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No more online certs at James Allen

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diamondnewbieny

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I’ve been comparing diamonds before JA removes their certificate totally. Now that I know they made this business decision, I am not even gonna waste my time. There are just too many other great companies out there.
 

bmfang

Brilliant_Rock
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James Allen has been removed from my list of prospective vendors. I now won't be recommending them to colleagues, friends and family members who are looking for diamonds. At least until the point in time if and when GIA grading reports are available again for prospective customers to view without needing to contact a sales associate.
 

kmoro

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https://www.forbes.com/sites/rachellebergstein/2017/10/18/signet-bought-diamond-retailer-jamesallen-com-for-328m-back-in-august-whats-next/#5176ee6f1407

Interesting excerpts:

“Lederman chuckles. “If I had an option to choose between 150,000 stones photographed at 30x [magnification], and staring at one stone and looking at a piece of paper [a gemological report], this is a better shopping experience,” he answers wholeheartedly. “There’s no doubt between selection, value and transparency, we’re offering the best.””

““Our technologies are something that they value, along with the JamesAllen.com brand,” Lederman says of Signet. ””

““I want you to be knowledgeable,” he says of the JamesAllen.com customer: “Go online, do your homework, research me, ask your friends, go to my website, look around.” He says the typical JamesAllen.com shopper researches a ring for 6-12 weeks, and visits the website from an average of five different devices. “

The article says the average spent on a diamond is about $6,000. I was guessing that this is the target market .... I know $6,000 is a lot to a lot of people, but I don’t feel like it goes that far in the diamond world. Probably those with higher budgets were already going elsewhere, I’m guessing ... except for the occasional savvy shopper and those looking for fancy shapes. I suspect their average sale will go to about $3,000, a level where people are willing to be more careless.

Either way, it looks like Signet is moving away not just from the original JA transparent and research-friendly website but from the original JA concept.

This reminds me of my employer, who decided that salary expense was too high, and so they cut a few $100,000 a year jobs ... of people who used to bring in $10M or more. You don’t have to be a genius to see how silly that is.


https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170406006047/en/JamesAllen.com-Raises-140-Million-Growth-Equity-Investment

”We are very excited to be investing in JamesAllen.com to help them offer not only incredible value in bridal jewelry, but to become the jeweler for life for savvy consumers, millennial couples and jewelry connoisseurs everywhere,” added Spetzler.”

“ ... allowing retailers, manufacturers and consumers to transact digitally without the high expenses and time delays associated with traditional brick & mortar alternatives.”

Time delays will now be caused by the need to contact customer service.


Annnnd ... if the changes are not enough to make you shop somewhere else, Signet is the new owner.

https://money.cnn.com/2017/02/28/investing/signet-shares-plummet/index.html?iid=EL


I bet someone else comes along, maybe Lederman again, and sets up a new version of JA that is like the old version. There is now a hole in the internet diamond vendor market that someone is bound to fill. I mean, I think we PSers can still be happy with the remaining vendors, but we are used to having more choice.


It it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
 

whitewave

Ideal_Rock
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Messages
9,084
https://www.forbes.com/sites/rachellebergstein/2017/10/18/signet-bought-diamond-retailer-jamesallen-com-for-328m-back-in-august-whats-next/#5176ee6f1407

Interesting excerpts:

“Lederman chuckles. “If I had an option to choose between 150,000 stones photographed at 30x [magnification], and staring at one stone and looking at a piece of paper [a gemological report], this is a better shopping experience,” he answers wholeheartedly. “There’s no doubt between selection, value and transparency, we’re offering the best.””

