History of James Allen
The illustrious history of James Allen begins of course with the company’s eponymous founder.
James Allen Shultz, as well as his wife Michele, founded his eponymous jewelry company in 1998.
While this may seem like just a short time ago, it’s important to remember that in the realm of internet technology, things age exponentially rapidly, particularly in the backdrop of fierce competition and subsequent need for differentiation of services and products.
The story of James Allen Shultz is not very much unlike the founders of other franchises in that it was borne out of dissatisfaction with his own personal search for just the right diamond engagement ring for his future wife in his very own life time.
Since its founding, James Allen has grown rapidly and has quickly become one of the world’s foremost online jewelry stores for diamond engagement rings.
After branding the company anew later on in 2005, James Allen went about its business with a renewed vigor, showcasing its engagement rings in particularly sublime settings and partnering up with some of the most renowned designers to create some very innovative and stunning designs for them to give them a decisive edge over the rest of the competition.
What Makes James Allen Stand Out
There are many things that make James Allen stand out from all of the other competitors in the world of jewelry sales, chief among them an unparalleled work ethic and constant and unwavering desire for improvement and innovation, which have consistently bolstered customers’ confidence in and satisfaction with their purchases and spurred the entire industry itself as a whole to pick up the pace to catch up with what James Allen has managed to accomplish within it and for it.
One such innovation, a rather revolutionary one at that, that James Allen first implemented for its storefronts and selections was the three hundred and sixty degree diamond engagement ring display, which for the first time allowed consumers to see what exactly they would expect to buy and to receive from James Allen, without the usual discrepancies and misunderstandings that result in customers being limited to at best a few select physical stores and limited display options beforehand in those very same stores.
Not only is this important for the customer satisfaction to be safeguarded by saved trips to the jewelry store and unfulfilling and limited interactions with store representatives, but the unimpeded ability for the customers to see the diamond engagement rings they are looking to buy in their proper three dimensional shape, symmetry and clarity are almost essential to make informed purchase decisions that one cannot make solely from the listed specifications as seen on paper or in a product description alone.
In addition, with James Allen, customers can expect to work with a knowledgeable expert to help them interpret the particular style and quality of the particular diamond engagement ring or other product they may be wishing to purchase, meaning they will most certainly get the most out of their dealings with the company.
Having adopted Amazon’s model of keeping a large inventory worth millions dollars but without all the expenses of maintaining the products there, James Allen has been able to hold a breathtakingly massive and varied inventory of diamond engagement rings for customers to select from.
Not only that, but the streamlined business model that James Allen employs allows it to offer these diamond engagement rings to customers at very reasonable prices compared to the competition, who may offer less and charge even more than James Allen would. However, despite the sheer size and variety of James Allen’s inventory, there is no proportionate compromise in ethics and quality, as all of their engagement ring diamonds are certified to be free from any conflict, ensuring they they have been derived ethically from legitimate sources, allowing the customer to purchase free of worry.
To top it all off, all the James Allen diamond engagement rings are easily and readily available to be seen on the company’s website beforehand at any time of the customer’s choosing.
In contrast with buying from the usual physical brick and mortar jeweler, buying at James Allen offers a large variety of benefits in not only pricing but in customer service as well.
For one, buyers can shop and buy at their own pace without any compulsion or pressure from salespeople who likely are more invested in earning commission than they may be invested in customer satisfaction.
Furthermore, with James Allen, information can be verified at any point in the buying process via trusted third parties, whereas salespeople in a brick and mortar jewelry store might try to overwhelm you with information you can’t immediately check, knowing your time is limited and for such a monumental decision.
The costs that end up being saved by James Allen by not having to pay exorbitant maintenance and storage costs for their inventory result in a reduced price that the customer ultimately has to pay, whereas the high inventory costs of competitors are passed down to the customer, unknowingly increasing the prices of their individual purchases.
Since James Allen is not invested in selling you any one specific diamond and is instead focused on customer satisfaction, a very warm and personalized service can be expected from them, whereas other jewelry companies may simply want to get rid of something unsightly from their store or inventory, and may have relatively few scruples about doing just whatever it may be that they may have to do in order to get you to take it off their hands.
Lastly, James Allen offers full refunds within a thirty day period, something that is rare for other jewelers, who may offer an in store credit that only serves to lock you into interacting with that same company more down the line, resulting in repeated disappointment with them.
As mentioned before, the main product that James Allen was involved in selling was engagement rings.
As a result, James Allen initially lagged behind a bit in regards options that weren’t bridal or matrimonial in nature.
This is no longer the case now, and in addition to the presence of an impeccable quality that has not been compromised, there is an even wider selection that has steadily been growing for customers to choose from. Quality remains constant across many different choices.
Outstanding Consumer Experience
While finding the right engagement ring with excellent quality and at a reasonable price is the primary goal of customers, the experience of purchasing the item and dealing with the company from whom you are buying it is extremely important in maintaining the reputation of the company and getting customers to return and new ones to buy the company’s products.
