So you are interested in buying some crystals (who isn’t these days?) but there is no crystal shop in your area … or one that you like anyway. It seems like crystals are everywhere, prominently displayed on prime time TV shows, promoted by celebrities, anchoring your colleague’s desk and even in doctor’s offices. Crystals are a phenomenon that’s been going on for say… 30,000 or more years. So how do you find the real thing online for the right price and learn something along the way too?
As a wholesale buyer for over 25 years (for both in-store and online sales) I have seen the best and the worst of Suppliers, Sellers and crystal products. Let me share with you the very BEST ways to ensure that your online shopping experience with crystals is a GREAT one and one that you’ll return to time and time again. Let’s go!
1. Know exactly who you are buying from.
The internet for better or worse is a great leveler so it can be hard to distinguish who is real and who has much to hide. So you want to qualify your Seller just like you would in hiring a new employee. Look long and hard at the evidence available and here’s why.
Selling anonymously is a sure way to deceive unsuspecting buyers by selling inferior product and potentially the customer’s private purchasing information to hackers. It works like this. Foreign and domestic companies set up USA warehouses under fictitious LLCs and purchase containers of cheap crystals from overseas and dump them on unsuspecting buyers. But there’s no actual address, no real person’s name and impossible to track where your hard earned money is going to. You’ll find these people even on well traveled sites like Etsy or eBay and they often use compelling crystal sounding company names. Chances are you will get what they want to sell you and not what you really want with returns difficult to impossible. Avoid purchasing crystals on Amazon, AliBaba and AliBaba Express – they are commodity companies without the right format for crystals. The pricing can be deceptive, the quality questionable and product information sketchy or non-existent. Save yourself the grief!
2. Look for a depth of Communication Threads.
The best online vendors will have a wealth of information for you to dig into on their website. (No website? Red flag!) They will have a dedicated customer service email and get back to you within time promised. Better yet, check their social media sites which should have daily or at least weekly postings with new arrivals, staff interviews, live shows, travel logs, blogs, videos and great photos. They may offer a community page where their customers can post pictures and comments uncensored. The company will be upfront and personable. You will know the names of not just the founders, but the employees who work there and what they look like. You know, like real people who are accountable. And this is important - be cautious of companies with only 1 person as its figurehead and no other visible experts or employees. They may pose themselves as experts but are simply stand-ins for a dump operation. If you are an English speaker then their English should be standard, not broken with inappropriate phrasing, idioms or misspellings.
3. Make a test purchase.
If you are satisfied a company is real and their reviews look positive, make a small test purchase to see if the online buying experience is satisfactory to you. I suggest an item that is fairly foolproof like a Quartz point or a colorful tumbled stone. If a Seller can fulfill a small order well, chances are a larger purchase will be just as nice. The best Sellers treat every sale equally regardless of size. So first go small and see if they treat you big! Another tip, until you qualify an online seller with a test purchase, do not purchase any Mystery Boxes, Surprise items, unmarked bags, seconds, large quantities of anything or items marked “wholesale” price. Chances are you will be unpleasantly “surprised.”
4. Brick and Mortar Backup.
Not every online vendor will have a “real” store, but many do and that is a very good sign. They are more likely to be successful with staying power and less likely to be a fly by night operation. Look for showrooms with outstanding displays, a wide variety of product and price points, and educational products. And here’s an insider secret. The best Sellers will carry at least some of the more rare and unusual crystals like Moldavite, Topaz, Libyan Glass, Peridot, Herkimers and more. Why? Their knowledge base is deeper and they are willing to invest in the top stones for those customers who really want to touch and feel their dream crystal. Even if you can’t afford the rare ones, someday you will and those that can right now will put their trust in the stores that will step up for the best. Keep your sights high.
5. Check for Grade A Authenticity.
Don’t get stuck with C or B grade crystals. Remember every pocket and vein mined has a good quantity of material that is not prime. The miners sort and grade their crystal finds and sell ALL of it. The lower grades are like over-ripe bananas and you won’t enjoy them. Yes they will be cheap, cheap, cheap … and it will feel that way once you get them. Yuck! So again, how do you protect yourself against this lower quality? Know your Seller really well and they should grade most of their crystals as A or higher (yes there is AAA for gem quality) but not every stone is mined in that grade. The best Sellers buy in large enough wholesale quantities so that Grade A stones are very affordable. And best of all, they want you as a lifetime customer not a one night stand. You deserve to be treated fairly and to your satisfaction.
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