A couple of years ago, it would have been difficult to believe that purchasing gold (and diamonds and solitaires), which is a group buying process, could be affected by consumers on the Internet.
Trust Driving Sales
Although the current online sales amount to less than one per cent of the total $50 billion domestic jewellery market, it is soon catching up as issues such as pricing, quality, accessibility, variety, lab certification and payment modes are getting taken care of. Whether it is imitation jewellery or fashion and high-street jewellery or real jewellery, the trust that the e-tailers are able to provide to the buyers is driving the sales.
For Mithun Sacheti, CEO, Carat Lane Pvt. Ltd, an online e-tailer of diamonds and solitaires now on a store-opening spree, it is the trust that is riding the sales; that every solitaire bought from the site (or even a physical store) will be less expensive than the market price. He says, “The USP of our brand is solitaires. CaratLane.com offers up to 40 per cent lesser value than any other retailer in the country.”
Jewellery: An Interesting Space
Calvin John, Vice President, Carat Lane (Brick-and-mortar store) also commented on how the focus to buy high-end jewellery by traditional retailers has shifted toward the focus to buy jewellery that could be worn comfortably at any occasion. What is interesting is the various categories the jewellery segment is divided into: real, imitation, Bollywood-inspired, costume, fashion, etc. Ashish Sood, Co-founder, Youshine.com, a specialty retail brand for fashion jewellery and accessories, catering to young, cosmopolitan Indian women between 18-34 years, says, “We cater to them because they follow international fashion very closely and are also hugely inspired by Bollywood. Also, they are looking to change their look frequently and are always looking for something new. This is where trendy, affordable fashion jewellery fits in perfectly because it’s an impulse buy and light on the pocket as well.”
Extending to Physical Retail
Most of the e-tailers are also extending into the physical space, either by opening stores or by making the products available through partnerships, catering to people for whom the bone of contention was the inability to ‘experience’ and ‘enjoy’ the feel of gold at the time of buying. Vishwas Shringi, founder and chief executive officer of Voylla.com, a brand with a strong offline and online presence says, “We currently have three offline stores. We will launch 25 shop-in-shops across the country within the next one-and-a-half years. We are also one of the largest sellers on all major eCommerce portals like Snapdeal, Amazon and Flipkart. The partnerships with them have been hugely successful. We’ve recently been awarded for being the top performer from Flipkart.” So, from having their own websites, to teaming up with eCommerce players to opening stores, they are making the most of the opportunity in the space. “We have opened around five brick-and-mortar stores across metro cities. The most recent one added in the month of February is Pacific Mall at Subhash Nagar, Delhi,” added John of Carat Lane.
Healthy Competition for Jewellery E-tailers
Another player, ZeroKaata, says that while the market is cluttered with jewellery e-tailers, the key to soar in the space is differentiated methodologies. Speaking to the Retailer media, Ashit Kumar & Siddhant Aneja Co-founders, ZeroKaata, passionately shared their vision, “As of now, we are there on around ten-eleven e-tailers in India and we have also started our own website in January. ZeroKaata team's vision is of delighting customers rather than being a jewellery provider and we are striving to be a service provider as well with inspiration from artistic designs. We shall deliver our best to quench the needs of a teenager girl as well as the contemporary women.”
The industry projections have resulted into a lot of funding activity in the capital intensive segment in the last two years, much as it has seen newer companies joining the e-tail bandwagon, jewellery e-tailing has a very bright future. While the competition in the space seems to be tough as various e-tailers are jostling for online space, it is the designs, after-sales and prices that will determine their success.