Markets across all the sectors have been affected due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases, each passing day. Like others, India’s jewellery industry has also been one of the impacted sectors because of the outbreak and there will be many changes that the jewellery retail sector will witness in the post COVID-19. There have already been more dedicated efforts being put in by brands to ensure utmost safety of their customers when they visit our showrooms. There has also been a change of approach towards flexibility, work-life balance, and employee health, among others.
While the lockdown in India had paused business operations for a while, it also gave jewellers a chance to reflect on their projects and chart out a strategy for the future and focus on how we can make this phase exciting and inventive for the customers.
Many jewellery stores in the green zones have opened and many others are planning to resume operations across the country. Here are some changes that the jewellery business will experience once the stores reopen.
A staggered reopening- As and when the Government mandates are easing in states now, jewellery retailers are re-opening stores offering the best of safety standards and comfortable shopping experience for our customers. There are a plethora of measures that are put in place to secure the well-being of customers and employees and the workforce has been specially trained to maintain the rules of social distancing and follow strict safety norms and guidelines.
Digitization of services –With COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdown, consumers are now getting comfortable with transacting online for almost every product category including jewellery. Jewellery brands that did not have an online existence have been seen starting investing in digital presence and initiating e-commerce.
This is an impeccable opportunity for the jewelers who have been operating only with their exclusive showrooms to increase their point of sale contacts and introduce fine jewellery products to the digital world. Adding to this, brands that have a significant presence across social media have been actively stimulating customer enquiries related to product and investments via social media platforms and interacting with customers 24/7. Jewellery buying starts with making a choice from a wide ranged product line and it is convenient for customers if brands can assist with this initial step virtually. This can be made possible through virtual 3D exhibitions and in our case have initiated video calls wherein customers can scroll through the complete range from across showrooms and shortlist few products which later they can visit the showroom for final trial & purchase.
Digital brochure or catalogue is another method that is being created for new collections with imagery and details of every piece of jewellery. Jewellers shall be seen bringing in innovative marketing solutions both virtually as well as to customer’s doorstep. Jewellery buying experience may go complete digital, right from communicating schemes, making a decision, buying, online payments as well as delivery.
In-store experience – Physical space is of much importance when it comes to a jewellery buying experience. While e-commerce will be a way, it will not take away the importance of an in-store experience. Jewellery is a high involvement category and touch and feel is important to our customers. Moreover it’s about emotions and human involvement and purchasing is based on strong relationship, bond and trust that customers have with a brand. Showrooms are at the core of a jewellery buying process. To enhance safety and comfortable in-store shopping experience, jewellery stores would be required to take all the measures for the safety and security of buyers as well as of the staff, right from something as basic as maintaining a social distance of 3.5 ft between customers and staff to encouraging billing & payments through online and NEFT to avoid physical contact.
The role of sanitization – Retail sellers all over the world are all set to open up their physical stores in the near future and it is crucial to stay prepared by following the appropriate sanitization measures. Apart from mere sanitization it is important to invest in temperature check instruments, footwear sanitization, using of masks and gloves. The jewellery industry would be required to go an extra mile to implement process like jewellery sanitization after every trial or use, alongside sanitization of service trays, mirrors, countertops and chairs. This procedure will be the ‘new normal’ for every jewellery retail store.
Seasonal effect – Marketers can make the use of festival shopping and gifting in the coming quarter. Jewellery buying in India has always been driven by festivals and weddings for self-purchases and/ or gifting. As the pandemic has postponed many weddings, jewellers are bound to reconsider everything from merchandise inventory to sales and marketing strategies. Buyers are waiting for jewellery shops to open, as many have rescheduled events like naming ceremonies, pujas, engagements, weddings, etc. and jewellery plays an important part in all of them. We have already started seeing purchases happening regularly for all these occasions at our re-opened showrooms.
Gold as an investment option – Although gold has been a preferred investment for Indians for decades, more and more people have started looking at gold as a good investment option now, so the demand for gold is also increasing. Investment in gold is certain to bring good returns. In India especially there has been a constant demand for gold coins and gold jewellery, so the similar trend will continue and we have already started seeing this. The fall in property market and the fluctuations in the share markets will further accentuate this trend.
We do hope that once everything is returned to normalcy, the numbers are going to increase drastically. We can already see customers making investments in this sector and an increase in purchase of gold jewellery for oneself and for their loved ones. All in all, there is a strong positive hope that gems and jewellery market will recover and the industry will thrive and grow in the coming days.