How has the pandemic affected sales for a heritage brand like yours?
Buying jewellery is now more need-based, rather than indulgence. Only people who have weddings in the family or who want to buy for gifting and other genuine needs are coming to buy jewellery. There have been conversions taking place at the store as well as conversions taking place over video consultation, phone calls and through social media. We had expected the demand to be low in the initial months post the lockdown as fewer customers are expected to come to the store due to the fear of being vulnerable to the virus.
What steps are you taking to attract young Indian buyers?
The need of the hour is to create the right sentiment for a client to come and buy because ultimately buying always happens because of the sentiment. The fact that the client has money is a given. Right now, the client is mainly not coming because of the sentiment of fear, which will go gradually with time if we behave in a normal manner and our communication is normal. Giving offers or discounts is not a good idea at this moment, because if the offer is not very substantial then it will not attract the client and if the offer is very substantial, then you are actually showing desperation to the client. The best approach would be to work on our communication, behave and communicate in a normal manner and it’s only a matter of time when the client will come. The young Indian buyers don’t want heavy jewellery pieces which remain locked away. They are looking for more light-weight and wearable jewellery. Women these days have an active social life and they look for design-oriented, versatile and statement jewellery which would complement both modern and traditional silhouettes and can be worn in different ways for different occasions. Keeping the millennial consumers in mind, we are now designing more light-weight, trendy, wearable and price-point jewellery which would appeal to the millennial consumers.
What impact have the unstable gold prices had on your profits post lockdown?
In the current scenario, Gold is the safest bet because it is both an appreciating as well as easy to liquidate asset. In India, Gold also has a sentimental value attached to it. If you look at the historical table of gold prices over the years, gold has always increased and it is likely to go up even more. People who have weddings in the family or who want to buy for gifting and other genuine needs will buy gold. We are already seeing clients coming in to buy for weddings in December, January and February. In my opinion, business is expected to get better going forward and hopefully we should be doing good business during Diwali time because of the pent up demand of the last 5-6 months by then.
What kind of apps have your tried to sell jewellery online?
We have been using apps like WhatsApp, Zoom, augmented reality, social media apps like Instagram and Facebook to sell jewellery online.
How are you embracing technology to ensure that you reach a wider set of audience?
Technology has played an important role in creating alternate avenues for jewellery shopping for consumers through online stores/ e-commerce, social media, MirrAR Virtual Jewellery Try-On (an augmented reality app) and virtual consultation over WhatsApp or Zoom call.
What products have you been offering online?
Our products are now available on E-Commerce platforms like Ejohri.com and Blingbridge.com and we are also in the process of setting up an E-Commerce store on our website.
What are the some of the changes you have made in your business model or the way you do business in this time of pandemic?
Home-visits by retail staff is taking precedence over store visits by consumers. We have also become aggressive in our digital marketing activities to promote and sell our products through various online channels like social media and website.
Other than people walking into your store, what are the other ways in which you are conducting sales?
We recently introduced our ‘Try At Home’ service and 'Virtual Jewellery Trial' with MirrAR to boost sales. We have also made few sales over video chats since the store re-opened. The challenges of connecting with consumers through a screen is that Indian consumers prefer to touch and feel the jewellery before buying, which can't be done over video chats. Building relationships is done better in person. But most Indian consumers and brands are gradually adapting to this 'New Normal' and video consultation is going to be an important tool for sales and CRM.
What would be the top three mantras you adopt to stay ahead of the curve?
a) The first and most important thing is to accept the situation and be calm - that has to be the starting point. It is better to be calm and have faith in the future. Do one or few things but trust what you do and trust the future. Manifesting your fears may just make your worst dream come true, so instead manifest calmness and positivity.
b) Another important thing is to do different and unusual things which are out of the box, but at the same time things that appeal. One should not be too experimental or too out of the box and be absurd. Finding the right balance between innovative thinking and practical application is the key.
c) The starting point of developing unique strategies is your own mind. You start as a leader in your own mind with the correct attitude. A leader is someone who takes his team along with him rather than bossing around and dictating.