Innovate, Adorn, Transcend with BlueStone
Innovate, Adorn, Transcend with BlueStone

In 2011, Gaurav Singh Kushwaha embarked on a journey that would redefine the landscape of jewelry shopping in India. As the founder and CEO of BlueStone, his vision was clear – to leverage the burgeoning wave of consumer internet and create a brand that resonated with the emotional connection Indians have with jewelry. The inception of BlueStone was not just a business venture; it was a strategic response to the evolving dynamics of e-commerce in India.

"I realized that in India, the love for jewelry is unparalleled. The market was dominated by legacy brands, and the incumbents lacked technological savvy. BlueStone was conceived as a brand that marries tradition with technology, offering a unique shopping experience," states Kushwaha.

Carving a Niche in Jewelry Market

BlueStone disrupted the jewelry market dominated by family jewelers and local players. Unlike traditional players focused on wedding jewelry, BlueStone identified the shift in consumer preferences. The brand strategically addressed the 40-45 percent of the market not well served, offering options in the Rs 50,000 price point and catering to the modern woman's desire for versatile, everyday jewelry.

"We stay away from generics and standards, ensuring our designs are differentiated. We made mainstream the space for jewelry that can be worn to offices and parties, not just limited to weddings," asserts Gaurav.

BlueStone's design philosophy revolves around marrying tradition with modernity. The in-house production and design team focuses on creating contemporary designs within the traditional jewelry category, offering customers a fusion of modern and cultural elements.

BlueStone

Ethical Sourcing and Quality Assurance

BlueStone takes pride in its in-house production, ensuring the sourcing and selection of gemstones and materials adhere to the highest standards. The brand follows stringent quality control measures, employing processes like acid testing and meticulous checks at every stage of production to ensure authenticity and quality.

Ensuring Quality, Gaurav Explains, "We perform quantitative and qualitative checks, from verifying gold-alloy ratios to ensuring the durability of the final product. Every piece undergoes rigorous testing to guarantee authenticity and quality."

Embracing Sustainability

BlueStone acknowledges the growing concern for sustainability and has implemented initiatives to contribute to a greener future. The brand encourages customers to exchange old gold, reducing the need for new mining. Additionally, BlueStone is setting up a factory with solar panels, aiming to utilize renewable energy.

Adding on the same Gaurav states, "We promote old gold exchanges and invest in solar energy for our factories. These initiatives align with our commitment to sustainability, and we plan to introduce more efforts in the future."

Navigating the Online Landscape

Gaurav Singh Kushwaha's journey began in the social networking space in 2006-2007, where he encountered the challenges of monetizing content. Recognizing the potential of e-commerce in a rapidly advancing digital landscape, he pivoted to direct commerce. The jewelry sector stood out as a canvas for innovation, blending tradition with contemporary consumer preferences.

Gaurav adds, "Most incumbents were not technologically savvy. Technology had a significant role to play in everything, and I saw an opportunity to create a brand that could seamlessly integrate technology with the emotional experience of buying jewelry."

The Shift to Omnichannel

Starting as an online-only brand, BlueStone rapidly became a dominant player in the e-commerce jewelry space. However, Gaurav Singh Kushwaha realized the importance of omnichannel presence. BlueStone's unique approach is in allowing customers to start their jewelry journey online, exploring designs, and then seamlessly transitioning to offline stores with a shortlist of preferred pieces.

The CEO adds, "Ours is probably the only channel where 80-90 percent of people start their journey online, and then they walk into our store with a shortlist, ensuring a seamless omnichannel experience."

BlueStone operates as an omnichannel brand, strategically combining online and offline elements in its marketing and retail strategy. While the marketing efforts focus primarily on online, the importance of physical interactions with the product led to the expansion of retail stores.

"Our marketing is online-centric, but the omnichannel behavior sets us apart. A vast majority of our sales come from online platforms but offline complements the online journey. Customers can experience the product in-store, ensuring a well-rounded buying experience," says Kushwaha.

Transformative Technologies in Jewelry Shopping

BlueStone has been at the forefront of integrating cutting-edge technologies to enhance customer experience. The brand employs Artificial Intelligence (AI) for personalized recommendations and Augmented Reality (AR) for a virtual try-on experience. These technologies bridge the gap between online and offline, creating a more immersive shopping experience.

"We use AI to provide personalized suggestions, understanding customer preferences. AR allows customers to virtually try on jewelry, ensuring they have a better idea of how it looks on them before making a purchase," emphasizes Gaurav.

BlueStone

Unlocking the Future

Looking ahead, BlueStone remains committed to innovation and staying ahead of changing consumer behavior. Gaurav Singh Kushwaha envisions the brand evolving with the times, leveraging technology, and continuing to redefine the jewelry shopping experience in India.

"The future holds immense opportunities for innovation. We will continue to leverage technology, stay close to our customers, and adapt to the evolving market to ensure BlueStone remains at the forefront of the jewelry industry,” adds Kushwaha.

The journey of BlueStone, under the visionary leadership of Gaurav Singh Kushwaha, exemplifies the fusion of tradition and technology. From its inception to its current standing, BlueStone has not only disrupted the jewelry market but has also become a symbol of trust and innovation. As it continues to evolve and embrace the future, BlueStone remains a beacon of craftsmanship, ethical sourcing, and a commitment to providing a seamless and memorable jewelry shopping experience.

