jewellery. Before approving a site, Assay Assured first carries out an audit of the online retailer and their website. Only if they meet the requirements are they invited to sign the Assay Assured jewellery retailer’s agreement.
The agreement authorises the retailer to carry the Assay Assured jewellery retailer to display the Assay Assured trust mark on their website. The trust mark will link directly to a unique secure certificate, which will confirm their authenticity as an Assay Assured retailer. Within the certificate the consumer will be able to link to a consumer focused landing page giving details about the scheme and UK hallmarking as well as being able to report a query via this site.