GOOD READS

As prices take a hit, gold rush goes online

New Delhi, April 25 -- Popular e-retailing sites are cashing in on falling gold prices - currently at a 15-month low - by selling gold coins and jewellery the same way they sell fashion apparel and accessories. "The fall in gold prices since April 15 has led to a 300% increase in gold sales," said Amit Maheshwari, VP, fashion merchandising, Snapdeal.

To address quality concerns, many of the e-retailers have tied up with leading jewellery retailers. For instance, Jabong is selling gold coins through an exclusive tie-up with leading Delhi-based jeweller Mehrasons. Ebay has tied up with global online precious metal dealer, APMEX.

The gold products are delivered at the customer's door -the same way as all other products - but they are sent through special premium services provided by select courier partners.

"The risk of theft or loss is covered by insurance," said Maheshwari.

"We have added more options in our precious jewellery segment, which includes gold coins of 50 grams and 20 grams. We also plan to offer silver bars for sale soon," said Manu Jain, a co-founder of Jabong.com.

"But gold coins, in particular, are selling like hot cakes and far exceed gold and diamond jewellery sales," he added. "The sale of jewellery comes in second behind coins," said Snapdeal's Maheshwari.

The e-retailers, however, declined to reveal sales figures or volumes.

Ebay, the leading global online auction and shopping portal, is offering vintage gold, silver and platinum coins. On offer are the antique coins that go back to the Mewar dynasty, British India era including the British India 2 annas and even the 1883 silver Indian coins.

Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.

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