How do you engage with your audience in these unprecedented times?

You cannot bombard your clients with jewellery right now. We don’t know how long this pandemic is going to last. We are trying to engage with our clients with some innovative quizzes and other games.  We are doing interactive activities, which don’t necessarily involve jewellery. We have a few live interactions with fashion designers and bloggers just to engage the clients and be in touch with them. One cannot over do communication on your digital channels but you can’t completely stop communicating, the balance between the two is very important.

Do you think e-commerce will be the winning formula now?

This thing about ecommerce is doing the rounds. But when it comes to jewellery, that too bridal category, ecommerce doesn’t work much. We ourselves are entering the ecommerce platform but for small ticket size jewellery that falls under Rs. 2 to 2.5 lakhs. We can’t get too ambitious about ecommerce. For those who deal with small items, ecommerce might work. For bridal sets, people want to see the jewellery, feel it and try it on.

How will purchasing habits change post lockdown?

In the short term, things will change. People may not indulge in huge purchases. They would start with smaller things. But in the long term, things will get back to normal. Weddings will happen and will lead to sale of heavy jewellery sets, may be end of the year.

 

This thing about ecommerce is doing the rounds. But when it comes to jewellery, that too bridal category, ecommerce doesn’t work much.

What are you expecting when stores open in Mumbai?

There is a huge difference in gold prices from the time we went into a lockdown till now. When the stores open, people will come to collect preordered jewellery in those prices. The gradually, the smaller ticket size items will start moving. If confidence builds about the pandemic being in control, if there is a vaccine in place, then more people will get out of the house, because at the end of the day, buying jewellery is also a good retail therapy - women coming together, to shop, see and try on jewellery after such a huge lockdown.

 

If confidence builds about the pandemic being in control, if there is a vaccine in place, then more people will get out of the house, because at the end of the day, buying jewellery is also a good retail therapy - women coming together, to shop, see and try on jewellery after such a huge lockdown.

Who is better poised to survive this crisis?

If your way of doing business is over leveraged and you don’t have control on your overheads, then you are in for some trouble. If you have managed well even before the lockdown began, embracing a more conservative approach towards managing your finances, which should be the model all jewellers should have considering we work on very thin margins, then a 2 to 3 month hit with a few cuts in salary, reduction in rent, etc, one should sustain this period. This is a worldwide phenomenon, and it is not just happening to this industry alone. If your business model is correct financially, we should be able to pull through this period. Those who are able to pull through this period in these difficult times will emerge as winners. There is going to be shift in the way we do business and the weaker hands are going to get out of business because they cannot sustain the losses and so business will shift to a fewer players. The trend of opening stores after stores with borrowed capital will never work now.

 

If you have managed well even before the lockdown began, embracing a more conservative approach towards managing your finances, which should be the model all jewellers should have considering we work on very thin margins, then a 2 to 3 month hit with a few cuts in salary, reduction in rent, etc, one should sustain this period.

What has this pandemic taught you?

To be very patient and calm and not be anxious and take things as it comes because we don’t know what the future holds for us. Let things take their own shape and then you figure your way out of that.