Even a high quality ring may not have good sales to match if the customer service is not so satisfactory. James Allen provides 24/7 customer support, with staff possessing an extensive technical expertise and unfaltering willingness to answer questions and resolve issues for their customers.
James Allen also offers customers free shipping so as to minimize any discomfort the customer might have over the transit of such a sensitive, personal and valuable item. The company figures it is the least they can do. In addition, James Allen offers easy returns within a 30 day period.
This is to further ensure that for a product that is not seen directly prior to purchasing it, there is minimal risk on the part of the customer.
Our Secret Shopping Experience: Buying Online from James Allen
James Allen has a website with an accessible interface that makes the purchasing process fast and free of hassle. Once a product is ordered from the site, it takes just a few days to deliver to the customers residence, with status notifications provided every step of the way to assure the customer. Adding to this is the fact that the ordered item will arrive in a lovely box with nice packaging to pull together the experience. The process of returning the item is as easy as that of receiving it. After a fast and painless phone conversation with a representative from the company, you will receive a return label with which you can drop off your package, with the issued refund showing up after a few days and on your next credit card bill.
How to buy a diamond ring on James Allen
Even with all the available information provided, the process of buying an item from James Allen can still be a challenge, especially if it’s your first time doing so.
The best solution then is to simply call and talk to a representative from James Allen so you can be personally guided throughout the process and maybe even given personalized recommendations at every single step along the way.
However, asking yourself three things to consider before you buy anything can help you narrow down just what exactly it is that you may be looking for. The first thing to consider is setting your budget. You should spend however much you are comfortable with, being flexible but staying within your allotted range.
Paying a bit more than desired for a much more desired ring is probably worth it, but try not to fall into the salesman’s trap of assuming that because a diamond ring is costlier it must necessarily be bigger or of proportionately better value or quality.
Focus on the item you want, not the cost or specifications alone. The next thing to consider is the shape of the diamond. Like budget, this is something you must decide for yourself ultimately based on personal preference. However, there are some general rules of thumb to help you do so.
For one, a rounder diamond is certainly going to be more brilliant than others, as well as being costlier per weight of each carat.
The last thing to consider is itself comprised of two additional things to ask yourself.
The first question is approximately what proportion of the overall budget will be taken up by the diamond ring setting, because finding the right diamond only to find it can’t fit into a setting that isn’t affordable for your budget.
The second issue is that the style of the setting may affect the recommended color grade for your chosen diamond. The gallery on the James Allen website can help you decide if you are having trouble doing so.
Once all these questions are considered and answers and all the matters are resolved to satisfaction, the next step, for which following guidelines can greatly help, is to conduct a search with the right filters put in place.
Mistakes made in this part of the process can greatly diminish your diamond’s luster and appearance, in turn affecting your decision.
The next and last step after this, and unfortunately the most difficult one, is to select the cheapest diamond that is visibly clean and clear. This process, even if done countless times, can still be nearly impossible to master, requiring more intuition than anything. Once again however, as with each and every single step in this entire process, talking directly with a company representative can help you if you are feeling stuck at any point or in any conceivable way.
Packaging and Unboxing
In comparison to the packaging of its competitors, which usually ranges from satisfactory to mediocre or worse, that which James Allen uses for its diamond engagement rings is in a league of its own
. The process of unboxing a James Allen diamond engagement ring begins with opening the FedEx box the diamond engagement ring comes delivered in, another box, this one made out of polished hardwood, that is crafted to perfectly fit within the FedEx delivery box slides out.
The James Allen box has the company name and red butterfly logo etched in to it elegantly. After the lid of this box is removed, a sheet of foam with a portion cut out at the center to snugly contain the packaging for the diamond engagement ring.
An addition to, you guessed it, the James Allen diamond engagement ring you ordered, at the bottom of the box are the associated documents and certifications to verify their maker. There is also included a polishing cloth and any other accessories based on what exactly you may have ordered from James Allen.
In addition to serving as an elegant reminder of and capstone for the entire process of ordering from James Allen, the lovely box is also functional, and can be used for storing other diamonds, be they from other companies or people, or from future purchases from James Allen.
As such they are very secure, ensuring nothing that is kept in them will be stolen or damaged during transit.
Why We Like James Allen
There are many good reasons to love James Allen, including but by no means limited to their massive selection of quality diamonds, personalized customization that puts the customer satisfaction first, revolutionary imaging software that lets you look at items at many different angles before you buy, impeccable craftsmanship and high standards of manufacturing, excellent 24/7 customer service, a lifelong warranty, and fully refunded returns within a period of thirty days.
Comparing James Allen to the Competition
Until this time all the positive aspects and services offered by James Allen have been laid out here, but no matter in how much detail we may go into James Allen, the picture can never be fully complete without looking at the ways James Allen compares to the competition.
Furthermore, the view would not be totally objective and would appear to be more like a sales pitch than anything else. For a full picture, James Allen will be compared to and contrasted with a large variety of jewelry companies, ranging from local to luxury and in store to online.
