How has the pandemic affected sales for a heritage brand like yours?
Weddings have come down in terms of scale, yet demand for bridal jewellery is there. Irrespective of the number of guests attending the wedding, a bride wants to look good for her wedding, it is her special and most memorable day in life. So the bride’s family always goes in for the best jewellery, sarees and other accessories. That’s why we do see a lot of demand in the bridal jewellery segment.
Earlier, we used to get demand from all over the country, despite the fact, we are based in Hyderabad – we had clients in Mumbai. We used to fly down our sales personnel to attend to such clients’ requirements and ensure complete client satisfaction. Today, because of lesser number of flights and transport modes not as open, this has reduced considerably.
Our kind of jewellery cannot be sold over the internet, interested clients can browse through our product galleries and social media accounts, to see what all is available on sale. The actual sale will have to take place – either by them visiting the store at least once, or our personnel visiting their place once.
Every piece of jewellery we offer on sale is unique in terms of its work, style, traditional setting, colour, and type of stones used. Each piece is exclusive. You will not find another piece exactly like the one we offer on sale, anywhere – maybe not even with us. We give out prices on request, therefore online sale is ruled out totally and therefore during such a time – selling for us is an even bigger challenge.
At the same time, our clients are absolutely unique and will come to use for their jewellery requirements – no matter what. It’s the first time buyers, who become a little difficult to convert. Our sales team is always upbeat when it comes to their sales pitch and ability to outperform their counterparts, so that helps to some extent.
How are you embracing technology to ensure that you reach a wider set of audience?
We have managed to get a customized software application, which allows the client to virtually try on our jewellery from the comfort of their home. It may not give exact result – like actually coming and visiting the showroom, but it does help them narrow down on the items of their preference. That usually saves them a lot of time, once they come for the actual purchase. It helps everyone.
In order to make things easier – we have in-house models – some young girls from the family or sometimes from our sales staff – who try out the pieces, they often use a Kanjeevaram sari, or a gold dupatta to allow the buyers to see how the jewellery will complement their look in a traditional attire. We also save images of these modelled jewellery for them – to share with other members of their family, so as to allow them to reach a buying decision more accurately.
Members of my family like my nieces or the younger generation are also involved in many sales – our clients too appreciate our involvement as they have immense trust in the family’s presence during a sale. All of this makes a lot of difference and makes sales happen, despite the challenging times.
What are the other ways in which you are making a sale?
Often we give out our Whatsapp numbers, and direct mobile numbers, when clients choose a particular piece of jewellery online, they connect with us over a video call, where in we help them select the best piece. They then have to make the actual purchase, either we send our person, or the client comes into the store.
Today, the challenges have multiplied at every level. Health has become a priority, we are very meticulous in maintaining perfect sanitization each and every day. Therefore we close early, once everyone leaves we get the whole store sanitized. We take extra precautions when our staff or a customer or anyone walks in to the store. It has become the order of the day. We understand that everyone is living in fear of infection and we do everything within our capacity to relieve them of the stress.
What are the some of the changes you have made in your business model since the pandemic?
We have started making smaller pieces, we understand clients are facing a crunch, many will not be willing to splurge on jewellery. We have started making smaller, more affordable pieces, so as to allow maximum number of interested clients to come forward to buy. This is working, as we see a lot of new buyers coming forward to buy our jewellery. Being active on social media, has made a lot of difference.
What would be top three mantras you adopt to stay ahead of the curve?
1. Health comes foremost, never compromise on health. Keeping the staff safe, and motivated is very important in these challenging times. We have to train sales staff as to how to present themselves over a video call, and display jewellery over video chat, etc. So that the client comes forward to buy from us.
2. Social media presence is important. In this day and age, with youngsters from all over the world hustling over social media, it is very important to constantly update social media. We are quite active on Instagram and Facebook and get a lot of followers from all over the world. It makes a lot of difference and encourages many first time buyers, as well to buy from us.
3. We do not lower the quality of the products, just because we want to make it more affordable. We never compromise on quality of the emeralds, polkis, rubies or diamonds that we use. If it’s a Kishandas and Co. jewellery, we have a brand image to retain and we are very particular about that.