New Service Combats Online Comparison ShoppingJanuary 10, 2011
New York—Two industry veterans are teaming up to offer an online service intended to help retailers combat diamond price shopping on the Internet, one of the biggest challenges facing retail jewelers today.
Jacques Voorhees, founder and former chief executive officer of Polygon, and Bill Boyajian, former Gemological Institute of America (GIA) president, launched the Daily Diamond Report (DDR) last week. The service e-mails subscribers an exclusive, daily list of freshly graded diamonds obtained directly from the GIA and American Gem Society (AGS) labs. The report includes seller contact information, a PDF of the certificate and full grading details in searchable format.
The diamonds are posted to the report within hours of grading, before they have physically left the lab or the grading reports have even been printed. In addition, these stones haven't yet appeared anywhere else on the Internet, meaning that consumers can't Google the grading report number to price-shop the diamond on multiple Web sites, a problem many retailers grapple with, Voorhees said.
He said what normally happens with diamonds is that the owners of the stones start posting information about them online, on sites such as RapNet and Polygon, in order to sell them. The information then goes viral and ends up on hundreds of Web sites.
While a jeweler can tell a customer comparing prices on stones with different grading report numbers that no two diamonds are alike, "You can't play that card if you're talking about the same report number," Voorhees said.
The DDR puts a stop to that, for at least a short time. Voorhees said diamond dealers have agreed that the stones they place on the DDR won't appear anywhere else on the Web for one to seven days, with each individual dealer setting the time period for their stone.
During that time, retailers know their customers won't be able to find the diamond on another Web site at a lower price. Voorhees said retailers could use the service as a selling tool, letting customers know they have access to an exclusive supply of just-graded diamonds but that the stone will be exclusive to them for only a limited amount of time.
For suppliers, the service gains exposure for their diamonds before they've even left the grading lab. They don't have to wait for stones to return from the grading lab to start marketing them for sale.
DDR is free—Voorhees said the service generates its income from advertising on the Web site—and open to trade professionals only. Consumers cannot access the site.
DDR is a unit of VeriChannel Inc., the company Voorhees and Boyajian formed to provide online services to the trade. The company is also launching a Google technology-powered search engine for the trade, along with other products in 2011.
To subscribe to the DDR, visit Verichannel.com. Those wishing to subscribe will be asked to verify that they are in the jewelry industry.