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Survival of the safest jeweller

Retail Jeweller India

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Neither great designs nor attractive offers, in the post-COVID world, customers will pick what is safe for them and pre-empting this, the jeweller community has introduced various precautionary measures at their stores.

Nothing that worked until now will work anymore. The rules of the game have changed. The grandeur of the store that appealed to customers, the bedazzling collections that led to conversions, the lucrative offers that boosted sales or even warm approach that ensured repeat sales, no longer guarantees business.

In these times, reopening the store does not mean only rolling up the shutters. With it, come a lot more responsibilities, especially when lives are at stake.

Stores Readied to Contain the Spread

Taking cognisance of this situation, jewellers are seriously implementing all the government’s directive on social-distancing, even if it means to train their staff, chalk out new operational plans or install new machines. For instance: no staff member or customer is allowed inside the store without mask or gloves; their temperature is checked at the gate itself.

Most jewellers have increased the physical distance between the customer and counter staff besides reducing the number of chairs in front of each counter.

Gehna Jeweller, Gwalior, says, “Previously, we used to have four chairs for the customers in front of every counter but now we have only two. To avoid overcrowding at the store, there are three separate waiting rooms inside the showroom,” updated owner Ajay Mangal. 

 

Even at Govind Narayan Jog and Sons, Kolhapur, the chairs have been pushed back so that there is ample distance between the customer and the counter staff. Moreover, 32-inch LED screens have been installed in front of the counters to enable the customers to choose from the designs displayed on the screen. Only the product that customer finalises, are being shown to them. That’s not all. “Right now, only two people from one family are allowed to come inside the showroom. A separate sitting arrangement has been made outside the store for extra family members,” informed owner Abhijit Jog. 

 

 

Some jewellers have also gone a step further to explore technology to curb the spread of the virus. “Apart from hands-free sanitizers and thermal scanners, our stores have a sanitizer tunnel outside the showroom so that the customer or staff member gets sanitised before entering the showroom,” added Jain.

With a three-storeyed showroom, Verma Jewellers of HP, has a huge space inside the showroom to maintain social-distancing between their customers. To win customers’ confidence, Director Akshay Verma shared that they are also in the process of obtaining a WHO certificate. “The certificate will state that our organisation fully complies with all the rules and regulations laid down by the world health body to fight the coronavirus,” he added.

 

 

It looks like the industry is all set to take the post-lockdown challenges head-on!

Social-distancing Amongst Staff Members

While the government’s regulations allow only 33 per cent of staff strength, jewellers too have worked out plans that will go a long way in ensuring social-distancing amongst the staff members, thereby keeping the spread of the virus in check.

Narayan Jewellers, based in Vadodara, has adopted a rotational system. “The staff members are divided into two teams – the green team and the blue team. The green team will come for the first 15 days and the blue team will come for the next 15 days. So, if anyone gets infected, the entire staff won’t have to suffer,” briefed, Director,  Ketan Chokshi.

 

 

Making sure that neither people nor the work suffers, Le Khanna Jewellers has astutely worked out the presence of 50 per cent staff at any given day till everything gets normal. “Only the senior staff members who are critical to the store operations will be asked to come every day and the rest of the staff will be called as per the work requirement,” he revealed.

 

 

Radhika Jewelcraft has decided to call only the staff members who are staying close by and have their vehicles such as a bike or a car to resume work. What’s more! “We are also keeping in mind the age factor and those staff members who are above 45 years old won’t be asked to resume,” added Director Rahul Jain.

 

 

C.Vinod Hayagriv, MD & Director, C Krishniah Chetty Group has asked each employee in the showroom to mandatorily download the Aarogya Setu App.

It’s a contact tracing app launched by the government few weeks ago and it’s been made mandatory for all private sector employees. It lets users know if they have been near a person with Covid-19 by scanning database of known cases of infection.

With such thoughtful steps, jewellers have yet again displayed that they are leaving no stones unturned to fortify the safety of their people and business.

Customer Experience Unlike Before

Customers cannot expect the same warmth at the stores as earlier. Of course, they would be received with an open heart and a smiling face but from a distance. Narayan Jewellers, Vadodara has made a short power-point presentation explaining the rules and regulations to be followed inside the showroom. “We will be sending the presentation to all our customers so that they know beforehand  what they have to do,” informed Director Ketan Chokshi.

Right at the gate of Govind Narayan Jog and Sons store at Kolhapur, the customers are being asked to enter their name, address and contact number in a form, unlike before. “This is done to ensure that we have all the necessary details of the customers so that they can be tracked, if any Coronavirus cases get reported in the future. Our staff is also trained to stop customers who try to remove their mask inside the showroom,” he added.

Moreover, in order to make sure that customers don’t touch the jewellery much, Radhika Jewelcraft of Jaipur provides hand gloves and aprons to them. So, when the customer tries the jewellery, it won’t touch any part of the customer’s body, including the neck. “I am also planning to start an appointment system where customers will have to take appointments before coming. It will help us control the inflow of customers at the store,” said Jain.

In sync with the time, Le Khanna Jewellers, too has upgraded to the appointment system and implemented ultra-sonic machines to clean the jewellery and the shop every two hours.

Punjab Jewellers, based out of Indore think that self-awareness is the most important thing to deal with the current pandemic. “I will try to make sure that my staff is fully aware of the rules and regulations. Our primary concern will be the safety of the staff as well as of the customers. So, before opening the store, we will organise a hygiene and sanitisation inspection,” Director Darpan Anand said.

 

 

 

Apart from the above measures, another unique step taken by Gehna Jeweller of Gwalior, will be useful in ensuring sanitisation. “We will also use disposable cups while serving tea or water to the customers,” shared Mangal.

Zero Contact Shopping 

In jewellery retail the touch and feel factor is always at play. But as contactless shopping is becoming the order of the day, jewellers are finding innovative solutions to circumvent the situation.

Omkar Singh and Sons Jewellers, Malout, Punjab has taken social-distancing quite seriously and implementing stringent rules at the store. The customers are not allowed to touch the entrance door, they will have to stand and shop for jewels from a distance of at least one metre and that the staff members will wear the jewellery on them for trials, are some of the fundamental changes that can be observed at his store.

 

 

Even for payment, online and digital transactions are being encouraged so that there is no exchange of hard cash. Those who want to pay in cash will be given cash counting machines where they can put their cash and one of the staff members can keep a watch from a safe distance. “After the counting is done, the customer will have to put the entire cash in a tray or a bucket and the cashier will touch the cash or credit card after wearing hand gloves,” added Partner Karan Saraf.

In the run-up to build a safe environment for their staff and customers, jewellers have made some constructive readjustments in their set-up and processes.

From creating distance between two seats and waiting areas to hands-free or auto-sanitising machines, thermal scanner and sanitising tunnels and much more, have been installed and implemented to say it loud and clear – you are safe here. Clearly, the fear of corona infection is so deeply ingrained in people’s mind only those who assure a safe environment at the jewellery store can hope for business.

 

Courtesy: Retail Jeweller India News Service.

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