Among the closet competitors with James Allen in the realm of the online jewelry market would have to be Blue Nile, so it follows that a comparison between these two online diamond giants would yield fruitful data. James Allen possesses a larger inventory of jewels than does Blue Nile. Furthermore, while Blue Nile has only three quarters of its total inventory digitized photographically as of today, James Allen has done so for every single one of the many jewelry items in its grand inventory, and with revolutionary technology than allows you to see it in three dimensions and interpret it as if in real time with the help of experts in terms of parameters that two dimensions alone may not fully be able to convey or capture, such as but certainly by no means limited to clarity and ocular cleanliness.
The product images at Blue Nile lack the same level of detail, but may be easier to inspect from a lay point of view.
If expert guidance is available, however, James Allen seems to hold the clear advantage in this particular area. The return and upgrade policies for both James Allen and Blue Nile are essentially the same, with completely refunded returns available within a period of thirty days if the customer is not completely satisfied with their product, so long as the product purchased is returned in the same condition as it came in.
There is no fee involved in restocking, and the companies themselves will foot the bill for any shipping returns, though only for customers based in North America. Furthermore, any item bought from either of the two online jewelry stores will be able to be exchanged for and replaced by, at one hundred percent credit, a diamond worth at least twice as much in value as the original purchase, which must be in the same condition as when it was purchased, with the proper documentation provided in order to verify this to the company to whom you are returning your diamond purchased. Another thing both of the online jewelry companies share is 24/7 customer service. When it comes to competition, every single means of standing out counts.
Not only then does the quality of the jewelry matter, but also that of all services rendered throughout the buying process and of anything particularly unique that one company does that another does not or even takes for granted entirely.
A great example of this is the packaging. While most jewelry companies may focus mostly or completely on selling individual items regardless of the quality of the service or even of the item itself, James Allen demonstrates its commitment at every step of the process: the purchase, the service, and the delivery. They send their items in a finely crafted box that fits the delivery box containing it perfectly and is functional as well, able to hold other items.
Not just the diamond engagement ring but even the delivery box shows luxury and attention to detail. Blue Nile once lagged behind, but has been steadily catching up and closing the gap in this area. Nonetheless, James Allen set the standard, and did so very well at that. Compared to Reeds Jewelers, James Allen is the clear winner with better quality items at a cheaper price. Costco may not seem at first glance to be a competitor among jewelers to James Allen, but it does possess a wide variety of items with good quality and an excellent return policy to boot.
However, their service falls rather short, and skilled jewelers who can guide you in making your best purchase decisions or even make customizations on your items may not be found here. In addition, the prices of James Allen are still cheaper than what one may hope to find for the very same items purchased at Costco.
Tiffany & Co. is a formidable competitor in the realm of luxury jewelry, with excellent service, beautiful diamonds, and millions of dollars invested into the recognition of their brand and the robustness of their reputation. However, James Allen offers larger items at lesser prices, meaning it makes the cut, no pun intended, in this category.
Frequently Asked Questions
Some of the most frequently asked questions in regards to buying diamond engagement rings at James Allen are whether James Allen has an on site showroom in addition to its online store, which it indeed does in New York City and Washington D.C. though only by appointment, whether James Allen offers a life time warranty for repair and maintenance of each and every purchase one of any its items, which it indeed does, whether James Allen offers resizing for each and every purchase one of any its items, which it indeed does for a year after the purchase to add yet another layer of reassurance for the customer, whether James Allen charges a sales tax for purchases of their diamonds, which indeed they do in most states as can be seen on their most recently fully updated list of states, whether the prices of the diamonds purchased from James Allen are relatively low, which they indeed are and quite competitively so both online and in store with a price match offered to you, whether diamonds purchased from James Allen are certified by GIA, which the vast majority indeed are and with a filter to select among certifications you wish to see, and last but by no means least whether James Allen offers financing, which it indeed does via a multitude of options, the best being interest deferred over a period of six months, or half of a year.
James Allen has been referred to and recommended many times over by many different people and companies, and while everyone has a different personal experience, they mostly seem to be positive.
Furthermore, the reasons can generally be boiled down to a common set of reasons.
These include but are by no means limited to fantastic quality and selection at decent prices, good customer reviews and referrals and experiences in dealing with the company and its representatives, and last but certainly not least is the cutting edge three hundred and sixty degree virtual display that lets customers know exactly what they are getting before they buy it.
Bottom Line Recommendation
So what is the bottom line recommendation given all of this information about James Allen? All in all, it is safe to say that, based on the countless positive customer reviews and feedback, you are most likely to be incredibly satisfied with the items you order from James Allen, as well as with the ordering process itself and at every step of it too.
In fact it is likely to prove James Allen to be the best online jewelry store when it comes to purchasing diamond engagement rings, as demonstrated by the many testimonials online and elsewhere by customers and their loved ones, lay persons and reputable experts alike.
James Allen has demonstrated time and time again its sheer dedication to the customer and his or her satisfaction, as well as the high quality, professional and personalized process by which its representatives conduct business.