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The time is here to let the guard down, share designs with all customers: Rohan Hemdev, Lachhmandas Jewellers

Retail Jeweller India

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AGRA: Covid brought in a lot of changes in the way we normally operate. The need for fresh ideas to operate became irreversible during the lockdown, when all stores were closed and there was no way to conduct business. What could we do to attract customers?

The other part of the mechanism that we put our heads together for was inventory. It was very important to keep track of the pieces we had, so as to make the right investments and build up a quality inventory without buying excess, or losing any opportunity due to lack of designs.

How did we proceed? For starters, we clicked high resolution images of every piece we had, from the smallest nose pin to the grandest wedding set readily available with us. Each piece was given a unique tracking id, which makes it easy for us to access them in case a customer came looking.

We installed a backend software in June and uploaded all the pictures. We had almost 15,000 SKUs at the store. After digitizing our designs, we also made catalogues before the stores opened and we were fully ready to deal with the new normal.

However, we realized that most of these designs were not available for consumers to see. Our website and social media pages were active, but had only a few designs on display. Before the lockdown, we would refrain from sharing all our designs, which is a normal thing in our industry. We would never send photos over WhatsApp, especially to a new customer, because there was always a fear of designs getting copied. It is always a matter of trust between the jeweller and customer. With Covid-19 hitting us, our perspective changed completely. We became very open-minded and started showing our designs on all online platforms because it was the need of the hour to reach customers. This was not the time to keep designs at the store.

Personally speaking, I think the industry should share their inventory with new customers as well. We were guarded too but changed our long-term strategy. We now send images on demand on WhatsApp to anyone raising an enquiry. After going through our designs on the website or social media pages, if a customer requests us to send them more designs over WhatsApp, we readily do it. We also send selected jewellery pieces to homes, so that customers can get a closer look at the jewellery. We treat all new and existing customers the same way and assist them in discovering designs through online platforms.

This decision was a very good one as we started getting lots of enquiries. One person from Hyderabad bought wedding jewellery worth Rs 1 crore from us through video call and WhatsApp messages. This motivated us.

The software has made it easier to track our products and get an instant report about fast and slow-moving items in the inventory. Every design is digitized and it has also become easy for us to maintain stock. We have also narrowed down on our group of vendors because we realized some of them were not having good sell-through rates. This could easily be tracked through the online data monitoring. The digitization of inventory has not only enabled new consumers to discover us but also revealed to us our sourcing lacunas.

 

Courtesy: Originally published in the Retail Jeweller India November-December magazine

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