The pandemic has made us vigilant – of hygiene, sanitization, contact, a body blow to the retail industry worldwide. As the industry limped into revival mode, the demand for contactless retail became lounder, prompting leaders in the realm to start opting for technology.
A novel way in which the jewellery sector has adopted technology is by helping consumers visualise products online with an added element of personalization. This helps the consumer fully engage with the store. It also serves the purpose of helping consumers see what a product will like with regard to quality and style before they spend their hard-earned money on it.
“Worldwide businesses and consumers are spending an increasing amount of time on digital mediums. The need of the hour is providing user-friendly virtual experiences to engage your consumer. Having a space that is 24×7 live is extremely important for today’s global consumer. The impact that technology has on our daily lives is huge and we need to embrace the effectiveness of the medium,” explains Sachin Jain, Managing Director, De Beers India.
“Adopting technology is the need of the hour. The players in the market who won’t adopt technology now will perish,” adds Aaradhya Khanna, CMO, Gem Selections.
Gem Selections – “We have introduced Augmented Reality Mirror and 3D Hologram Imaging of all our inventory in our flagship stores so that there is no need for customers to try all the products physically.
We are the pioneers of 3D Hologram Imaging in the Gem & Jewellery industry. Since, our core business is of loose gemstones, the customers can see the gemstones from all the angles and also clearly see the inclusions in it before making the purchase.
We have implemented the Virtual Technology in our stores because of the pandemic to ensure social distancing but it has actually increased the customer satisfaction a lot as customers can browse through our entire inventory and since they try the jewellery virtually and do not try each and every product physically, it saves a lot of time as well and can try a lot more options. The technology we are using in based on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning.
We will be introducing Augmented Reality to our application very soon,” says Aaradhya Khanna, CMO, Gem Selections.
De Beers India – “Over the years, the use of technology has steadily grown in the retail industry. However, in the past few months, it has bridged the gap of a physical environment and brought geographies closer together. One such example is our annual Forevermark Forum which is essentially a 3-day onground event bringing our partners together to transact, gain knowledge and interact with each other. This year, we transformed our event by taking it to the digital world and held the first-ever virtual Forevermark Forum. We created an interactive platform where our partners could view products, transact business, hold virtual meetings, interact with the global team, view the latest brand offerings and listen to speakers from across the world. In 3-days of our virtual forum, we generated 40 percent of the years’ business.
For trading purpose, we integrated our FMX platform which is the B2B Forevermark Exchange portal that allows our partners to view, select and shop for the desired products. Each of our manufactures had their booth space which provided them an opportunity to display products, company details as well as schedule interactions with the retailers.
We also used a unique holographic technology to invite our audience where we could personally project and talk to the attendee. We integrated a visual search tool that helped users find a desired product in our bouquet of offerings.
Gamification is a huge trend with millennials, so we created interesting games to engage customers while in store where they can play an interactive game on catching diamonds in a box or finding the inscription while learning more about the brand.
For the latest Forevermark Tribute collection, we have introduced the Tribute Kiosk where a customer can place their hand and select virtual rings to create their own stack. The pricing for each ring is also displayed alongside. Virtual try-ons have also picked up, especially, now since customers are apprehensive about visiting physical stores, we have provided our jewellery display through a virtual try on experience.
On the customer front, we have also created a 360-degree tour of our boutique stores which allows customer to virtually visit the store, view products, go through the billing system and gain complete experience of a physical interaction.
There are various aspects of technology that we are slowly implementing across our stores and online to constantly engage with our consumer,” states Sachin Jain, Managing Director, De Beers India.
Tvisha Jewlz – “There are multiple technologies used in our store like Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality to provide tech solutions to the company and make our customers more aware about the product. It completely transforms the complete shopping experience. We are coming up with creative ways to keep the audience engaged. We are also leveraging sensor-based Internet of Things (IoT) technology for real-time stock replenishment,” asserts Himanshu Khunteta, Founder, Tvisha Jewlz.
C Krishniah Chetty Group of Jewellers – “We are using Artificial Intelligence for color grading of our diamond. Apart from this, we are also using Virtual Reality to let our customers try our products virtually. While trying, it also lets customers change the colour of stones and gold,” says Dr. C. Vinod Hayagriv, Managing Director & Director, C Krishniah Chetty Group of Jewellers.
Tempting Consumers with Technology
With more people using the Internet to do their shopping online, technology also gives customers a reason to physically come into the store. For many, shopping can be dull and more like a chore than a fun, personal experience. Technology can change this point of view.
“Technology lets customers engage with your brand and products in a whole new way. Nowadays social media drives sales, especially for millennial consumers. We keep on running ads and hence due to mobile technology, we are succeeded to delight our consumers,” says Himanshu Khunteta, Founder, Tvisha Jewlz.
During the ongoing pandemic, technology has given customers the power to try on / examine products virtually, shop through WhatsApp, make contactless payments and much more.
“Social and digital media is nothing new. They have steadily been gaining momentum over the past few years. In fact, our research shows that a consumer checks out a category online 6 times before visiting the store. During the pandemic when we could not physically interact with our consumers, we conducted virtual diamond masterclasses through various platforms to engage with our audience. This gained a lot of interest and we conducted various online masterclasses in the last 6 months. Like mentioned above, our interactive technology features in stores as well provide a lot of engagement with the new age consumers.” says Jain.
“While harnessing various innovations in technology for the retail industry, a few that we are implementing soon includes an immersive screen displayed outside our stores which using AI to read a customer’s preferences and display product offerings accordingly as well as the heat mapping technology to understand high traffic consumer’s movements within the store. Technology is constantly evolving, and we need to keep abreast with the latest offerings to ensure a well-rounded experience for our customers. Along with this, e-commerce is the way forward for us and we are investing time and energy in creating our consumer-based platform to encourage sales online,” he adds.
“Technology has helped our customers to choose from 7,000 products listed on our website. They are also enjoying video shopping and our shop at home feature. This has helped us win the customers snot only in India but also from abroad,” asserts Dr. C. Vinod Hayagriv, Managing Director & Director, C Krishniah Chetty Group of Jewellers.
Digital Ups Online Sales
Technology helps brands in reaching out to the potential customers and at the when there are no exhibitions, it has helped in reaching the products to more customers.
“Apart from having our own e-commerce websites and apps, we have our own Artificial Intelligence-powered astrology software and it helps engage people with our brand even when they are not buying anything. This has helped us to increase the brand recall value and therefore online sales,” states Khanna.
“We have seen much more interaction on the e-commerce site than it was ever in the past. Traffic has gone up 4.5-5 times,” concludes Hayagriv.