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Forum 2023

CaratLane’s Sancheti roots for innovation in omnichannel retail

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CaratLane, an ultra-modern jewellery retail brand that has captured the aspirations and soft corners of millennials and Gen Z, has seen success on the back of two fundamental principles – assess data to solve for customers and perfect the art of storytelling, which Mithun Sacheti, CEO of CaratLane, shared in his session ‘Innovation in omnichannel retail’ at the Retail Jeweller India Forum 2023.

Returning to the reason for foraying into online retailing, he said, “We started business in 2008 when most brands had started opening large format stores.” The idea of holding a large inventory seemed implausible for a family business. Even though the data on surfing was immense, business was significantly small as there was an acute need for people to touch and feel the product. He reminisced how the brand struggled to do business in the initial years.

“Things turned around for us only when we went omni in 2011,” Sancheti said. “When customers walk into our stores, they are predisposed to what piece of jewellery they see online, increasing the probability of conversions significantly.”

Half-a-million visitors browsed CaratLane daily, but transactions were only 0.7% of that, Sancheti said. “So, we made try-at-home available to them, which increased the transactions to 2%, followed by stores which significantly boosted sales to 7%,” Sancheti informed, adding that the brand is every day trying to identify and solve for customer needs. “About 25-30% of customers walk in during personal occasions, asking for designs they have viewed online that we don’t have currently in store. That’s a huge number, so we solved this problem by introducing a very prominent ‘find in store’ option, which helped business multiply,” he added. He talked about introducing WhatsApp conversations and how it allows the delivery of user messages to the help desk team. “A clear handover is done to the closest store in the next 10 mins, and they contact the customer with complete information about their choice and the excellent follow-up actions,” he explained, adding how the brand is driving superlative customer experience by tracking PIN codes that help increase conversion by 8% through users visiting the website, which is unattainable in traditional retail.

Analysing consumer data helps CaratLane provide as many solutions as possible on its website, said Sancheti. Customers, he said, don’t want to ask questions, so the team’s essential task is to reduce the number of questions that come up so that customers find the answers themselves. “They want solutions to be visible on the page itself,” he added.

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About 15% of CartaLane’s delivery happens within the first five hours. Consumers can order from anywhere, and the goods move from stores to their homes. “The joy customers have when they can do something like that changes lives,” Sancheti said.“Much of our business is about gifting, and we want to make the consumer’s life easier, whether they want doorstep delivery or pick-up from a nearby store.”

Sancheti also talked about how technology is used in servicing to make the customer’s life easier, faster and better. While brick-and-mortar retail expansion works by assessing nearby markets, CaratLane considers the locations of first-time buyers based on their browsing data and expands accordingly. “Those are thebull’s-eye PIN codes,” he stated.

Sancheti talked about how the brand’s first 50 stores were launched, looking at the vicinity jewellery stores. “Many times, it works, and where it doesn’t work is for businesses like ours, where 60% of our customers are first-time diamond jewellery buyers. So, we decided to focus on our browsing data and determine where to open our next store.” That’s how the store in Faridabad came up, he explained. Despite apprehension in the market because of its location near a graveyard, it paid off even though it is in a market without any jewellery brands.

CaratLanehas interesting films that blend technology with emotions to create solutions that tug at the customer’s heart, such as personalized 3D messages upon gifting, pre-recorded videos of the customer’s journey, from choosing the product to gifting the same. “People leave so much of a trail of what they browseon the Internet, we decided to use that to enhance story-telling to bring out the thought and effort put into selecting a gift,” Sancheti said.

Even though omni-retailing is a data-driven science, Sancheti acknowledged that at the core,“ jewellery is an emotional purchase”. “While we solve for design, and we solve for convenience at this stage of the brand’s lifecycle, we are also solving for emotions,” he concluded.

Courtesy: Retail Jeweller India Forum

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