Indian customers are slowly opting for the 14Kt gold jewellery unlike earlier times, says Gaurav Singh Kushwaha, Founder and CEO, Bluestone.com; an online store for precious jewellery. In a chat with IndiaRetailing, Kushwaha shares details about the trends and emerging markets for online jewellery retail in the country.
Q. Please tell us about your business model.
We have a catalogue-based model where 95 percent of the designs are made- to-order, which means that any product that our customer orders is specially made for them. It also provides us the benefit of not stocking inventory since manufacturing is done only after an order has been placed. For other essential factors like payment and delivery we use third party courier services. This makes it a faster and easier process altogether.
Q. What are the latest trends in jewellery?
When it comes to the fashion, trends keep changing with time. Noting this, we launch a new collection or additions to the existing ones every week. At present studded jewellery with stones in shapes like heart or marquise are a favourite. Also, more and more people are now buying fashionable semi-precious jewellery. Further, certain collections like the cocktail rings, pendants, and couples wedding bands are all time picks. Interestingly, we are also seeing that now customers are slowly opting for the 14Kt gold jewellery unlike earlier times.
Fusion designs, divine pendants and engagement rings are also a favourite among our customers. The average transaction value on our website turns out to be almost Rs 12,000 to Rs 13,000.
Q. Which Indian cities shop the most from your portal? What is the sales ratio between metros and tier 2 and 3 towns?
Delhi (NCR), Bangalore, and Mumbai contribute almost 25 percent to 30 percent out of the total turnover from the country; thus making them the top contributors. Considering the fact that majority of buyers in metro cities are more at ease with online shopping as compared to those in tier 2 or 3 cities; the metros remarkably contribute to almost 60 percent of the overall sales.
Two cities that stand out when it comes to top selling tier 2 and 3 cities are Chandigarh and Ahmedabad. Thus making them hands down one of the most sought-after ecommerce cities. Also, moving onto the topic of demand factor, cities like Jaipur, Coimbatore, Bhopal and Indore are not just emerging markets for online jewellery but are also tremendously active in enhancing the overall business prospect.
Q. Specialised e-retailers draw more investor attention than other e-retailers. Do you agree with the statement?
Each format be it multi brand, multi-category or specialized format has its own advantages. E-retailers who are in the business of selling everything always have driver categories which contribute to majority of their revenue numbers. This is because it is easier for a customer to associate a brand to a certain category. This is where specialised retailers score as the focus for both the customer and the business remain clear. As far as jewellery is concerned, since the ASP of the product is higher as compared to lifestyle categories thus it presents a good business opportunity to investors.
Q. How do you track customer behaviour through your portal?
At BlueStone.com we use analytics and a few other essential engagement tools in order to track customer behaviour. Also, in addition to this we make sure to conduct regular dipsticks and marketing research that helps us to get a sense of the market we operate in. This process is extremely essential for any e-commerce business. Based on the customer data analysis, we have now allowed metal customisation and becoming transparent when it comes to making charges.
Q. What is your take on inventory in e-commerce?
Well, an ideal inventory size for ecommerce would be zero. However, the catalogue size varies with the category it offers. For an active catalogue, the size of 2,000 unique designs is good enough when it comes to fine jewellery. Also, it is an extremely important thought to keep the styles in line with latest trends in the market and needs of the customers.
Q. What all should precious jewellery e-retailers do to win the trust of their customers?
With time, Indian buyers have realised the important of ecommerce. As opposed to the popular notion that people don’t generally prefer buying jewellery, now more and more consumers are reaching out to us. Third Party certification, transparency and an exceptional focus on customer delight are exceptionally vital.
Q. How many manufacturing facilities do you have and where?
At BlueStone.com, we have our Guide Stores in Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore where customers can come and see the jewellery before purchasing it online. However, we have one manufacturing unit which is located in Mumbai. We have a capacity of manufacturing 300 – 350 jewellery pieces in a single day.
We target to grow by 300 – 400 percent year-on-year.
Q. Any new products/ categories you plan to launch this/ next fiscal?
In the coming weeks we plan to showcase an array of new collection designs for wedding jewellery, kids’ jewellery, and an expansion of men’s jewellery collection.