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RJ Market Watch

“You don’t see big designers like Sabyasachi shifting his line from lehengas to casual Indian wear just because the business is slow”

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With Covid-19 making its presence known everywhere, all sectors have been hit. The bridal market has suffered gravely because the festivities have been cut down to small gatherings of 50 people from elaborate functions that are six to seven days long. Weddings are also being postponed because the rules of social distancing are unclear. Needless to say, it has left a marked effect in the jewellery segment, and the upcoming bridal season remains uncertain. One could contest that the rising gold prices have dented the customer’s mood, but I don’t think that is the case. With a lot of budget curbs that are coming out of the toned down festivities, the elite bridal segment could still see an improvement because people are interested in the total value of the product. The need of the hour is to adapt to customer requirements: this means customising our line to meet our demands at a lesser cost. A good example is our Polki bridal jewellery in 18 carats that has been appreciated well.

No push Strategy

With the trying times that Covid has put us in, it is paramount that we change the way in which we approach our customers. Our biggest initiative has been to not push anyone to buy jewellery. This may not sound very realistic as a jeweller, but one needs to realise that jewellery shopping largely depends on the customer’s ‘mood’, especially when it comes to luxury retail. Bridal jewellery shopping mostly involves the elderly, who are not comfortable leaving their homes because of safety issues. Their mental comfort should be a priority.

Build Social connections

But this doesn’t translate to us sitting idle and foregoing the connection with customers. We are promoting our collections via social media sites like Instagram & WhatsApp, ensuring that our customer is well updated with our designs. But we haven’t announced any discounts, offers, exhibitions, etc, because we trust the customer to approach us upfront in case they need something. This is the time to be patient. Our social media accounts are very active and cater to the changing taste of the customers. During this lockdown, our social media engagements have given us access to nearly 3,500 organic followers. We just completed three promotional shoots back-to-back, which will keep our social media active in case of further lockdowns.

Staying true to the brand Lightweight jewellery is the rage in the bridal market. Though it’s popular amongst youngsters and many jewellers are adapting to it, I believe in quite the contrary. Every piece of jewellery, especially bridal, is more than an adornment. It’s an investment for the future. We have kept that in mind and not made any vast alterations to our designs. But yes, we are always very keen on designing and have upgraded to creating detachable bridal jewellery by adding variations to it. This helps the bride wear a set in three to five different ways.

Creating a brand is a long and tedious process, which often takes years. Everyone has a certain area of expertise.  It is very important to stick to your core values, so don’t diminish your brand equity by giving out offers or changing your merchandise plans. You don’t see big designers like Sabyasachi shifting his line from lehengas to casual Indian wear just because the business is slow. If you are in the bridal jewellery segment, focus on that. Don’t divert to plain gold jewellery or reuse your stock to make lightweight pieces. If you’re targeting class, make sure your brand promotions maintain the stand. Goals are likely to change during this period, but  it’s important to play on familiar grounds, just as we have.

 

Courtesy: As published in The Retail Jeweller India magazine

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