Edinburgh Assay Office launches digital hallmark for online security
Edinburgh Assay Office launched its consumer online assurance scheme for the jewellery industry on Tuesday at The Jewellery Show London, Somerset House.
The hallmark, the oldest form of consumer protection, is being taken digital as part of the scheme, which addresses the sharp rise in the online sale of fake and counterfeit jewellery over the past five years. Retailers already signed up to Assay Assured include, Links of London, Ortak, Monica Vinader and Clogau Gold.
Assay Assured is intended to allow online jewellery retailers – from big brands to small independents – to prove they are accredited, adhering to a strict code of conduct centred around compliance with the Hallmarking Act and backed by the authority of the Edinburgh Assay Office.
Research by the Interactive Media in Retail Group (IMRG) has found that displaying a trust mark, such as Assay Assured, increases sales by an average 16% and conversion rates by 10%.
IMRG’s Andy Mulcahy said: “Trust remains one of the key elements that determine whether a consumer will shop with an online retailer. The Assay Assured scheme will greatly improve confidence in jewellery sites by communicating to consumers that the retailer is compliant with a code of conduct that ensures the products advertised meet industry standards.”
Edinburgh Assay Office CEO Scott Walter added: “Assay Assured is a digital solution to an ancient problem and we believe it will provide the protection consumers look for online. The issue of fake and counterfeit jewellery online is plaguing the industry and honest retailers are suffering because online sales often circumvent existing regulation and consumer protection.”
The Assay Assured scheme will be underpinned by a strict code of conduct for online jewellery sales, in compliance with the Hallmarking Act and also covering the sale of counterfeit branded jewellery. Before accrediting a site, Assay Assured will first carry out an audit of the online retailer and their website. Only if they meet the requirements will they be asked to sign up to Assay Assured jewellery retailer’s agreement.
The agreement will authorise the retailer to carry the Assay Assured jewellery retailer logo on their website. The logo will link directly to a secure certificate, which will confirm their authenticity as an Assay Assured retailer.
Assay Assured jewellery retailers will pay an annual fee for the administration of the scheme dependent on the estimated average number of monthly online transactions. Annual fees start at just £125.