““Our technologies are something that they value, along with the JamesAllen.com brand,” Lederman says of Signet. ””

““I want you to be knowledgeable,” he says of the JamesAllen.com customer: “Go online, do your homework, research me, ask your friends, go to my website, look around.” He says the typical JamesAllen.com shopper researches a ring for 6-12 weeks, and visits the website from an average of five different devices. “

The article says the average spent on a diamond is about $6,000. I was guessing that this is the target market .... I know $6,000 is a lot to a lot of people, but I don’t feel like it goes that far in the diamond world. Probably those with higher budgets were already going elsewhere, I’m guessing ... except for the occasional savvy shopper and those looking for fancy shapes. I suspect their average sale will go to about $3,000, a level where people are willing to be more careless.

Either way, it looks like Signet is moving away not just from the original JA transparent and research-friendly website but from the original JA concept.

This reminds me of my employer, who decided that salary expense was too high, and so they cut a few $100,000 a year jobs ... of people who used to bring in $10M or more. You don’t have to be a genius to see how silly that is.


https://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20170406006047/en/JamesAllen.com-Raises-140-Million-Growth-Equity-Investment

”We are very excited to be investing in JamesAllen.com to help them offer not only incredible value in bridal jewelry, but to become the jeweler for life for savvy consumers, millennial couples and jewelry connoisseurs everywhere,” added Spetzler.”

“ ... allowing retailers, manufacturers and consumers to transact digitally without the high expenses and time delays associated with traditional brick & mortar alternatives.”

Time delays will now be caused by the need to contact customer service.


Annnnd ... if the changes are not enough to make you shop somewhere else, Signet is the new owner.

https://money.cnn.com/2017/02/28/investing/signet-shares-plummet/index.html?iid=EL


I bet someone else comes along, maybe Lederman again, and sets up a new version of JA that is like the old version. There is now a hole in the internet diamond vendor market that someone is bound to fill. I mean, I think we PSers can still be happy with the remaining vendors, but we are used to having more choice.


It it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!
I suspect a place like B2C will get some of the customers. You have to ask for ASETS but their prices are very good.
 

sledge

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I can appreciate that @YoungPapa came here to offer some additional insight. Unfortunately it just doesn't make sense. Slice, dice and try to sell it as you wish but at the end it's bullying tactics. Preying on the weak to boost profit margins.

I have moral issues with this type of methodology and can't support JA with my own money, nor with recommendations that others support them.

https://www.signetjewelers.com/investors/news-releases/news-release-details/2019/Signet-Jewelers-Reports-Fourth-Quarter-and-Fiscal-2019-Results/default.aspx

https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/SIG/financials?p=SIG

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OboeGal

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Mar 22, 2017
Messages
310
Folks here have done a terrific job covering the salient points, so I will not rehash them, except to reinforce @whatamilookingat's point about young people. James Allen is making the critical mistake of not knowing their target demographic. Millennials, as a group, are already less likely to buy mined diamonds; when they do, they take that expenditure very seriously and are more likely to seek to be informed customers, but they will look for that information/advice from unbiased sources - NOT from the merchants themselves. I see this all over this forum, wedding forums, Reddit, etc. - young people seeking to educate themselves thoroughly, as they don't feel in a financial position to make a mistake with this purchase. Even more critically, though: the LAST thing they want to do is have to deal with a customer service rep just to get basic information about a stone, or whatever else they're shopping for. They have no patience for a hard sell, or even a soft one. Ideally, they would do the whole thing through an app, just like they get their food and their transportation and their dog-walkers. For crying out loud, folks are now buying cars completely online! And their own life experience as well as their parents' has taught them not to trust "salespeople" - for good reason. JA is moving away from the future towards an archaic past.

Not only am I personally frustrated and disappointed - I'm angry. I agree with @sledge - I have moral issues with what they're doing, I'm deeply suspicious of information-hiding and secrecy, and I'm put off by @YoungPapa's explanations that don't ring true (and, frankly, insult our intelligence a bit). They used to be highly recommended by me to many people and they have made money off of me in the past, but as long as they conduct business in this way, not only will they not have a penny of my money and not be recommended by me - I will make it a point to recommend against them.
 

