The lockdown in most part of the country has eased and G & J retail business is zooming ahead. The upcoming Diwali and the following wedding season will be a busy one for jewellery retailers across India and holds the promise of bringing back the shine of the business.
Effective digital campaign & CRM programme
This Diwali, jewellery retailers can be cautiously optimistic. Demand will surely increase in the coming months and how each retailer handles this increase in demand will make all the difference. “The two most important things jewellery retailers must do are: use effective digital marketing campaigns for short term and for long term build a CRM programme. The current concept – of a model adorning jewellery is not enough – the advertising campaign needs to be innovative. Each retailer will have to think of the innovation which will be unique to his store,” suggests marketing guru A Shivaram, founder of www.retailgurukul. com. If the product is not something that the consumer wants, what good is it? Inventory has to be fresh, and currently trending. Jewellery retailers must offer what the customers want. “If you have current products on offer and unique and differentiated from the retailer next door, consumers will be willing to pay the price the retailer has asked,” explains Hemant Shah, Jewellery Consultant.
Jewellery in the Indian context is considered an investment. It has very strong traditional and cultural connotations. Neelesh Hundekari, partner & head of Lifestyle Practice, Asia at AT Kearney suggests the following steps for retailers:
a. Reach out to your loyal customer base. Find out if there are any weddings or events in their family.
b. Keep your brand alive. If you have any new collections coming in, please talk about them. Don’t diminish the brand communication.
c. Making sure that the stores are very safe is important. Retailers should advertise about the steps they are taking to keep the store safe.
d. They can’t always send jewellery to people’s houses to sell jewellery.
e. People in India shop in groups. The family visits a jewellery store even to buy an engagement ring. In order to maintain social distancing, retailers can coordinate with the whole family and allow them to discuss and arrive at their decisions with mutual consultation over video conferencing.
He adds, “Retailers might need leaner designs to accommodate price rise.” Jewellery retailers should understand the consumer mindset. The consumer’s mindset has undergone a tremendous shift, also the way they shop has changed. “Retailers will need to understand this shift and make sure that customers are comfortable buying in this new environment,” advises senior industry consultant Hemant Shah.
Use effective digital marketing campaign for short term and for long term build a CRM programme. The current model – of a concept adorning jewellery is not enough. The advertising campaign needs to be innovative. Each retailer will have to think of the innovation which will be unique to his store A Shivaram, founder www.retailgurukul.com
E-commerce will prove to be a boon Yes, E-commerce is going to be important, but it’s going to be different. Jewellery buying is often related to human emotions, for instance it is bought as a wedding gift from the father of the bride for his daughter, or when a family welcomes a newborn, or as an anniversary gift from husband to wife, etc. This is a product that involves sentiments. Jewellery retailers should work on the emotional appeal while trying to market their products online. “Selling jewellery online is not like selling standardized products over Amazon, or Flipkart, it is too niche a segment,” explains Shah.
When it comes to designer and expensive products, E-commerce may not in pictures, in reality may turn out to be really small. “One could have combination of online and offline shopping will work better. You can choose the designs you like and over video conferencing you can actually shortlist the product and buying can happen in real time,” explains Hundekari.
People may not buy on the internet, but they will narrow down the jeweller, based on their net research. “Therefore jewellery retailers will have to work on their online presence, their catalogues, their designs, visibility in search, social media, etc,” says Shah.
Augmented reality and virtual reality for the win
Augmented reality (AR) is part and parcel of digital marketing system. “As compared to the entire spend, investing in AR is a nominal price – it will surely help clients decide on what they want to buy faster without stepping out of their house. It helps bridge the gap between the buyer and seller, especially one caused due to geographical distance, the fear of infection which may limit clients’ moving out in the open,” explains Shivaram. Using tools like AR and VR is going to be important. “The consumer feels in sync with these latest technological interventions and allows them to choose the designs they like. They can then visit the store and buy the product they have chosen with the help of such technology,” explains Shah.
Price point consideration is vital
New designs have to be price point driven. Retailers might need to have leaner designers to accommodate price rise. “Incomes are depressed and people may not get bonuses for Diwali and so on. Some people have lost their jobs so that may have a negative impact on the industry,” explains Hundekari. The consumer is going to be frugal in spending, therefore products that retailers have, must offer consumers value for money and products need to be price sensitive. “The frugal consumer will have to believe that he is making the right choice in buying that jewellery,” explains Shah. While buying jewellery, the customer wants to know how much is the cost of diamonds, their
Keep your brand alive. If you have any new collections coming in, please talk about them. Don’t diminish the
brand communication. Making sure that the stores are very safe is important. Retailers should advertise about the steps they are taking to keep the store safe. People in India shop in groups. The family visits a jewellery store even to buy an engagement ring. In order to maintain social distancing, retailers can coordinate with the whole family and allow them to discuss and arrive at their decisions with mutual consultation over video conferencing Neelesh Hundekari, Partner & Head of Lifestyle Practice, Asia at AT Kearney
carat, size, cutting-polishing cost, how much is the gold content, its pricing and labour cost and in fact they will dissect the ornament in every way possible and put together its pricing. But it is not so in case of any other product. This mindset needs to change. The change will not happen overnight. The whole industry together should strive to make it happen. “One of the major reasons for this mindset is that jewellery is sold as an investment and not as a product. When you sell an investment, all finer points will be questioned. Jewellery is a product first, then an investment,” explains Shah
Visibility is crucial
Online or offline, it is the brand which is has to be most visible and should be able to rule the mind of the consumer only then it will draw maximum number of clients. “Jewellery retailers should work on enhancing their brand value. Today, people will buy from stores which are ethical, socially responsible, honest, transparent, et al. The jewellery retailer who has a personality – which
has made him recognizable within the community will draw the most clientele,” explains Shah.
Every brand will have its own strategy. If you look at the current situation, when a brand is accepted across India, and if that brand opens a store in the neighbourhood, such a retailer will do good business. For instance, a brand opens a store at the airport, doesn’t mean that it will do good business there. But when consumers spend time at the airport, it gives the brand good visibility and holds a place in the mind of the potential client,” explains Shah.
Inventory overhaul will be a gamechanger
Pandemic or not, inventory management is the key to good business in this industry. Proper merchandising plan has to be in place. “You need to overhaul inventory every now and then, as we step into a new buying season. Especially before Diwali, wedding season and New Year,” explains Shivaram. The G & J has a very slow inventory overhaul system – they keep selling their aged stock, in the hope that all of it will get sold. He adds, “Effective inventory management is both an art and a science, you can’t just rely on your individual memory.”
Jewellery retailers should work on enhancing their brand value. Today, people will buy from stores which are ethical, socially responsible, honest, transparent, et al. The jewellery retailer who has a personality – which has made him recognizable within the community will draw the most clientele Hemant Shah, Jewellery Consultant