 
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Role of AI in Reshaping the FMCG Sector
Role of AI in Reshaping the FMCG Sector
 

New technological advancements and the growth of the digital space have led various sectors to embrace innovation and adaptation. The fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector, in particular, has rapidly shifted in that direction by joining hands with the e-commerce industry. McKinsey reveals that e-commerce sales in the consumer goods industry are projected to reach $1.8 trillion by 2025, a fourfold increase from the last decade. In the face of intense competition and a high turnover volume in the sector, Artificial Intelligence emerges as a crucial differentiator in helping brands stay ahead of the curve. 

Crucial Role of AI

Artificial Intelligence plays a vital role in bringing consumers closer to the brand. An ongoing challenge within the FMCG industry is for accurate consumer insights to enhance data-backed decision-making. Insights AI combines advanced AI technologies like Emotion AI, Behavior AI, and Generative AI, to ensure brands get in-depth consumer behavior data. These technologies help brands understand the expectations and preferences of target audiences and provide accurate data for efficient decision-making.

As with any other industry, consumer needs and expectations in the FMCG sector are ever-evolving. AI's ability to access and process vast data sets allows brands to tailor their marketing strategies quickly and effectively in line with the requirements of the target audience. With the inclusion of Insights AI, the Indian FMCG industry could witness a significant improvement in the cost and quality of products and services.

Insights AI’s Role in Gauging User Emotions and Behaviors

One of the most crucial aspects of any FMCG product lies in its ability to resonate with the consumer. Here is where understanding the emotions and behaviors of the consumer towards the product becomes important. Insights AI plays a vital role in bringing these insights closer to the brand in several ways. 

Emotion AI for Capturing Sentiments

  • Utilizes Facial Coding and Voice AI to measure and quantify human emotions while interacting with a product.
  • Enables brands to measure and quantify human emotions by capturing facial expressions using webcams and smartphone cameras.
  • Provides nuanced insights into consumer sentiments through tone, pitch, and speech patterns

Behavior AI for Enhanced Engagement

  • Incorporates mouse-tracking and eye-tracking technology for eye-pupil movement and mouse click data.
  • Get metrics on where and how long users looked and interacted with your product to understand their preferences.
  • Invaluable for optimizing interfaces, content placement, and overall user experiences.

Gen AI for Data Analysis

  • Capability to read data and perform comprehensive analysis within a given workspace.
  • Allow users to ask queries about research data available within a repository and obtain rapid insights.

Insights AI in FMCG

Insights AI can create exceptional value for the FMCG brands thriving in e-commerce. 29.1 percent of consumers believe that AI can be better utilized in providing personalized product recommendations, while 33 percent agree on its function to provide optimized search results. It can decode an individual’s purchase history and demographic information to create personalized shopping experiences for its consumers.

Applications of Insights AI in FMCG

As one of the industries undergoing a major change due to Insights AI technologies, let us look at some of the ways it is creating a difference today.

1) Consumer Research: Insights AI can gather data and feedback on the path to consumers' purchase journeys- from looking at a product ad to completing a purchase on a website. It helps provide deep, unbiased insights, which ultimately provide a seamless shopping experience.

2) Marketing Communications: FMCG can benefit immensely in creating targeted and personalized campaigns that truly resonate with their target audience by understanding what consumers like and dislike.

3) Content and Media Testing: Brands can optimize the visual appeal and engagement across various content formats, such as ads, videos, social media posts, etc., by testing content and media pre and post-launch.

4) Pack Design and Shelf Placement Testing: FMCG brands can test their pack designs and shelf placements using Insights AI, which analyzes the shopper’s purchase intent, stopping, holding, and closing powers to make products stand out.

5) New Product Development: Validate your concepts, opinions, and ideas before a new product is developed to ensure that you are not completely relying on your gut instinct and guesswork.

While AI has a huge potential for FMCG brands to scale and improve, its widespread adoption also raises concerns about data privacy and ethical considerations. The heavy reliance on consumer data for insights also means transparency is a key priority in AI. 

AI-led disruption in the FMCG sector is not just a possibility- it is already happening. From optimizing strategies to personalized recommendations, AI is leading the way for the FMCG sector to thrive- in the e-commerce space and beyond. With the continuous evolution of technology and fierce competition in the market, the need for products and brands to stand out is imperative, especially among FMCG players. As such, brands must remain agile, adaptive, and customer-centric in their approach toward AI to deliver meaningful experiences for the end consumers.

Ranjan Kumar, Co-founder & CEO, Entropik

Ranjan Kumar, Founder & CEO, Entropik

Ranjan Kumar is the Founder and CEO of Entropik – research integrated platform powered by AI. He is an engineer from IIT Kharagpur, has invested most of his time working with soft computing, neural computing, and deep learning. Ranjan has worked with distinctive firms like ONGC Ltd and ITC Ltd, after which he turned an entrepreneur with Oyeparty.com in 2012. He has also headed business at Citrus Payments, a fintech company, giving the division exponential growth under his leadership.

 

 

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