Ranka Jewellers began their journey from a 150 sq.ft store in Pune. Today it is Pune’s leading jewellery brand with over 12 sprawling stores all over the city, Ranka Jewellers has left behind a golden trail. Their business was established way back in 1879 was later re-established by Shri Pukhraj Ranka with a vision to give people authentic jewellery that is not just elegant, but in fact a class apart, along with uncompromising quality and delicate craftsmanship. This flourishing business is now steered meticulously by the sixth generation of the Ranka’s.
Over 141 years into the business, they have succeeded in overcoming various obstacles and their presence in the Indian market has been marked by a number of firsts. They have expanded their variety from just gold and silver to platinum and diamonds. Over the years, they have earned a distinct and dependable name and have emerged as the pioneers in the jewellery business in the Western Maharashtrian market.
Customer is king (or queen)
They believe in serving customers and winning their trust. Sharing a particular instance Vastupal Ranka says, “We had this particular woman, who has been a regular client. Over the years, we have been their family jeweller. They are quite well-to-do and dependable as a client as well and we have been their first and only choice for jewellery. It has been our honour and privilege to have many such clients over the years.”
She bought a one-carat diamond studded ring. After some months she came back to say that the beautiful and rare diamond fell off. “Now, this was a difficult situation because that diamond was very expensive and rare. It would have taken a massive effort to dislodge it from the setting. It wouldn’t have fallen off on its own. Despite knowing all this, we did not argue, we explained to the client the rarity of the case and offered to replace the diamond.” Now, came the bigger challenge, as the diamond was expensive – who would bear the cost of replacement. The jewellery store knew very well that it is a loss for the client and she would not accept the fact that the diamond fell off because the ring was not treated with adequate care.
Those were the days when pandemic cases were rising and the air was filled with anxiety and uncertainty. Later, that evening the same client called the store and informed them that she had found the diamond and was bringing it back to the store and that the store’s karigars had to fix it.
“We heaved a huge sigh of relief and were happy we remained silent and did not argue over the expense of replacing the diamond,” recalls Ranka. It was a challenge to maintain their composure when they too were facing the repercussions of the pandemic and resulting slow business. “All the same, I had recalled a small incident which gave me the composure I had maintained at that time. Years ago, while I was standing in a queue at McDonalds. There was a huge rush in the outlet and many people were waiting in long queues, some were rushing past to go and occupy a place to sit, etc. A customer was holding a tall glass of milkshake on a tray and was making his way through the crowd. Someone pushed him with such force the milkshake glass fell and all the shake was spilled. The McDonald’s staff came over cleaned the floor, picked up everything and gave the customer a new glass full of milkshake totally free of cost. Now, this incident remained in my mind. How a food joint looks after the customer’s needs and prioritises customer satisfaction over everything else. We had chosen to do precisely that,” recalled Ranka.
Trust is a two-way road
When jewellery retailers want clients to trust them -- when the need arises store owners too need to extend the same trust towards their clients. “In our earlier case, we extended the same trust to the customer,” shares the astute business owner. In this day and age when digital shopping for jewellery is so common, customers are coming forward to buy jewellery only by viewing it on screen, without actually coming into stores. This is the trust that they are placing in the brand. “It is therefore the duty of the store owners to ensure that the customer gets the product displayed on screen without any compromise in quality at any level,” explains Ranka.
It is therefore the duty of the store owners to ensure that the customer gets the product displayed on screen without any compromise in quality at any level
Quality service always stands out
Customers will walk into stores which offer them the best quality buying experience. “Today, there is standardization of products. When it comes to large corporate-run stores versus mid-level chain stores, quality is never a matter of concern – it is the experience that you offer your client that matters,” explains Ranka. In addition to this mid-level jewellers have been in the jewellery business for generations whereas corporate-run stores may be owned and run by anyone – maybe a top politician, business tycoon, real estate guy or anyone who has the monetary resources to get a franchise. They may not necessarily belong to the jewellery business. “Sometimes, our clients want us to make a pair of earrings or a necklace at short notice and we do that – because we understand their urgency and commit ourselves to helping them out. In corporate-run stores – they have a protocol which no one can override. Plus we are the owners and founders of our stores – personally present in the store or accessible over a phone call – we are responsible for the products we sell. In corporate-run franchises you cannot hold any one particular person responsible,” explains Ranka, while comparing the two forms of businesses.
Today, gold prices are settling – they are slated to rise as always. So gold remains a viable investment option especially in this day and age when all other forms of investment aren’t promising good returns.