Balancing Online with Offline – Indian Jewellery’s New Normal

Jewelry is an item of luxury that comes with a high price tag. The “touch and feel experience” is an essential part of the industry in India. Jewelers strive to please consumers with a grand shopping experience and customers love the attention and pampering. To replace this elaborate chapter of jewelry buying with a fully digital experience is very difficult – both for consumers and jewelers.

But with a little introspection, we find that jewelers have been using the digital medium for influencing the final sale since the advent of the smartphones. Sending potential buyers jewelry catalogs via WhatsApp and promoting jewelry on social media has become a common practice long ago. Implications of COVID have put forth an opportunity to change gears and make a paradigm shift using digital platforms that create a direct connect to the end consumer and expand the reach exponentially.

Elaborating on this subject, Ashish R. Pethe, Partner, Waman Hari Pethe said:

“After reopening our stores post lockdown, our selling mechanism has changed. Almost 80% of the sell process has become digital, where our staff coordinates with the buyers on video calls and online platforms. The customers shortlist a few pieces after comprehensive interaction with the staff and then visit the store to make the final purchase.”

Resonating the same perspective, Ishu Datwani, Founder, Anmol Jewellers, reaffirmed:

“Store walk-ins increased gradually, and our conversion rates have risen to 85%. We are offering a more personalized experience, where our customers are selecting jewelry on video calls and our staff take a few selected pieces to their homes where the final decision is made. Now, people are more open to buying high ticket items online. Surprisingly, we were able to sell a product worth Rs. 22 lakhs via Instagram.”

Rohan Narang, Managing Director, Hazoorilal Legacy, advocated a more proactive approach:

“We have to reimagine the concept of traditional brick and mortar store. People cannot move around safely for at least one year and we can’t simply wait for that to happen. We have to adapt and evolve and make technology an integral aspect of regular business. Omnichannel is the best way ahead. It is an ecosystem where the business is present in various formats – on the phone, desktop, as an app and the store itself. If you are not present in any one of the formats, the link is broken. The omnichannel orbit is connected through technology. So, technology is not the only focus but one of the focuses to drive sales, increase profits and enhance growth.”

Shailen Mehta, Founder & Managing Director, eJOHRI highlighting the importance of technology said that the Indian G&J sector needs a platform like Flipkart or Amazon exclusively for jewelry. E-Johri is an attempt to create such a space where Indian jewelers can display and sell their products online and also drive more walk-ins to the store. Technology is set to be the game-changer for the industry as the future is going to be an amalgamation of the physical and digital models simultaneously.”

Vinod Hayagriv, Managing Director & Director, C. Krishniah Chetty Group of Jewellers, advocated the use of technology at a holistic level. He opined that the industry must encourage using technology in every aspect of jewelry making be it designing, manufacturing, tracking, sales, marketing or analysis. That is the best way to optimize business and grow faster. He understands that such a transformation will take years, but the mindset and attitude must be there.

The above views have been extracted from ET Bjwelled panel discussion, “Synergizing Online Offline – The New Normal”

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of ET Edge Insights, its management, or its members

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