Wewechew

Brilliant_Rock
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1,971
I can appreciate that @YoungPapa came here to offer some additional insight. Unfortunately it just doesn't make sense. Slice, dice and try to sell it as you wish but at the end it's bullying tactics. Preying on the weak to boost profit margins.

I have moral issues with this type of methodology and can't support JA with my own money, nor with recommendations that others support them.

https://www.signetjewelers.com/investors/news-releases/news-release-details/2019/Signet-Jewelers-Reports-Fourth-Quarter-and-Fiscal-2019-Results/default.aspx

https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/SIG/financials?p=SIG

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While I don’t doubt JA hasn’t been doing as well this year as years past, one income statement doesn’t tell an entire story. Last December we had to write off $250k in leasehold improvements when we moved one of our medium sized branches.
 

Gussie

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I have no doubt this was a thoroughly researched idea. JA has chosen a set market and diamond aficionados are not it. I don't think it can be categorized as an immoral decision, just a business decision. These are diamonds, not prescription drugs. The goal is to maximize profits, not to educate. Happens every day. I won't be recommending JA and most psers won't either. But I think that JA completely expected this. Time will tell if this was a wise business decision. It is unfortunate for psers but I expect a lot of the other ps vendors will benefit from it as well.
 
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scouty

Shiny_Rock
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Jan 26, 2019
Messages
364
I was able to get the JA chat rep to send me a link to the GIA cert of the diamond I was interested in after explaining I wasn’t comfortable buying without seeing the GIA number. They said the number was removed to provide some of their diamond vendors with exclusivity. o_O
 

vintageloves

Shiny_Rock
Joined
May 30, 2013
Messages
384
I feel like "buy with your eyes" is such a trap. My eyes are lying liars that lie.

BlueNile used to sell with just reports and no pictures. That wasn't good, either. Consumers really need both. Jewelers love to tell people "don't buy online; you don't know what you're getting." This decision makes this closer to reality. Unfortunately, other sites might decide to go this route if it's lucrative for JA.
 

the_mother_thing

Ideal_Rock
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Messages
5,892
I feel like "buy with your eyes" is such a trap.
Agreed. “Buy with your eyes” may be okay if you are looking at it in person, but countless videos & pics on JA, BN, etc. as well as personal pics posted on PS clearly show that you cannot “buy with your eyes” online. WAYYYY too many variables change what you see on a computer screen vs. in person.
 

missy

Super_Ideal_Rock
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Agreed. “Buy with your eyes” may be okay if you are looking at it in person, but countless videos & pics on JA, BN, etc. as well as personal pics posted on PS clearly show that you cannot “buy with your eyes” online. WAYYYY too many variables change what you see on a computer screen vs. in person.
And pricing is based on cut, color, clarity etc. so if we don’t have those facts how can we know the price is fair? Even if I’m seeing it in person I want the GIA info too. The more info the better imo.
 

whitewave

Ideal_Rock
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I feel like "buy with your eyes" is such a trap. My eyes are lying liars that lie.

BlueNile used to sell with just reports and no pictures. That wasn't good, either. Consumers really need both. Jewelers love to tell people "don't buy online; you don't know what you're getting." This decision makes this closer to reality. Unfortunately, other sites might decide to go this route if it's lucrative for JA.
I love anyone who uses “lying liars who lie” in a sentence. Thank you. It’s so court TV :geek2::kiss2:
 

sledge

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While I don’t doubt JA hasn’t been doing as well this year as years past, one income statement doesn’t tell an entire story. Last December we had to write off $250k in leasehold improvements when we moved one of our medium sized branches.
I agree, one financial statement doesn't tell an entire story. However, the magnitude of the swing is pretty alarming. Keep in mind those numbers are in THOUSANDS. So there is about $1.2 BILLION swing in dollars from 2018 to 2019, in the WRONG direction.

In 2018, JA turned a profit of roughly $519 million net income. In 2019, JA realized a $657 million net loss.

