What strategies should retailers adopt to attract more and more customers during festival and wedding season?

Jewellery in the Indian context is considered to be an investment. It also has strong traditional and cultural connotations. So if there is a wedding in the family the number of events in the wedding may be scaled down, some purchases may get curtailed, the number people that will attend can come down, but in such times the value of gold as an investment actually goes up a little bit. 

Today, however the scene is different, there is also a flipside because, incomes are depressed and people may not have got bonuses for Diwali. Some people have lost their jobs so that can have a negative impact on the jewellery market. 

So retailers should be cognisant: 

  • a.    They should make sure they reach out to their loyal customer base. Find out if there are any weddings or events in the family.
  • b.    Keep their brand alive. If they have any new collections coming in they should talk about it. They should not diminish their brand communication. 
  • c.    They must make sure that their stores are safe and advertise about the steps they are taking to keep their stores safe.
  • d.    They can’t be sending jewellery to people’s houses for sale.
  • e.    People in India shop in groups. The whole family visits a jewellery store even to buy an engagement ring. With social distancing, you can coordinate with the whole family over video calls and virtual reality apps. Sales personnel can actually discuss everything in detail with clients allow clients to arrive at a well-informed and thought-out decision with mutual consultation.

What effect would fluctuating gold prices have on buying?

New designs have to be price point driven. Retailers may need leaner designers to accommodate price rise. Weddings have become more concise and therefore families can afford to spend more on jewellery. Jewellers can try to capture a wider share of the money saved. Most people will participate in the event virtually.

What effect will ecommerce have on jewellery purchases?

Ecommerce will prove to be a boon to the industry. Ecommerce works well with standardized products, or regular use kind of products. But when it comes to designer work and more expensive stuff, ecommerce sometimes may not really work. 

That is because sometimes, what looks bigger in pictures, in reality may turn out to be really small. So the return policy matters. One could have combination of online and offline shopping, which 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.

Large chains of jewellery stores are opening newer stores, whereas existing ones do not really have enough footfalls, how is this move justified?

This is a good move because though in the short term, they are surely increasing their overheads -- in the long term, however they will be doing a lot of business and they will recover the costs involved.

Business for jewellery retailers is surely going to improve as this year advances, the pandemic will not totally dampen the mood.