As the world has gone global and digital, brick-and-mortar buying and selling has given way to online everything. Reputable businesses are expected to have an online presence: a delectable website and a social media presence. TV commercials are less influential in advertising with the onset of DVR, and the Yelp or Google peer review is what makes or breaks a business. When it comes to selling a luxury watch, the temptation to tap into the internet’s vast pool of buyers is intriguing, but what’s the best way to tap into the digital luxury market, without being undersold?
Should you go with the usual suspects? Selling directly to the public is tempting, with websites like Amazon, Ebay and Craigslist giving users the ability to set their own pricing and interact one-on-one with buyers. The problem for Amazon and Ebay arises with the importance of credibility online. Sellers with a lot of stars, outstanding reviews, and an established history of selling online through the website are considered trustworthy by buyers, and unfortunately with the existence of fraudulent transactions online, most buyers wouldn’t consider buying from a seller that doesn’t have an established transaction history…particularly when it comes to buying items with higher prices. Craigslist is known to be a risky venture, which would usually require the buyer and seller to meet in person to exchange cash for goods. As a seller, who doesn’t know anything about a buyer, there is a degree of vulnerability involved.
[adsense300gray]What about online auction houses? Exclusive online auctions, such as 1stdibs.com, also sell luxury timepieces, but they only work with a select group of dealers. Unless you are a dealer, or have an extensive collection to sell that 1stdibs.com might be interested in representing, it is very difficult to sell directly on the website. Large auction houses, such as Christie’s and Sotheby’s, have an established client base and are excellent venues for selling a luxury timepiece, since they employ live auctions streamed through their websites, as well as access to a digital catalog. That said, as a cosigner there are often costs involved, such as the auction house’s commission, shipping/handling and marketing fees. These additional costs are important to consider when choosing a venue to sell through.
Is going a local jeweler a good option? Jewelry retailers are sometimes open to accepting consignment for a watch, which could be added to the ecommerce section of their website. The upside is knowing your watch is safe in the hands of a reputable place. The downside is that a local jewelry store may not have the breath of reach online that a larger website would have, which means their pool of customers may not be accessing the right buyer for your watch.
What about an online dealer? The benefit to working with an established online dealer is that the best of all worlds are involved, from competitive offers to buy to having multiple outlets for consignment. For example, some dealers hold international auctions and work with an exclusive list of buyers for resale. They often also have showrooms for in-person appraisals and appointments. Luxury online dealers, such as WP Diamonds, who specialize in watches, jewelry and diamond dealing can offer an average of 10% more than a smaller dealer or retailer, due to the resources a larger, established company has.
Whatever your preference, exploring all options and doing the research on your luxury watch is essential. Thirty years ago it would have been very difficult to reach as many high-end buyers as the internet connects us to now, and with the growth of established dealers, selling a luxury watch has never been easier.