Some of this is explained in the Signet link I posted above. Or I assume it does, as I haven't really combed through the financials in-depth.

Some of the expense appears to be from acquisition of land and building new and/or improvement of existing stores. What I found laughable is JA is reverting to 1980 by forcing customers to call in and force hard sales tactics, yet the CEO is dedicated to improving eCommerce and mobile technology. Hello left hand, meet your near identical twin the right hand. :lol:

While it looks like JA only contributes about $250 million to the overall Signet pot, that's a substantial enough revenue stream that it isn't going unnoticed.

Virginia C. Drosos, Chief Executive Officer, commented, "In Fiscal 2019, we began our Path to Brilliance transformation journey, building foundational capabilities to drive future growth. We made progress on our Path to Brilliance initiatives, achieving double-digit eCommerce growth, delivering $85 million of net cost savings, and continuing to optimize our store footprint. However, we did not finish the year as strongly as expected due to a highly competitive promotional environment, continued consumer weakness in the UK, and lower than expected customer demand for legacy merchandise collections that impacted our holiday fourth quarter results."

Drosos continued, “Using important learnings from Year One of our transformation, as we look forward to Fiscal 2020, we are accelerating initiatives to further develop the seamless and personalized OmniChannel jewelry experience that Signet can uniquely provide. This includes: 1) reinvigorating our product assortment in-store and online with more exclusive pieces and customization; 2) increasing targeted messaging and promotional effectiveness; 3) improving our eCommerce and mobile technology; and 4) enhancing full service offerings like repairs and piercings. Higher levels of investment in these growth initiatives are expected to be funded by aggressively addressing our cost structure and more efficiently managing our inventory. We expect these initiatives to improve the trajectory of our same store sales, operating margins and cash flow generation, and to bolster our balance sheet over the course of our multi-year transformation journey."
 

the_mother_thing

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In case some aren’t following the other thread (about how to find a JA stone’s lab report), I’m cross-posting an update about that here as well for awareness:

OR, you can open a window, put this in the address bar: https://ion.r2net.com/Sets/Diamond/6448481/cert.jpg

Except, instead of “6448481”, you put in the sku of the diamond you’re looking at.
Thanks @Lynniiee !!!! :wavey:
FYI everyone ... it seems JA has disabled this ‘back door’ to view lab reports, as I just tried it with two random diamonds and got the below message. This makes me just really dislike them even more; it’s super shady going to such lengths to actually hide information about their products, not to mention telling customers different reasons for it. :liar:

We’re not talking about trade secrets here ... it’s not like JA is on the cusp of curing cancer, and we’re competition trying to figure out their secret. And it’s not like shoppers are trying to commit fraud by viewing the lab reports for diamonds JA supposedly wants to sell. I guess they just don’t want to sell them bad enough. :roll:
2A630C21-A31B-408D-94B5-85FA7C2F2638.jpeg
 

elizat

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Agreed. “Buy with your eyes” may be okay if you are looking at it in person, but countless videos & pics on JA, BN, etc. as well as personal pics posted on PS clearly show that you cannot “buy with your eyes” online. WAYYYY too many variables change what you see on a computer screen vs. in person.
And that assumes you know what you are looking at!

As an example, I can help someone find an old cut stone or a non-crushed ice cushion, but I am crap at modern rounds because I don't buy them. I can look at photos of modern rounds all day and aside from seeing blatant things, I can't detect a difference in one versus another most times. I just can't, because it's not my knowledge base. Most people don't buy many diamonds and I think that they many times, they all probably start to look the same, so they go for the biggest number on paper that is the cheapest. So, buy with your eyes when you don't know what you are buying, is not helpful.
 

Wewechew

Brilliant_Rock
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Messages
1,971
I feel like "buy with your eyes" is such a trap. My eyes are lying liars that lie.

