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BlueStone’s technological integration fuels omnichannel growth

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Launched in 2011, the jewellery brand offers a line-up of contemporary lifestyle diamond, gold, silver, platinum, gemstone and pearl fine jewellery tailored to various occasions

New Delhi: Buying jewellery has traditionally been a ‘hands-on’ experience. Not any more though. In keeping with changing times, BlueStone, a leading name in the direct-to-consumer jewellery segment, is using analytics and AI to strike a balance between online and offline platforms for an integrated experience, says CEO Gaurav Singh Kushwaha.

Launched in 2011, the jewellery brand offers a line-up of contemporary lifestyle diamond, gold, silver, platinum, gemstone and pearl fine jewellery tailored to various occasions, and across price points. Backed by funding from marquee investors such as top global VC firm Accel, Nikhil Kamath, InfoEdge Ventures, Kalaari Capital and Hero Enterprises, it does so through its app and website while also providing offline experiences at stores.

“We feel it is essential to strike a balance between the online and offline channels, ensuring that each complements the other effectively,” Kushwaha, who is also chairperson of the company, told PTI.

Technology capabilities are at the heart of the omnichannel approach for the digitally-native company. Data insights predictive analytics and AI play a crucial role in facilitating agility in operations, enhancing efficiency and ensuring customer satisfaction, according to Kushwaha.

Excerpts from the interview

BlueStone has been a pioneer in the omnichannel approach to jewellery retail. Can you share the journey and pivotal moments that have led to its current success?

BlueStone’s journey toward becoming an omnichannel jewellery brand is marked by innovation and an endeavour to enhance customer experience.

Initially, establishing BlueStone as an online brand, we commenced our journey by leveraging digital platforms to showcase jewellery products to consumers. Through continuous innovation, we developed techniques that not only elevate the overall product through 3D rendering and customisation options available to customers but also streamline our production process.

We are among the few jewellery brands with a pan-India presence of 180-plus stores across 70-plus cities in states and union territories in India as of March 31, 2024.

We are a digital-first direct-to-consumer (DTC) brand with our demand primarily being aggregated online. We focus on ensuring a seamless omnichannel experience for customers by offering contemporary lifestyle diamond, gold, silver, platinum, gemstone, pearl and fine jewellery across various price points and designs under our flagship brand, BlueStone.

As a digitally native company, our technology capabilities are at the core of our omnichannel approach and allow us to offer a uniform customer experience both online and in-store, thereby increasing customer engagement.

The BlueStone brand was launched in 2011 and has grown to become one of the leading brands in the DTC jewellery segment. As a design-led brand, we offer a variety of designs tailored to various occasions and customer preferences. We focus on unique designs and modern styles to cater to customers who tend to discover brands through social media or online channels.

In today’s retail landscape, how does BlueStone balance its online and offline channels, and what technological integrations are you implementing to enhance efficiency and customer satisfaction?

In today’s modern retail landscape, BlueStone places significant emphasis on maintaining a balance between its online and offline channels since both channels hold immense importance for customers. Understanding that today’s consumers frequently utilise both online and offline platforms in their shopping journey, we prioritise delivering an integrated experience across both channels.

Central to achieving this experience is our technological infrastructure, which forms the backbone of our operations. We have invested in building and refining our tech innovations in-house, allowing us to maintain greater control over the development and implementation of solutions tailored to our consumer’s specific needs.

This approach not only fosters agility and adaptability in our operations but also enables us to continuously enhance efficiency and improve customer satisfaction.

In terms of technology, how has BlueStone leveraged data analytics or AI to personalise customer experiences and optimise inventory management?

Our in-house data analytics infrastructure serves as a tool for personalising customer experiences and optimising inventory management. This infrastructure collects and analyses data signals from all customer touchpoints, whether online or offline.

By consolidating these signals onto a single platform, we gain an understanding of customer behaviour and preferences across various channels. By leveraging advanced algorithms, this platform processes the data at multiple levels to derive actionable insights. It then utilises these insights to recommend merchandise tailored to specific customers, ensuring relevance and enhancing the overall shopping experience, both online and offline.

Further, our data-driven approach extends to inventory management, where predictive analytics and AI algorithms play a crucial role. By analysing historical sales data, demand patterns and market trends, we can forecast future demand and optimise inventory levels. This helps us to allocate resources efficiently, minimise stockouts, and reduce excess inventory.

Reflecting on your experience with the offline rollout, what specific lessons have you learned regarding the timing and resource allocation?

Reflecting on our experience with the offline rollout, several key lessons have emerged regarding timing and resource allocation.

As a digital-first DTC brand, we have observed that the online channel serves as a crucial platform for achieving product-market fit, refining our offerings, and scaling operations to a certain level. However, beyond this initial phase, we’ve recognised the significance of transitioning to an omnichannel approach, where offline presence becomes imperative.

This transition allows us to cater to diverse customer preferences and provide differentiated experiences that may not be achievable through online channels alone.

In terms of timing, we have learnt the importance of carefully assessing market readiness and consumer demand before expanding offline. We feel it is essential to strike a balance between the online and offline channels, ensuring that each complements the other effectively.

Additionally, resource allocation plays a critical role in the offline rollout process. While significant investments may be required initially to establish physical stores and infrastructure, ongoing monitoring and optimisation are necessary to ensure efficient resource utilisation and alignment with business objectives.

By leveraging insights from our online operations and strategically allocating resources, we can maximise the impact of our offline rollout, delivering enhanced customer experiences and driving sustainable growth across all channels.

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