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There was a time in the not-too-distant past when shoppers hesitated to spend big bucks online. The web was fine for ordering basics, sure—polo shirts for your boyfriend, that Death Cab for Cutie CD everyone's been raving about—but when it came down to major purchases, you were damn well headed to the mall to shop in person.
No longer. Nowadays, people are willing to buy everything from vintage Rolex watches to Italian furniture to six-figure vacations from their computers.
Flash-sale-site turned e-commerce-giant Gilt sold the most expensive women's jewelry product in the company's history this month: a 3.07 carat Piranesi platinum and diamond ring (pictured above) that went for a whopping $42,800. Also, in the last year the site unloaded a limited-edition Jaguar for $155,875—the most expensive product ever sold on Gilt. That is a lot of damn money to spend sight unseen. Other high-rolling purchases of note Gilt shared with us: A vintage Rolex went for $21,000, and someone bought a vacation—a 17-night stay at Villa Nandana in the Bahamas—for $207,805 on Gilt's travel site Jetsetter. So why are people (well, rich people, anyway) all of a sudden ok with blowing six-figures online?
We asked Jyothi Rao, Gilt's Executive Vice President of Fashion, why she thinks shoppers are more willing to spend big bucks online now. She suggested it's because e-commerce has finally arrived as a vetted industry that shoppers can trust as much as the in-store experience. "[Clients] know Gilt stands behind the quality and authenticity of the products we sell and that we provide excellent customer service," she told us.
Though some e-commerce naysayers (including the New York Times' Delia Ephron and the House of Chanel) disagree that online shopping is as smooth as the traditional brick-and-mortar experience, Gilt's highest-sellers and the sheer number of people who shopped the Cyber Monday sales indicate that this is a growing trend.
We're curious: What do you think? What's the most expensive item you've ever purchased online? Would you ever buy anything as important as an engagement ring or a car on the internet? Speak you mind in the comments below.
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