BlueNile used to sell with just reports and no pictures. That wasn't good, either. Consumers really need both. Jewelers love to tell people "don't buy online; you don't know what you're getting." This decision makes this closer to reality. Unfortunately, other sites might decide to go this route if it's lucrative for JA.
This will not be lucrative for them.
 

the_mother_thing

Ideal_Rock
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Path to Brilliance Transformation:lol-2::lol-2::lol-2:

The only path I see is pointing customers directly to the online competition ... not very brilliant.
 

sledge

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In case some aren’t following the other thread (about how to find a JA stone’s lab report), I’m cross-posting an update about that here as well for awareness:

FYI everyone ... it seems JA has disabled this ‘back door’ to view lab reports, as I just tried it with two random diamonds and got the below message. This makes me just really dislike them even more; it’s super shady going to such lengths to actually hide information about their products, not to mention telling customers different reasons for it. :liar:

We’re not talking about trade secrets here ... it’s not like JA is on the cusp of curing cancer, and we’re competition trying to figure out their secret. And it’s not like shoppers are trying to commit fraud by viewing the lab reports for diamonds JA supposedly wants to sell. I guess they just don’t want to sell them bad enough. :roll:
2A630C21-A31B-408D-94B5-85FA7C2F2638.jpeg
Unfortunately, not surprising. Within "minutes" a solution is introduced to bypass JA's new restriction of the day -- in a thread where JA was active. :lol:

Sometimes silence is golden. Hard to be reactive when you don't hear anything. :cool2:
 

the_mother_thing

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Unfortunately, not surprising. Within "minutes" a solution is introduced to bypass JA's new restriction of the day -- in a thread where JA was active. :lol:

Sometimes silence is golden. Hard to be reactive when you don't hear anything. :cool2:
Exactly ... no offense to our PS vendors, but it makes me wish there was a ‘vendor-free zone’ of PS where consumers were free to discuss things (that restricted access to members with Vendor badges). Let’s face it, JA didn’t come on here and ask our opinion of this change, so they shouldn’t be able to benefit from our discussing it either, IMO. I just think there’d be more transparency in consumer-vendor relations (good & bad) if such a section existed.
 

sledge

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Exactly why my responses have been limited @the_mother_thing. Sorry, but no free rides. :cool2:
 

Dancing Fire

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We’re not talking about trade secrets here ... it’s not like JA is on the cusp of curing cancer, and we’re competition trying to figure out their secret. And it’s not like shoppers are trying to commit fraud by viewing the lab reports for diamonds JA supposedly wants to sell. I guess they just don’t want to sell them bad enough. :roll:
2A630C21-A31B-408D-94B5-85FA7C2F2638.jpeg
JA gave PSers the middle finger. ;)2
 

Laila619

Super_Ideal_Rock
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11,568
Blue Nile is looking better and better. They did the exact OPPOSITE of JA. Over the years and while still keeping prices relatively low, they started providing shoppers with more images, more videos, more info to make an informed purchase--not less like JA is now doing.
 

AV_

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Lederman: “If I had an option to choose between 150,000 stones photographed at 30x [magnification], and staring at one stone and looking at a piece of paper"
I have some respect for reports but not this much!

(does it take looking at 150K diamonds to beat reading that one sheet of paper...)
 

kmoro

Brilliant_Rock
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Messages
1,076
I can appreciate that @YoungPapa came here to offer some additional insight. Unfortunately it just doesn't make sense. Slice, dice and try to sell it as you wish but at the end it's bullying tactics. Preying on the weak to boost profit margins.

I have moral issues with this type of methodology and can't support JA with my own money, nor with recommendations that others support them.

https://www.signetjewelers.com/investors/news-releases/news-release-details/2019/Signet-Jewelers-Reports-Fourth-Quarter-and-Fiscal-2019-Results/default.aspx

https://finance.yahoo.com/quote/SIG/financials?p=SIG

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Hmmm. As an auditor, I would be quite interested in those big changes in expenditures. A huge loss in a new acquisition .... hmmmmm.

lol :wink2:
 
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