After interviewing dozens of storeowners and managers, we were able to determine several commonalties. For the most part, merchants are looking to develop long-term business relationships, customer loyalty, and good word-of-mouth advertising.
Finally, we interviewed guests to get their first-hand experiences. One of the best pieces of advice we got was “Do your homework!” Before cruising, visit stores in your area to get the best sale price on what you are looking for. Then on your trip, look for a jeweler you feel comfortable with and develop a relationship. If the jeweler cannot give you the price you’re looking for, don’t buy. We met a group of frequent cruisers who have developed a process. They gave us this advice: Before leaving, contact the island jeweler to let him know what you are looking for. Send pictures or fax sketches of what you want and discuss price. This gives you time to compare prices at home. When you arrive at the store, you know exactly what to expect. Always have it appraised by an independent appraiser at home. This group claims that they have always done well, avoided all the price wars that most vacationers go through and had time for sight seeing and enjoying the beach. They suggest that if this is your first time shopping, ask friends for referrals before leaving.
Watches can be researched on the manufacturers’ web sites and are a very attractive item to buy because they are duty-free and are automatically lower than in the U.S. Like all items, watches are sales tax free so depending on your home state, this can be a tremendous savings.
Why don’t people get good value? One couple bought items on subsequent trips and did not feel as though they had gotten the same level of value because they believed the jeweler took advantage of their trust. One guest felt that people get caught up in the romance and don’t buy with the same level of discernment as they would at home.
Yantz Bradbury Associates
P.O. Box 10123 – Rockville, Maryland – 20850
Office: (301) 335-6687
Serving MD, VA and DC Metro Area