The explosion in online shopping has enveloped the chess set market and the internet is now the place to visit for the biggest selection of chess products available. The vast selection is not without it’s problems, how is one to know what to buy, or who to buy it from? The large players like Amazon and ebay are in on the act as well as a number of other huge online shopping portals. Then there is the minefield of independent e stores offering a vast array of products and service levels.
With 1000s of different chess products it’s difficult to gauge if the set you are looking at is indeed worth the money. Cautious buyers often stick to well known brands such as Jaques, Gibson and House of Staunton. This can limit ones choice somewhat and is not the best way to bag a good value bargain.
An online chess retailer should be upfront about the products they are selling, giving the full details of where the product is made and how much it weighs. Both of these factors are paramount in determining how good a set is. Look for security certificates and membership seals on the sellers home page, check their authenticity. It’s too easy for a rouge seller to launch a retail store for the sole purpose of liquidating a load of bad stock. If the site doesn’t give the ‘trust’ feeling move along to the next one.
The old saying ‘The camera never lies’ goes out the window when it comes to buying chess sets online. A competent studio photographer can make even the cheapest set look good online. A certain importer of cheap Chinese goods has been known to supply product images of genuine European versions of their cheap copies in order to boost sales of their chess boards and pieces.
If buying an expensive set make sure the seller offers an excellent returns policy, if the photos and description have mislead you use their returns policy to get the set back to them in exchange for a full refund. Compare their products to those from another site, with all the smoke and mirrors it’s easy for a seller to dress up a budget set to look like it’s worth more.
Remember that paying by credit card offers excellent protection, if everything goes wrong use your rights under the consumer credit Act to get your money refunded. This safety net allows you to take full advantage of the vast selection of lovely chess products available on the internet.
The growth in global trade means that many of the smaller online chess retailers buy their stock abroad, sometimes from brokers who source stock from artisans in remote parts of the world. Some online stores will import limited quantities of highly crafted sets which means you can buy a unique or rare chess set without having to pay an astronomical price for it.
Finally, don’t be scared of ordering your chess product online. There is an increasing amount of excellent stock out there thats not to be missed, just go careful, use your head and remember…. if it’s too good to be true it probably isn’t true.