Punjabis love to relish life, like perhaps no other Indian. They love to adorn fine jewellery, and display a taste for high fashion along side their traditional attire. Jewellery business in this land of plenty is however, taking time to pick up, the way jewellers would want.
Business may pick up gradually
In cities like Amritsar, Ludhiana, Patiala, Jalandhar and the capital Chandigarh – business is displaying unusual curves. “It rose initially in the first week that we had resumed, that is around May 18, but eventually as the number of cases in the State increased, footfall fell,” explains Ludhiana-based Meenu Paul Khanna of Le Khanna Jewellers. Few are making enquiries and only those who have functions planned at home, are actually buying. Those in immediate need of money are also selling their old gold, though the number of such individuals is less.
Khanna is hopeful that as months pass by, things will return to normal. Though he is unable to anticipate a definite time of recovery. “Primarily because, for business to function smoothly suppliers in Delhi and Mumbai should start functioning normally,” he explains.
Walk-ins need to increase
When the footfall increases, business is bound to increase. In the present scenario, people are apprehensive whether or not they should step out of the safety of their houses, whether they can schedule weddings in November- December. “There is a lot of apprehension among the masses. We too are working with just 50 per cent of our staff strength,” informs Pankaj Khurana of Khurana Jewellery House, Amritsar.
Fear of the pandemic, rising gold prices and the fact that gold purchase isn’t a necessity are all factors deterring buyers to actually come forward to buy gold. With time, these apprehensions will ease out and buying will happen.
Attractive marketing and branding schemes will help
Attractive discounts and various schemes can motivate customers to buy gold. Gold is invariably the only investment, which is giving best returns in this day and age, despite the lockdown and economic slowdown across the globe. According to Susham Singla, Jagdish Jewellers, Chandigarh, “People are making enquiries over the telephone. Jewellers will have to come up with innovative strategies to increase walk-ins and inspire clients to buy gold. After all, gold is a profitable investment.”
New SOPs, the new normal
Adjusting with the mandatory norms of the pandemic is tough, all the same, “We need to resume our work as usual – while following all the precautionary measures suggested by healthcare experts,” explains Pankaj Seth, Durga Das Seth Jewellers, Amritsar.
Many clients are making telephonic enquiries. “All the same, people have adjusted to Rs 40,000 plus rate at which gold price has come to stabilise itself. If there is a major hike in gold prices, people may find it difficult to buy,” informs Seth.
Tough times call for tough measures and stricter business protocols. Along with innovative marketing strategies, conducting business with gumption and compassion are essential.
All the same, jewellers across the State are optimistic that business will be back to normal by the end of this year and they will start booking good profits, like before the lockdown.