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‘Going digital is a better way to reach out to diamond connoisseurs during the pandemic’



Pratap Kamath, managing director of Abaran Timeless Jewellery, talks to Samit Bhatta, publisher, The Retail Jewellers magazine, on his Forevermark journey

 Samit Bhatta (SB): How has your journey with Forevermark been so far?

Pratap Kamath (PK): We were Forevermark’s first partner in the country. When I met Sachin for the first time in 2011, I was impressed by his proposal to launch Forevermark within 10 minutes. The last 10 years have been great. Initially, Forevermark was marking stones over 14 points. So, we made sure that all 14-cents-and-above stones at our stores were Forevermark’s. Irrespective of whether you bought Forevermark or not, we made sure that the prices were the same. The Forevermark team has been fantastic and it has been a great learning process for me. As retailers, Forevermark took us through several learning trips across the world, from Shanghai to Antwerp to the mines in South Africa. Believe me, every trip was fantastic from a learning perspective.

 SB: Where do you see yourself in the next 4-5 years with Forevermark’s branded-diamond programme. How do your consumers look at Forevermark?

PK: Forevermark has been extremely progressive and the first thing that differentiates it with other diamonds is the tagline, that less than 1% of world’s diamonds can be a Forevermark. That is the USP we sell. We have done campaigns together and when we look back, today we have consumers coming in and specifically asking for a Forevermark. When we tell them that GIA certification is not globally valid, people still insist on a GIA certification and Forevermark stone. That’s the value Forevermark brings for consumers and it’s got global validity.

SB: How do you perceive the diamond jewellery market in Diwali and the upcoming wedding season?

PK: Right now, it’s all lukewarm. Business is below 40% because of Covid. But I think that the path ahead is very bright. The lockdown has psychologically affected customers, but the will to purchase will start in the next six months. For Diwali, we believe in having the right stock and inventory because you cannot predict consumer behaviour, especially when it comes to festive seasons and weddings. Our consumers are happy with our inventory and they have been able to make better decisions because of the access to a wider range of products. So, I think having a right inventory is important and we should not scale down.

SB: You are among the very few jewellers who launched a new campaign for wedding jewellery amid the pandemic. How has that gone for you?

PK: The social media campaign has been very effective for us and I was very active during the two-month lockdown. I didn’t know about Zoom till March 25, but during the lockdown, I attended several webinars and understood the importance of social media, because advertising was getting difficult in traditional media. We launched our campaign in the second week of May and the response has been fantastic. Using social media costs one-tenth of traditional media when it comes to advertising, and the reach is better. Even a month later, I was interacting with consultants to find the way ahead and I was surprised to find that over 70% of the enquiries and sales happened via phone and not the desktop. And when it comes to jewellery, I believe more than 65% people who log in and look for jewellery are men. I believe that digital is important at this juncture.

 SB: What are your expectations from Forevermark Forum and what is your message to the team?

PK: The Forevermark team is fantastic. Every member is extremely proactive and I think they have a great leader taking them ahead. The team always has our back, follows with us, makes sure that we implement things and share ideas. I have learnt a lot from them. They have been extremely innovative with the upcoming Forum, and I think it’s phenomenal. They would call us everyday to ensure registration. All the best to Sachin and his team.


Courtesy: Retail Jeweller India News Service.

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